There are thousands of ski resorts, but the options are limited for the skier looking for the adrenaline rush that only an inaccessible peak can bring. Heli-skiing resorts offer that experience. If your group wants to ride slopes untouched by artificial snow and appreciate the pleasure of a distant slope, then a heli-skiing resort is where you need to go. Your group will curve and grind down long descents and steep slopes with powder snow, natural contours and corn snow.
When looking for a heli-skiing resort, keep in mind that expertise and safety are key. Your group will ski hills that are only accessible by helicopter, so this means the resort staff should have a sound idea of the best drop-off locations and how to avoid the risks and discomforts of this kind of high-altitude skiing.
Bighorn at Revelstoke, British Columbia
British Columbia was the birthplace of heli-skiing. Today it remains a hub for the sport, with many resorts to choose from, but Bighorn at Revelstoke stands out above them all. This is that once-in-a-lifetime, “go big or go home” experience that “spares no details.” From the marriage of the European catered chalet and the Canadian heli-ski outfit came this eight-room resort equipped with iPads, gas fireplaces and a helipad out back. Just walk out the heavy oak doors to the backyard and away you and your group will be lifted to the mountaintops.
In minutes you will go from the lap of luxury to isolated peaks. Bighorn has a massive light, dry snowfall and over 500,000 acres of bowls, glades, glaciers, immaculate powder and tree skiing. After you spend your day shredding, take the helicopter back to the resort to continue the revelry. The discreet staff will attend to your every whim and create an itinerary customized to your group’s pleasures: gourmet meals tailored by your personal chef, yoga lessons, spa treatments, fresh mixed cocktails—you get the point. Literally no detail has been overlooked. Click here to learn more.
If you aren’t looking for the bells and whistles and only care about finding incredible conditions and spine-tingling views, then it is time to book a trip to Mazama. North Cascade Heli is a company operated “by the riders for the riders.” This means a laid- backed atmosphere, an acute knowledge of all the right drops and best of all—some pretty steep discounts. You will be dropped at the top of the North Cascades, otherwise known as “The American Alps.” the most glaciated peaks in the continental U.S., where you will encounter a blend of snowfall found anywhere else, not to mention breathtaking views of spires and granite cliffs. Check it out here.
Southern Lakes Heliski – New Zealand
Fun fact: New Zealand has the most helicopters per capita. This, of course, means that New Zealand has some great heli-skiing. Not only does Southern Lakes Heliski offer incredible bang for your buck, but the company’s expansive drop zone means over 600 runs and something for everyone. Even cooler, you will be skiing through the backdrop of the Lord of the Rings movies.
From a simple run through virgin powder on arduous glacier slopes, all the drop points have one commonality—they are above the tree line. No trees, no mess, no worries. Daily runs are offered for all levels. Also look into the packages that include extras such as luxury yachts, pub crawls, hot pools and personal chefs. The heli-ski season starts on July 1 and continues through September, or to October depending on demand. Click to learn more.
SwissSKIsafari – Switzerland
As a whole, Europe has some pretty heavy rules and regulations, including bans on heli-skiing. Luckily, Switzerland is still game, and SwissSKIsafari in the Valais region is the main player. This outfit offers packages that span three countries. That’s right, you can heliski your way from Switzerland to France to Italy. These multi-day trips combine untouched descents in the Alps crossed with in-depth cultural immersion in the local communities. Start planning here.
Puma Lodge – Puma, Chile
Chile is lacking in heli-skiing locations, which really is a pity considering the near perfect conditions of the Andes. Puma Lodge is one of the few resorts that offers multi-day heli-skiing packages. You’ll be way up (at times over 16,000 feet) and that means consistently pristine conditions, snowpack, alpine bowls, couloirs, big mountain faces and unbeatable overlooks. Choose to ride with Puma and you will be treated to 25% more snow than other parts of the Central Andes. At the end of your day, take off your boots at first the five-star Puma Lodge. Massages, pools, gourmet food—all the things you need to get ready for your next run on the slopes. Click here to explore more.
Next time your group wants to adventure in one of the purest of ways, consider heli-skiing. Each of these five options offers a special experience takes you above and beyond.
By Paige K. Pope