Plan to Heli Ski BC, Canada or Alaska? Or is Cat Ski BC your dream? Either way, it is not complicated. A transatlantic flight, a smooth connection followed either by a local flight or a few hours in a rental car or shuttle bus will get you there.
We will advise you to secure the smoothest travel plan depending on the entire itinerary for your trip to Canada or Alaska. Most people combine a heli-ski or cat-ski experience with a t least a few days in one, or several, of the amazing local ski resorts. There are also other amazing snow activities, and we are connected to help you find your preference like for example snow dog sledding, or the best backcountry touring options and local guides.
We’ll help you work out the best plan for you and your group.
Ability & Getting Prepared
Heli-skiing is typically for intermediate to advanced skiers with good a relatively good level of physical fitness. Each heli-skiing and cat-skiing operator has different guidelines, but clients should be able to comfortably ski Black runs at European resorts. If you are a beginner skier or boarder, or lack confidence on steeper Blue or Black runs, you should not book. We recommend for those not sure to try skiing steeper ungroomed runs at Ski Resorts when possible to gain confidence and practice. It would also be highly advisable to hire an instructor at your favorite Resort who can give you lessons to specifically ski powder and un-groomed terrain. To summarize, you don’t need to be a Pro skier or boarder by any means, but you want to have at least advanced-intermediate skills and confidence, to get most out of the experience.
All operators try to split their guests into groups based on ability to adapt the pace and runs to the level of each group.
Don’t underestimate your own ability either. In our experience when operators sum up the season, Europeans are almost always among the strongest skiers.
If you don’t already have Powder gear, no worries! Most lodges offer free, state of the art, Powder skis & snowboards, and poles are supplied. That said a few operators rent this equipment at an additional price, but of course they all have the best and latest powder skis.
These days modern technology has paved the way for ski and snowboard manufacturers to produce extra-wide skis/boards that are light, extremely versatile and allow riders to literally float on top of the deep powder. And the new technology has allowed the explosion of heli-skiing for the general public.
Most top Operators will have skis or snowboards with ‘rocker’ technology for guests to use/rent. With rocker, your tips will float up in powder and crud. The feel is smooth and just like when you surf, wakeboard or water-ski. Rocker helps you to stay on top of the snow. On skis, no need to do all that bouncing and leaning back to keep your tips up in the powder. On a snowboard, your tip sits up higher out of the snow so you can avoid those face plants over your nose.
Since your tips are already in an upward position you are able to maintain a more balanced riding stance and you don’t have to lean back to float as you do on a traditional shaped ski or snowboard. Rocker technology also makes the skis/boards more maneuverable as it moves the contact points on the ski or board, basically shortening your effective edge. Your ride becomes more nimble and maneuverable, which allows you to pivot more easily. You can slash the snow, slide sideways to slow speed, or turn faster. Turning more quickly works great when you are in the trees.
TIP pack boots as carry-on luggage if flying. If your airline loses your luggage- they can usually find other clothing and equipment for you at the lodge- but unlikely to have boots that will fit or feel comfortable
What to Bring
Although most operators has an ample cache for outfitting you in case need of some extra items, it’s helpful to bring your own gear, which you’ll be more familiar with.
Most important is that you bring your own ski or snowboard boots as no operators offer boots.
Safety is always our number one priority and we only work with heli and cat skiing operators that make safety their primary concern too.
The Cost of Heli & Cat Skiing/Boarding
It’s true that it is not the cheapest day out you’ll ever go on, but considering that it’s probably going to be the best days skiing or snowboarding you ever had, and ever will have unless you already have done it before and turned into a powder junky… and want to top it.
Imagine the stunning, empty mountain location, basically an entire mountain range equivalent in size of a couple of Val d’Isères only for you and your 11 new best friends. Then it is absolutely worth it!
Reaching the vast backcountry is the essence of what skiing is all about, It transports you back to a time when skiing was in its infancy, and you’ll be able to effortlessly glide through incredible, untouched snow. We believe that the price is within many skier and snowboarder’s means, and we see our heli-skiing days as fantastic rare treats. Days that you’ll always remember and talk about over and over again for as long as you live. Something that should be on everyone’s bucket list!
We guarantee that you will get the best prices when you book with us, and it will not be cheaper when you book directly. If a lodge has a promotion, we offer the same promotion too!
The lodges we have chosen to work with do not work with agents that undersell their products. They do not have to sell on price as they have unique, quality products that is almost always sold out in advance of the season.
We quote our prices in local currency, e.g. Canadian and American dollars. This way you will get the correct price in your local currency at the time of booking and won’t lose money due to the wrong exchange rate.
Tips & Gratuity - How to Manage
Tips can be a sensitive area for many Europeans. We’re not brought up with this tradition and we always get the question on how to handle it. In North America it is customary to tip for services that is provided for you in restaurants, hotels and elsewhere too, and the same goes when you go Heli or Cat skiing.
Most of the guides and staff that work at the lodges are exceptional and great people to be around. They work their butts off to make sure you have the most awesome day of skiing you ever had, and the lodge staff make sure that the same goes for your stay at the lodge. Tips are given at the end of your stay and can at some lodges be paid with credit cards, and they are normally divided up among the other staff people (cooks, wait staff, room service, etc.) so that they all can share. It’s kind of a good thing as most of these guides and staff really don’t get paid an extraordinary wage, there aren’t many people who choose skiing as their livelihood that get rich, even with the tips.
So what should the tip be? Industry standards say roughly 5-15%, but we think it’s somewhat dependent on your personal situation on the trip, but here’s a couple of thoughts: We suggest that you plan $50 – $75 for a tip per day and you should be fine.
While tips are customary the best reward you can give a guide is listen to his/her instructions, enjoy your stay and think “safety” at all times!
Whatever you do, make sure to have fun.
Big Group Discounts
Several operators offer big group discounts, for group of for 10 people and above. Get in touch for more details