Up For Some Steep And Deep – Late Season Heli Skiing?
At Total Heliski, we spend a lot of time reinforcing to our clients and members that heli skiing really is not just for experts. The aspects and terrain that you ski will be similar to what you find off-piste in resorts, only accessed by a helicopter, allowing you to ski seemingly endless fresh tracks guaranteed.
However, it goes without saying that heli skiing is also the ultimate experience for expert skier and snowboarders, and we have several opportunities to offer those who seek the steep and deeps later this season.
Option 1: Coastal Canada – Steep and Deeps Tour- Ski Couloirs, Big Faces And Steep Lines
If you like to ski or board more challenging terrain, and you thought Alaska was the only option, then think again. This is the program for you. Whether its couloirs, big faces or steep lines, our coastal Canadian operator has impressively steep terrain, as showcased in a number of ski movies, and the snowpack is on average more stable then most anywhere else in the world. They experience ideal conditions during late season to push your envelope.
- Ski and board more challenging terrain
- Enjoy heli accessed warm up runs before hitting the bigger slopes
- Small cohesive groups of skiers with two or more guides
- All inclusive accommodation at either of their two Lodges depending on which week you select.
- Learn and practice basic mountaineering skills
The best time to book this program is during the month of April. The days are longer, the weather is more settled and most importantly the snow pack has firmed up. It is at this time of year that the steeper slopes are in the best shape, while at the same time still likely to have a covering of fresh powder.
The program runs for a minimum one week and will start with some regular heli skiing so that your guide can assess everybody’s ability level. After all, they want to make sure to challenge you, but don’t want to get you in over your head. Weather permitting this will be on the afternoon of your arrival day.
In addition to the opening half day of skiing the program includes a further five full days of skiing/boarding, with a guaranteed 7 runs per day. The first 5 runs will be warm ups, and then after lunch the idea is to go ski a couple of proper objectives.
These can be couloirs or a big mountain faces. The runs may include some hiking, climbing and rappelling to get into position. Our estimate is that you will ski 15,000 or so vertical feet (5,000 v.m.) per day. In any case, over the course of your week the program we guarantee a minimum of 75,000 vertical feet of skiing regardless of how many runs you do per day.
We are anticipating that one of the days you are in the valley will be a rest or a weather day and that is why we have only included 5 and half days of skiing. To ski the bigger slopes requires flying into the alpine and if the weather is bad this may not be possible. However, if it is blue skies everyday and the group does want to ski and snowboard every day then it is easy to do so and we simply bill out the extra flying time at $2,580 per hour of flying divided by the number of skiers in the heli group.
The lead guide for the group is Jia Condon, one of Canada’s most accomplished ski mountaineers and adventurers. He has many first descents to his name, years of guiding experience, as well as tons of stories and one heck of a slide show to share with you. In addition, there will be a second guide with the group to help out.
The cost for the program is C$8,880 plus 6% tax.
Option 2: Alaska
Alaska boasts the highest mountains in North America, no wonder this is where many of those extreme ski movies are shot. Why? Their Coastal Ranges generally receive more snow in heavier storms and have a much more stable snowpack. This usually means there are a greater number of steep runs that are safe to ski, and this opens up the possibilities of skiing or snowboarding steeper terrain. For the more experienced skiers looking to test their ability and push their limits, there are pitches of upto 60 degrees! This is put into perspective by the fact that most other locations offer pitches of only 35 degrees on average.
However, as there are proportionately more down (no fly) days in Alaska than in other places, the key is to find operators who have good alternatives for the down days or snow cat back up because there will be some, although when you do go heli skiing, it will be epic! Total Heliski have selected Heliski operators in several locations across Alaska who have exactly these safeguards. Please contact us today if you want to venture up north to discuss the ins and outs of each.
Alternatively, the Total Heliski Tour to Alaska this Easter will allow you to explore this wonderful locale while experiencing some of the best skiing you have ever seen! These amazing shots don’t lie. See you up North!