If the cut and thrust of your annual Alpine skiing trip has lost its lustre, fails to excite, or you simply fancy a change, there’s a new player in the winter sports arena that you might just look towards: heli-skiing. These luxury ski trips combine all of the usual elements of mountain skiing – from the exclusive ski retreats to that sumptuous apres-ski we’re all looking forward to – but wrap them in an extra layer of thrill-seeking adventure, making them the perfect elite winter experience.
What actually is heli-skiing, though? Who is it designed for, where can one indulge, and – following that – when can we leave? This article will offer a tour around the extreme skiing landscape, highlighting every facet of these incredible experiences before a nod towards Skyllence and the world of private jet travel showcases just how their air charter services can really enhance your backcountry skiing trip.
Lace up your boots and hop off the lift, we’re about to go off-piste!
What is Heli-Skiing?
In the simplest possible terms, heli-skiing differs from your ordinary winter mountain experience with the inclusion of the prefix “heli” – in this case, you guessed it, a helicopter. That’s really the only major difference, but what a difference it represents.
Just think of the advantages that this confers on the intrepid winter sports enthusiast:
When you fly to remote slopes via helicopter, the crowds that usually litter the favoured routes of even the most high-end luxury resorts are a thing of the past.
Gone are the days of queueing for the ski-lift and trudging up the last few steps. Here you simply hop on, hop off and get right into it.
Ordinarily, ski slopes are limited to areas where there’s convenient access. With heli-skiing, that limitation is bypassed, leaving you free to explore some of the world’s most dramatic scenery.
Speaking of scenery, the need for it to be spoiled by the mechanisms of industrial-scale tourism – lifts, cafes, parking areas – is completely gone. All you need is a small patch of land on which to disembark and a serious slope to enjoy afterwards!
With all of these advantages, it’s clear to see why heli-skiing is the rarefied preserve of some of the world’s most exclusive Alpine retreats. Who partakes in that level of luxury, though, and can you join their ranks?
Who Goes Heli-Skiing?
Like any elite travel experience, the world of heli-skiing – much like the world of private aircraft charter – is open to anyone on principle. The only qualifying criteria in this case is the size of one’s wallet, as this level of luxury and exclusivity doesn’t come cheap. That being said, there are a few groups who frequent these powder skiing experiences more often than others:
For some, it’s the thrill of ascending a mountain via helicopter and descending via gravity and sheer knee strength that draws them to heli-skiing, making this experience a domain of adventure-seekers the world over.
Put simply, heli-skiing isn’t something that everyone will get to experience, and if you’re keen to do something off-piste and out of the ordinary, there are few better ways to experience the alpine environment.
A little peace and quiet rather than untold thrills are what some go in search of. As we discussed, the slopes that you have access to via heli-skiing are empty in the extreme, making this the perfect way to get a little exclusivity.
Heli-skiing is an adventure, and embarking on an adventure with your family is a great way to bond and enjoy shared experiences. This makes heli-skiing the perfect family trip, especially when its complemented by a luxury chalet at the end of the slopes!
Where Can I Heli-Ski?
- Whistler, Canada: Known for its vast and varied terrain, Whistler offers incredible heli-skiing experiences with unmatched luxury accommodation options. All of that being only an hour or so away from Vancouver makes this the perfect family destination, as days off are sure to be filled to the brim with fun.
- Chamonix, France: Offering access to some of the Alps’ most challenging slopes, Chamonix is a favourite for experienced skiers seeking luxury and adventure. As heli-skiing is banned in France itself, trips here will involve skiers being dropped in neighbouring Italy to complete their run.
- Queenstown, New Zealand: Famous for its breath-taking landscapes and pristine conditions, Queenstown provides a unique heli-skiing experience in the southern hemisphere – meaning that their winter occurs during the European summer, so you can ski in July if you want to!
- Revelstoke, Canada: Renowned for having the longest vertical descent in North America, Revelstoke attracts heli-skiers with its powder-filled bowls and luxury resorts, but be warned – this extreme locale is not for the faint of heart!
- Girdwood, Alaska, USA: Known for its deep snow and challenging terrain, Girdwood is a top choice for adventure seekers looking for remote and exclusive heli-skiing. If you’re looking for isolation, dropping into the Alaskan wilderness is just the ticket.
- Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy: This iconic Italian destination offers a blend of traditional alpine charm and thrilling heli-skiing opportunities in the Dolomites, with the added benefit of world-class Italian cuisine during the apres-ski dinner!
- Hakuba Valley, Japan: Famous for its Japow – the unique type of powdered snow that can only be found in Japan – the Hakuba Valley offers a unique heli-skiing experience combined with distinct Japanese hospitality, making it a unique trip before you even think about the slopes.
- Zermatt, Switzerland: Home to the iconic Matterhorn, Zermatt not only offers breath-taking scenery, but also provides unmatched heli-skiing experiences with luxurious amenities nearby. This is arguably the home of skiing, so if you’re looking to see where it all began then you know where to go.
- Lyngen Alps, Norway: As far as heli-skiing backdrops go, the Northern Lights are tough to beat. Add pristine Arctic conditions, and it’s clear why the Lyngen Alps are a favourite of so many for heli-skiing.
- The Andes, Chile: Offering heli-skiing in South America, this destination is perfect for those seeking a unique experience away from the regular haunts of the Alps and the Rockies. Bragging to your friends back home about the uniqueness of your location is worth the price of admission in itself!
When Can We Leave?
A quick glance at the above list leads to some good news: since heli-skiing is available all around the world, it’s sure to be winter somewhere! This means that if you’re desperate to experience this unique form of adventure skiing, there’s always a destination available to cater to your needs. All you need to do, then, is arrange transport…
How Are We Getting There?
Heli-skiing is a high-end, luxury experience that goes beyond what one might traditionally expect from a skiing holiday. It follows that you need a form of transport that can live up to this billing, providing similarly elite levels of luxury, comfort and convenience. That leaves only one option: private jet charter with an industry-leading charter broker like Skyllence. Their solutions have some key benefits that can enhance any luxury escape:
Choose your dates and get going, without the need to trawl through a list of departure and arrival times to see what suits the availability of your luxury chalet.
The experience of landing in a world of sumptuous indulgence at an elite ski chalet would risk being spoiled if not for Skyllence, where the quality of the in-flight experience might even surpass that of your accommodation – sorry not sorry!
A personal touch
Not only do Skyllence’s team throw in small extra touches of luxury throughout the experience of arranging private jet services with them, but they also help guide you towards any personalised features of your trip that you might need. Forget any preconceived notion of private plane charters – with Skyllence, you can have exactly what you want.
With all of that, it’s a wonder that there is room at all for Skyllence to take on new clients. As Skyllence CEO, Vilma Vaitiekunaite points out, though, they’re always excited to meet the challenges that working with new passengers provides.
“We’ve arranged countless private jet flights to any number of different events and experiences for clients around the world. What makes our job so interesting is the incredible diversity of requirements, destinations, and challenges that we encounter on a daily basis. Far from this presenting us with difficulties, it keeps our work varied and engaging, so if you’ve got a unique journey in mind then don’t hesitate to get in touch. We can’t wait to see what you’ve got in store for us!”