As winter in Utah is winding down, most people are ready to leave the cold weather behind—but many are already looking forward to next season’s adventures! Powderbird is already getting many inquiries for 2011-2012 heli skiing trips. For first time heli skiers, often the most common question is: “Can we really do this?”. In most cases, the answer is ‘yes’. Many people fear they are not capable enough skiers to handle heli skiing. The truth is, most accomplished skiers and snowboarders have the necessary skills to heli ski. Wasatch Powderbird Guides tries to match your ability to our broad mix of terrain, from gentle ridges and bowls to the steep and deep. Perfect style and technical expertise are not pre-requisites, but the ability to control your speed in a variety of snow conditions is critical.
It is absolutely necessary that you are proficient at:
These skills will help you handle anything we might encounter.
Tips to make sure you are ready for heli skiing
- Some previous powder experience is a must. Even if you are an expert on the groomers, you will not enjoy heli skiing if you’ve never been off piste.
- Do yourself a favor, try some powder skis. The new technology available (wider underfoot, rockered tip and tail, etc.) will make heli skiing far more enjoyable! Don’t just buy a pair though, demo some first, or better yet rent a pair from us if you aren’t sure about your current equipment.
- Come to Utah in reasonable physical condition. Once we leave the heliport, we are in the backcountry for 6-7 big runs. You must be able to ski or snowboard a full day at a moderate pace to keep up with our crew.
- It’s ok to fall, but you should be able to get up quickly and not let your mistakes get in your head.
- Don’t over or under estimate your skills. Be honest when you make your reservation, and we’ll make sure you get the best experience possible!
If you have any questions about your ability level, feel free to take our Heli Ability Questionnaire, located at the bottom of our ability guidelines on our web site. And always feel free to call or e-mail us with any specific questions. Remember, you don’t have to be expert skier to experience the thrill of heli skiing, but you do have to do a strong resort skier. Our goal is to make this the greatest skiing adventure of your life, which begins with matching you and your other groups members with skiers and riders of a comparable ability level.