Is Heli-Sking Really That Much Better Than Shredding The Hill?

July 27, 2017

It’s an exhilarating feeling being next to a helicopter with the rotors spinning right above your head.

It’s an exhilarating feeling being next to a helicopter with the rotors spinning right above your head.

Imagine this, you are in the middle of the mountains with the wind whipping your ears as you see the helicoepter approaching from the distance. As it descends upon you, the rotor wash whips over your group and creates a cloud that brings anticipation to your day. You jump in with rotors still turning as the basket gets loaded with skis and boards. Your guide closes your door, jumps in himself as the anticipation builds even more as you are carried to your next run of pure bliss.

You fly around massive peaks as the pilot and guide scope your next big line with not a single track for as far as the eye can see. The helicopter lands, drops you off, then flies away leaving you in silence on another perfect slope that’s there for your pure enjoyment. Is heli-skiing in New Zealand better than shredding the ski hill? Absolutely!

Heliskiing in New Zealand offers endless terrain for intermediate to advanced skiers and boarders.

Heliskiing in New Zealand offers endless terrain for intermediate to advanced skiers and boarders.

Some skiers and snowboarders might look at every mountain experience as the same; driving up the long access road, putting on gear at their car or inside a crowded lodge and waiting in line at almost every step along the way. Both heli-skiing and heliboarding the hill offer the opportunity to make turns but that’s where the similarities seem to disappear.

The biggest difference is the helicopter itself. If you have never ridden in one before it’s an experience that could change your life and how you view skiing and snowboarding forever, unlike the slow triple chair that seems to plague every resort. The first time it lifts off the ground a smile will be plastered to your face as you participate in the miracle of human flight. The experience of flying in a helicopter is worthy on its own but to have an untouched powder run after flying is something else entirely. The views can’t be experienced anywhere else as you see layers of peaks stacked upon each other as glaciers extend to the horizon. It has a humbling effect as the size of these peaks dwarf you and the awe-inspiring vehicle that is taking you on this journey.

No words here except, a ride in a helicopter will change the way you look at life and your surroundings.

No words here except, a ride in a helicopter will change the way you look at life and your surroundings.

Are you used to riding with thousands of other people chasing powder after a storm and only getting a few runs before the snow is all used up? With heli-skiing, the powder can last for weeks after a storm. You fly around searching for lines in terrain that’s the size of some small countries and picking only the best runs that match exactly what your group wants to ride. You will never be so lucky at a ski resort as most powder days are done before every family has seated themselves in the lodge for lunch time, which will be crowded and means standing in more lines…again. Speaking of lunch, would you rather be standing in lines waiting for cafeteria-esque food or lounging on a mountain top being served a gourmet lunch with a million dollar view? That’s what I thought.

No queues or untracked terrain out here in the backcountry of NZ…

No queues or untracked terrain out here in the backcountry of NZ…

Heli-skiing offers an opportunity to experience the pinnacle of skiing and snowboarding. Nowhere else will you be able to descend quality terrain as quickly and easily and the ride up is almost as fun as the ride down. So what are you waiting for? Leave the lines of people back at the hill and put your own lines on the mountain far away from anyone else.

Written by Ryan Flett