Go Heli Skiing in British Columbia
LOCATIONWhistler, British Columbia
DURATION3 runs (approx. 4,500 – 7,500 vertical feet, or 1,400 - 2,300 vertical meters of skiing)
HIGHLIGHTS+ Designed for intermediate to advanced skiers or boarders
+ Bell 205 Helicopter, groups of 7-10 people
+ No powder experience necessary!
+ Extra runs are available for $90*/person per run
See our heli-skiing and heli-boarding deals and vacation packages from the official site for Whistler Heli-Skiing based in Whistler, British Columbia, Canada. Powder for all abilities. Plan and book your heli-ski or heli-board vacation, find out what to expect, what you need to bring and what the weather is like. View our heli-ski area maps, videos and photos. You can heli-ski or heli-board in the powder snow for just one day or go for as many days as your legs will take.
All heli-adventures are lead by a professional, certified heli-ski guide and include the use of avalanche transceiver, on–mountain lunch and return ground transportation from Whistler Village.
A Typical Day
Everything You Need to Know!
Arrival at Whistler Resort
- Please check into the Whistler Heli-Skiing Store in the Carleton Lodge to confirm your arrival in Whistler.
- You must check in before 4:00 pm the day before you fly and preferably as soon as you arrive in Whistler.
At that time you will be required to sign a release of liability waiver. All members of your party who are heli-skiing must be present to sign their waiver.* You may also arrange your rental powder skis or snowboard, if required, at this time.
- The Whistler Heli-Skiing staff will advise you of the weather conditions for the next few days. If necessary, you may change your reservation at this time, depending upon space availability.
- 8:15 am: Guests requiring rentals to check in at the Carleton store.
- 8:30 am: All other guests to check in at the Carleton store.
- If your heli ski day is cancelled due to weather or snow conditions, you will be telephoned between 7:30 am and 8:15 am. If you do not have a phone call by 8:15 am, please report to the Heli Ski store at 8:30 or 8:45 as required.
- After reporting to the store you will be either be directed to the ski rental area, or you will stay in the Carleton Lodge area where your guide will introduce himself and assemble your group. You will have a heli ski introduction.
- After the group is assembled you will walk with your guide to the waiting Whistler Heli-Skiing buses for the drive to the Whistler Heliport. At the Heliport you will be given a transceiver and instructions in its use and receive additional instruction about the helicopters. The first group will fly at approximately 10:00 am.
- The guide will choose the best ski area for the day. He will take into consideration the wind, temperature, and new snowfalls prior to making his decision.
- You will ski with your guide all day.
- Mountain lunch is provided on the hill.
- The Whistler Heli-Skiing professional photography staff captures one of your runs on video and still pictures. Videos and photographs are available in the Bell 205 packages only. Smokers please bring a container to contain ashes and cigarette butts.
- No smoking is permitted near the helicopter.
- Please turn cell phone off while skiing due to avalanche transceiver transmitting interruption risk.
- Please note music or headphone use while skiing will interrupt guide navigational and hazard instruction.
- The heli-ski day ends at the Bearfoot Bistro for the video party. We arrive back between 2:30 and 5:00 (depending on weather and number of runs).
- The video party starts 30 minutes after the first group arrives. The video plays at least twice for everyone's enjoyment. Invite your friends and family to join you there.
- All orders for videos and photos, as well as payment for extra runs, are processed here.
Clothing and Personal Gear
Tips on clothing and other gear
Your ski attire should be very similar to what you would wear for a day on Whistler or Blackcomb Mountains. The modern ski clothing of breathable, water-resistant, and windproof materials is very good. The layer system is best but avoid the temptation to over-dress. Goggles, gloves, and a hat are a must, and sunglasses and sunscreen are necessary on sunny days in the spring. A wool or fleece hat is better than a baseball cap, which can be blown away by the helicopter. The Whistler Heli-Skiing Store carries a good selection of top-quality ski wear, powder gloves, and ski accessories.
What to wear:
- Please dress the same way you would for the mountain.
- Goggles are a must.
- Sunglasses (with retention straps) are best kept for springtime use.
- Sunscreen is important in the spring.
- Please bring a wool or fleece hat. Ball caps are not recommended.
- Skiers wishing to bring a shovel pack may do so if it is small and approved by the guide in the morning. Please remember that you will be expected to ski with it for the entire day as nothing may be left in the helicopter.
- Hydration backpacks are a great way to bring water along and are frequently carried by our veteran heliskiers.
In each 205/212 helicopter, there will be one of our specially trained video-photo team to capture the day on film for you. You may bring your own camera, but we suggest that it be small enough to carry in a pocket.
To verify that you have made the right choice of apparel you may check the current alpine temperature and weather conditions from the Whistler/Blackcomb "snowphone" at 932-4211 early in the morning before you go skiing.
Everything you need to know!
Your heli-ski day will be a lot more fun with the right ski equipment. Powder skis are wider under the boot than most other skis, and generally shorter than regular ski area skis. Our rental shop has powder skis for expert skiers, and for advanced and intermediate skiers. Your own "shaped skis" (not parabolic or racing skis) are suitable only if you are a very experienced powder or heli-skier. In very deep powder or tricky snow, true powder skis make a huge difference. Talk to our ski tech at the rental shop for good advice on equipment. Please bring your own ski poles and ski boots, which can easily be fitted to our rental skis.
Snowboarders almost always do better in the powder snow with a longer, wider, and softer snowboard. Short carving boards and long narrow racing boards are not suitable for heli-boarding. Your snowboard should come up at least to your nose. We have Burton powder snowboards available for rent at the rental shop. Discuss your equipment needs with our tech. If you have a specialized binding, it can usually be transferred to a Burton powder snowboard.
Powder skis and powder snowboards are available for rent until 7:30 pm the evening prior to your ski date, at the rental shop. Our qualified technician will assist you in selecting the right equipment for your ability and the current snow conditions.
Everything you need to know!
Bell 205 Helicopter
With 1800 shaft horsepower, can carry a group of 10 or 11 skiers and boarders, depending on weight, plus the guide and the pilot. You will be amazed by the size, power, and agility of this workhorse of the Canadian heli-ski industry.
Who should go in the Bell 205 :
The 205 heli-ski packages are especially suited for the following:
- intermediate and advanced skiers and boarders
- expert skiers and boarders who are heli-skiing for the first time
- any group of skiers and boarders larger than five people
- anyone who wishes to be in the day's video and photographs. A Whistler Heli-Ski photographer accompanies each Bell 205.
Bell 407 Helicopter
This very modern, single jet-engine, four-bladed rotor helicopter has real performance - very fast, very agile, with a tremendous climbing capability. It can move a group of 5 skiers or boarders, plus the guide and the pilot very quickly around the backcountry heliski areas.
Who should go in the Bell 407:
The Bell 407 is especially suited to:
- veteran heli-skiers and boarders who want to move quickly and do 6 or more runs in a day
- any group of 5 skiers and boarders who want a more private experience and will do at least 6 runs during the day. A Whistler Heli-Skiing photographer can be available with the Bell 407 by special request.
This single jet-engine helicopter, manufactured by Eurocopter, is similar in performance to the Bell 407. Whistler Heli-Skiing will be using this helicopter to fly skiers and boarders who have booked the Ultimate Excursion package. The A-Star can carry groups of 4 or 5 skiers and boarders, plus the guide and the pilot. It will also be available for groups of skiers or boarders who wish to have their own private heli-skiing experience.
Who should go in the A-Star:
Heli skiers and boarder who have booked the Ultimate Excursion package may be flying in either the Bell 407 or the A-Star. The A-Star is especially suited to:
- veteran skiers and boarders who want to move quickly and do 6 or more runs in a day
- groups of up to 5 skiers and boarders of similar abilities who are looking for a more private experience
- a group of skiers and boarders who want to have their own private helicopter
- a Whistler Heli-Skiing photographer can be available by special request.
How "good" do I have to be to go?
We recommend that you be of intermediate or better ability at your home ski area, although powder experience is not necessary. We can accommodate all levels of skiers from intermediate to expert. Please try the Interactive Ability Guide.
I am concerned that I will hold up the group. What should I do?
Many people have this concern. Answer the questions in the Interactive Ability Guide honestly. Use the resulting rating to be grouped with others of similar ability. Relax and enjoy your day of heli-skiing.
I'm an expert. Will I be grouped with intermediates?
We do our best to put skiers and boarders into groups of similar ability. The 4-run package in the 205 Heli is for advanced and expert skiers, and most skiers and boarders in the 407 Heli are experts, although groups of advanced skiers are also welcome, if they are able to do at least six runs. This normally ensures that experts are grouped with other experts. There may be some occasions when the number of skiers requires that some experts to be grouped with skiers of advanced ability. Sometimes very early or late in the season we will have a group of varying stated ability levels. Should this occur, there are normally two guides with the group so the better skiers can go at a faster pace.
My partner is a different ability level. How can we be together?
- If you wish to ski together, state your abilities as the lower of the two. You will both enjoy your day.
- If you wish to ski in separate ability groups, we can usually arrange for you to be in the same helicopter, to be in the same video, and to have lunch together.
How long are the runs and how long do they take to ski/board?
The average run is roughly 2000 vertical feet (600m), but they vary from 1,400 to 5,000 vertical feet (400m to 1,500m). The time it takes to complete each run depends on each individual's ability, with the average being around 45 minutes. A group of expert skiers will move at a faster pace than a group of intermediate skiers.
Where do you ski?
We operate in the remote wilderness of the Pacific Coast Mountain Range, to the east, north, and west of Whistler Resort. This is a region of extensive glaciation and sub-alpine partially treed areas. For further details refer to our area map.
What about avalanche danger?
There is always some level of avalanche danger in the mountains in winter. This danger level changes constantly with changing snow and weather conditions. The guides monitor snow and weather conditions on a daily basis. The current risk of avalanche is always considered by the guides when choosing the runs to ski.
What is the snow like?
Snow conditions on the mountains vary considerably over the course of the winter as the snow is subjected to sun, wind, temperature variation, and new snowfalls. Snow conditions change almost every day. We are fortunate to be in an area where generally there are frequent snowfalls that usually produce good powder snow conditions.
How many people go in each group?
Groups booked in the Bell 205 helicopters are from 7 - 10 passengers, depending upon their weight, plus the guide. The Bell 407 helicopter carries 5 passengers plus the guide.
Do you have to jump out of the helicopter?
The helicopter lands at the tops of the heli-ski runs to allow all skiers to exit the helicopter, and to allow the guide to unload the skis, poles, and snowboards.
How many runs can I do in one day?
Groups of good skiers have often done 8-10 runs in a day with the Bell 205, and 10-12 runs with the Bell 407. If you are interested in doing several extra runs, please mention this when you make your reservation. The record is now 25 runs, done on April 7, 2001, with the Bell 407.
How far in advance should I reserve?
The further in advance that you make a reservation, the more likely that you will be able to reserve for the dates you want. We work on a first-reserved, first-served basis. Our prime ski times (February and March) are often booked up weeks in advance. Reserve early to avoid disappointment!
Why should I choose Whistler Heli-Skiing?
Whistler Heli-Skiing has been providing great powder experiences since 1981. We have good terrain, good snow, and good guides. Whistler Heli-Skiing operates from the world-famous Whistler Resort, allowing our heli-ski clientele to partake in the fantastic range of accommodations, restaurants and amenities that are available here. This gives you and your party the flexibility of enjoying heli-skiing along with the Resort's other activities, including skiing on Whistler and Blackcomb.
When is the best time to go?
Traditionally the most popular months to heli-ski are February and March, when weather and snow conditions are generally the most reliable. The colder weather in January has often provided us with very good heli-skiing. In December the days are short and there are usually frequent snowstorms (we hope), but the heli-skiing can be very good. Late March and April offer longer days to accompany stellar spring skiing conditions.
Do you mix skiers and boarders?
Yes, depending on the numbers of skiers and boarders, we often put skiers and boarders of the same stated ability level into the same group. This has rarely proven to be a problem. Both skiers & boarders like to go downhill at good speed in deep powder snow.
Are your prices in Canadian Dollars?
All our prices are quoted in Canadian dollars. If you are not used to dealing with Canadian dollars, be sure to check into your country's currency exchange rate for a proper price comparison. Exchange rate information is available from banks and exchange rate websites.
What kind of terrain do you ski and how steep is it?
When the weather permits, we ski on the many glacier runs in our areas. If the weather does not allow us to get to the glaciers, we ski in sub-alpine open tree runs. The guides try to select terrain suitable for each group's abilities, but always consider snow, weather, and avalanche conditions. If conditions and abilities allow, we frequently do some good steep runs.
How old do you have to be to go heli-skiing?
In British Columbia minors are defined as anyone under the age of 19 years. Whistler Heli-Skiing does allow minors to go heli-skiing providing:
- The person is a good skier or boarder. (Most minors that go heli-skiing have been in junior race or free-style programs).
- The person is of mature character and is used to dealing with adults.
- The person has their waiver signed by a parent, or guardian of legal age.
Whistler Heli-Skiing reserves the right to refuse any minor that we feel will not properly fit into the heli-ski day. If you have a child who is under 12, but who you think is ready for Heli-Skiing, please call us first prior to booking.
Can I use my own transceiver?
- No, we will provide all guests with a transceiver.
What do I do to reserve my group?
- Determine the abilities of everyone in the group, using the ability questionnaire that is part of this website, and decide whether the group will all ski together at the level of the least expert person or be split up according to their abilities.
- How large is the group? A group of 10 will fill the Bell 205 in the 3 and 4-run packages. A group of 5 strong skiers or riders can book a Bell 407 6-run package. Most often groups are not large enough to have a helicopter for their exclusive use so the group is booked in with other skiers of similar ability.
- Give the group a "group name" - usually the last name of the organizer or the person paying.
- Print copies of the Reservation Form from the website. If people will be paying individually then each person should send in their own reservation form, but put the same "group name" on each form, to link the group together.
Can I bring a snowboard and skis and switch part way through the day?
Unfortunately not. There is not enough room in the helicopter ski basket to carry any extra skis or snowboards.
Should I bring a backpack?
You do not have to bring a backpack. If you are an accomplished skier or boarder and are used to carrying a pack you may bring a SMALL shovel pack, with a shovel, probe, and a small amount of personal gear. Hydration packs are very good. If you bring a medium or large pack your guide will likely ask you to leave it behind. You must be prepared to carry your pack throughout the day as nothing may be left in the helicopter.
What should I wear?
Navigate to the "clothing" page in the "everything you need to know" section of this website for a detailed discussion on what to wear for a day of heli-skiing.
Everything you need to know!
The Ski Area
Just beyond the ski lifts of Whistler and Blackcomb, minutes from North America's #1-ranked Ski Resort, awaits the ultimate high-alpine experience. Imagine carving through untracked powder, endless terrain and breath-taking scenery.
With hundreds of ski runs, there is a tremendous variety of slopes to accommodate all levels of skiers and boarders from intermediate to expert. The skiing varies from wide-open glaciers to beautiful gladed tree runs.
The heli-ski area is made up of several zones and is approximately 50 miles north/south by 30 miles east/west (80km by 50km). Your guide will select terrain within a zone according to snowfall, the weather, and your group's ability.
* South Creek
Our excellent team of guides exemplify the perfect balance between professional qualification and enthusiastic personality.
Our heli-ski guides have achieved their professional status through a variety of routes, including courses with the Canadian Avalanche Association and certification from the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides, the Union Internationale des Associations de Guides de Montagne, the Austrian Ski Guide Program, the Canadian Ski Guide Association, and HeliCat Canada.
All guides must take avalanche courses; first aid certification; mountaineering, rope handling and rescue courses; and participate in the annual in-house training with Whistler Heli-Skiing. The guides have had many years of in-field experience.
- John Furneaux
- Andrew Wilkins
- Steve Anderson
- Mike Sadan
- Rich Prohaska
- Robert Rainer
- Vlad Lamoureux
- Neil Brown
- Atsu Kimura
- Paige Bell
- Kirk Becker
- Dale Marcoux
- Junichi Matsunaga
- Helene Steiner
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