What's heli-skiing?

Heli-skiing or Helicopter skiing is a type of backcountry skiing which involves a helicopter as transportation to backcountry and remote terrain covered in powder snow.
first chair, every chair.

Most common heli-skiing questions

Heli-skiing cost

The cost of heli-skiing varies slightly from operator to operator and depends on the type of helicopter and skiing package. Most heli-skiing operators offer shared and private access to the helicopter. Private group heli-skiing will typically cost more than shared access or single seat heli-skiing. The helicopter skiing cost includes flight time of the helicopter, ski guide wages, food & beverage, backcountry skiing safety equipment, and powder ski demos. Some heli-ski operators offer both lodging packages or single day heli-skiing packages, which may affect the cost of helicopter skiing. Travel costs are also important to factor into the total cost of heli-skiing. Travel to more remote destinations such as Canada or Alaska can be more expensive than traveling to frequently served international airports and metropolitan destinations such as Utah.

how good do you have to be to heli-ski?

If you can comfortably ski most blues and blacks in any resort, you are typically good enough to enjoy heli-skiing. The truth is helicopter skiing can accommodate a mix of many skier abilities. Many skiers/snowboarders will tell you powder skiing is easier and more effortless than skiing the variable hardpack conditions commonly found in-bounds of ski resorts. The advantage of helicopter skiing is using the helicopter to access large amounts of mixed terrain. In many places like Utah, Canada, and Alaska, the slopes that are accessed will resemble the black, blue, and even green slopes of a ski resort. Helicopter skiing in the backcountry requires a higher level of awareness due to natural objects and obstacles not being removed or marked as they are at a ski resort.

What equipment should you pack heli-skiing?

Equipment to pack for heli-skiing includes:
- Powder-skis or snowboard
- Normal downhill skiing outerwear,
- Ski goggles or sunglasses
- A ski helmet or hat for safety and warmth
- Backcountry safety equipment which is often supplied by the heli-ski operator.

If you don't have your own powder-skis or snowboard, you can use demo ski gear that is supplied by the heli-ski company or a local ski shop.

Where is the best heli-skiing in the world?

Helicopter skiing is offered worldwide, and each geographic location and heli-ski operator provides unique advantages.
However, we believe Utah is the best place for heli-skiing in the world. We're biased, but the proof is here. Alta and the surrounding Wasatch mountains receive over 500+ inches of powder snow each winter. Large snowstorms delivering 12+ inches of snow paired with numerous sunny bluebird days provide optimal ski conditions and fly ability. The Wasatch mountains of Utah include a wide-variety of heli-ski terrain that can accommodate skiers of many different levels. Salt Lake City International Airport is the best-served ski destination airport globally and allows access to both of our locations within a 40-minute drive. Additionally, Park City, Snowbird & Salt Lake City offer robust options for lodging, dining, nightlife, other ski and mountain activities, ski-lifestyle amenities such as spas, shopping, and events.

Is Heli-skiing safe?

Protocols and safety measures are put in place to manage and mitigate the risks of heli-skiing in the backcountry, but like any outdoor activity, the risk cannot be completely eliminated and participants can cause harm to themselves while skiing or riding in the mountains. Avalanches can occur in the backcountry and backcountry safety equipment such as a beacon and airbag backpack are proven to keep heli-skiers safe. Additionally, safety experts say that helicopter transportation has a good safety record, better than that of small private planes.

Utah's best helicopter skiing

Founded in 1973 as one of the world’s first helicopter ski operators, Powderbird has grown into a premier, year-round, international guide service.

Today our professional guide team is dedicated to providing our clients with the pinnacle experiences in guided helicopter skiing and mountain adventures.

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