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Heliskiing started with a dare-devil image and bad boy reputation. The whole idea of getting a helicopter Make you into the highest, most extreme mud totally untouched sections of a ski Mountain originally came from radical skiiers king for a bigger, better buzz and the opportunity to make a name for themselves making on ever bigger risks. At first it lad an aura of danger: the risk of rotor wash causing avalanches, the problems of skiing law hartered slopes that had lacier been touched before and difficulty of evacuation in case of an accident all suggested any heliskiing expedition was a mrash with death.
It didn’t take long before many mainstream skiers realized the helicopter and in some cases the fixed wing Airplane was a magic carpet that could lift you effortlessly to The top of almost any snow slope the world. Suddenly, miraculously you were free from the constraints of ski lifts, the crowds on commercial slopes and the predictability of the scene.
But quite a few factors have combined recently to change all that. Firstly, the availability of heliski operations has tended to increase the quality of service and lower prices (though it’s still expensive). The perceived reduction in the risk factor has helped enormously in getting regular skiers to consider aerial options. The introduction of ‘fat’ skis shorter, thicker skis that tend to float over powder has made heliskiing less demanding and enabled intermediates to take on slopes that would otherwise be beyond their skills. Snowboards have also helped: not only are they efficient in powder, the whole image of radical freedom that’s an integral part of this activity fits perfectly with heliskiing extreme slopes in out of the way areas.
Accordingly, heliski operators are offering introductory courses to intermediateand even beginner skiers, and adding to their standard itineraries of radical drops and hair raising thrills, some slopes that are ideal for good, steady glides and just enjoying the mountains. That being said, heliskiing is still more challenging than skiing on resort slopes, and requires far greater stamina and a willingness to work hard to get your thrills.
Ideally, you should have some back country experience and be confident crossing loose slopes on skis and even making your way up ridges if necessary. Needless to say, if you go into more remote areas like the Tien Shan Mountains, India and even Alaska don’t expect all the buttoned-down facilities of major ski resorts.
And there’s still a greater element of risk than in regular resort skiing. Avalanches are perhaps the greatest hazard. Powder is by its own nature loose, and skiers and snowboarders on steep slopes displace snow every time they turn. If the snow conditions are poor, an avalanche can be the unfortunate result.
For this reason, skiers are encouraged to sweep wider and turn beyond the line every four to six turns. This ensures that the slough (like the bow wave of a boat) does not become dangerously large. Another cause is noise. The clatter of the helicopter is the chief culprit, but there is also the noise generated by the whooping of ecstatic skiers. It’s unlikely that anything can be done to stop people from expressing their pleasure like this, so due care and attention is needed.
As part of their training, guides have to learn about snow types and the danger signs that mark unstable conditions. The guides know what they are doing, so always make sure.
A you listen to their advice. They are all professionally certified by the French mountain guides professional body - the UIAGM – which s a universally recognized association. Ultimately, they are responsible for giving customers a safe and enjoyable trip.
Because it is not possible to be 100% safe, the avalanche beacon is an essential piece of equipment. Both receiver and transmitter, it allows searchers to find you in the event of a premature burial under an avalanche. Some companies provide them, some don’t make sure you check before pay for your trip.
It’s a similar story with other safety gear too. Everyone needs a helmet and a climbing harness, either their own or rented, while other survival tools and aids are carried by the guide or in the helicopter. With other hazards including crevasses and blizzards, the short answer is that in remote locations everybody is responsible for their own safety. Vigilance and caution may be sometimes hard to maintain with the distractions of ultimate skiing terrain spread as far as the eye can see, but it is a necessary ingredient in any successful trip.
When casting your eye over rival packages, consider what are the optimum conditions in which you will enjoy heliskiing to the full. Large parties mean less attention from guides which can be good or bad depending on your confidence and ability.
As the first runs of the first day are skied, the accompanying guide(s) note everyone’s ability and confidence. The runs are graded and once the ability of the group is apparent, the guides select an appropriate program. They accompany every run for safety, and in a large group, there may be a guide front and back, picking up the faults and shepherding the less experienced. Bad habits are corrected and skills are refined as skiers learn to make more efficient progress through the difficult deeper snow.
Asian skiers, who typically consider Japan, Korea, Canada and New Zealand resorts when they consider ski holiidays, have yet to realize just how much great heliskiing they have within easy reach and how many options they have to choose from in terms of skill requirements and price. As soon as they do, heliskiing too will quickly appear on more itineraries. The following is a review of some of the best heliskiing destinations that arc readily available to the region’s skiers.