Common Questions About Heli-skiing
Are gratuities included in the trip price?
They are not included, and they’re not expected. If you think the service you’ve received during your stay deserves a gratuity, please feel free to include one at the end of your trip when you settle incidental expenses. All gratuities are divided equally among the lodge staff.
Do I have to sign a waiver?
Yes. Our first and number one priority is to provide you with a safe, enjoyable skiing experience and our guides and pilots are rigorously trained to optimize the program’s safety and quality. The safety meetings and training you’ll get on arrival are designed to explain heliskiing’s risks and to bring you into partnership with us in managing them to the fullest extent possible. But while some aspects of risks are manageable, others are not, and heliskiing – can’t be completely eliminated. We ask you to understand and accept this fact in writing prior to your trip by signing the CMH Heli-Skiing waiver. We can’t accept your booking if we have not received your properly completed and witnessed waiver including full contact information.
How are groups set up?
After your arrival at the lodge, you will be asked at what pace you would like to ski, and our guides will make groups of compatible ability, to make the skiing as enjoyable as possible for everybody. It’s completely at the decision of the guides to decide which group you will ski with and to make changes during the week if required.
Skiers often arrive as part of a group which hope to ski together. If the group is evenly matched in skills, this may be possible. However, in forming the groups, we have to balance the abilities of all the skiers at the area and we also need, for helicopter safety reasons, to balance the weights of the flight groups.
Pre-formed groups arriving at the area can say they don’t mind if their group isn’t evenly matched. But when one group is badly matched it often causes the other groups to be mismatched too, seriously affecting everyone’s safety and quality of experience. So even if you come as part of a group hoping to ski together, for the safety and comfort of all our guests, we must reserve the right to make the groups as we see fit, optimizing the compatibility of skiing skills and balancing the weights of all the groups.
Are there many non-skiing days?
Because we ski in such a variety of terrain and at so many different altitudes, we can usually find a perfect area for skiing. On average, we aren’t able to ski at all only about half a day every week. But should you meet a difficult week, you have the guaranty of the best refund policy in the Heli-Skiing business.
What is tree skiing like?
Tree skiing in Canada is a unique experience. We ski in natural, mature forests where the huge spacing between very large trees makes for unforgettable skiing. Over the past four decades we’ve built many runs with good tree-spacing even in thick forests. Our experience and knowledge of the woods allow us to ski satisfyingly during periods of bad visibility and when the avalanche risk is high on the open slopes. Since a part of your Heli-Skiing trip will be spent by tree skiing, you should remember that exciting as it is, tree skiing is also difficult and exhausting.
At what altitude do you ski?
Most of our ski terrain is between 1,800 meters (5,900 feet) and 2,800 metres (9,200 feet). In some cases, we are able to land as high as 3,500 metres (11,500 feet) and ski down to 600 metres (1,960 feet). The altitude at which we actually ski will be defined every day by the guides and pilots, depending on weather and flying conditions, snow quality, and snow stability.
What is your average snowfall?
It varies greatly from year to year, but, in the actual ski places, seasonal snowfall averages range from 1,200 centimeters (470 inches) to 2,000 centimetres (790 inches, or a hefty 65 feet). This generally makes for a settled snowpack of anywhere from 2.5 metres (8 feet) to 5 metres (16 feet). (So, to get 1 metre, or 3 feet, of settled snow on the gorund, approximately 4 metres, or 13 feet of snow has to fall!) Since our 12 places cover that almost half-of-Switzerland-sized 15,765 square kilometres, snow piles and conditions can change from one area to the next.
When’s the best time to Heli-Ski?
This is the most frequently asked question and, sincerely, it’s not really possible to answer.Our ski season starts in December. By that time most ski resorts in Western Canada have already been opened for a couple of weeks. We wait for that long for the openning so that we are sure we’ll have more than enough snow and the quality of skiing will bring the best the season can offer. Please consider too, that our winter starts earlier and lasts longer than it does south of the border (that is, in the US).
Spring skiing offers a variety of snow conditions starting from corn snow on south-facing slopes to powder on north-facing slopes. The days are longer and the temperatures warmer in spring, usually offering us more skiing than at other times during the season. At that time of the year, we ski mostly on high open slopes, heading for corn snow, a valuable commodity for skilled Heli-Skiers. Unlike spring slush, corn snow is wonderfully effortless, the most effortless of the various conditions we encounter during the year. On the other side, winter-like conditions often continue during spring, with great powder skiing following each snowfall.
What if I’m not good enough?
If you have obviously overrated your physical condition, overall ability, or skill in difficult areas and snow conditions, we reserve the right to get you back to the lodge after a couple of runs. Our decision depends on the snow conditions and the terrain risks in the areas we’re skiing. Your safety and the safety of the other skiers is our number one priority. If you are not able to keep pace with your group you may be asked to stay at the lodge or leave the place before your trip ends. If you have reservations about your ability, take a look at our Specialty Programs.
How fit should I be?
Physical condition is often more important than ability.The more fit you are, the more fun you’ll have heliskiing and the less likely you will get injured. If you do not exercise regularly, we strongly recommend that you should start an exercise and stretching program at least eight weeks before your trip. And also while you’re in the mountains with us we recommend you to take part in the lodge’s daily stretching/warm-up sessions.
Do you only offer week-long trips?
No. We also offer more and more possibilities on our classic 7-day trips, along with more 3-,4-,5- and 10-day trips. We also offer Powder Introduction, Powder Masters, Private Groups, and other special trips. See our Web site for the latest information. So: many variations on the main theme.
What’s the skiing like?
Incredible. To be more specific: Our 11 CMH areas provide a greater exclusive skiing terrain, and a wider variety of runs, than any skiing area on the planet (total area: 15,765 square kilometres, or 6,087 square miles, almost 40% as large as Switzerland, larger than 19% of the countries in the United Nations). Each area encloses more than 1,000 square kilometres (386 square miles) for the absolute enjoyment of our skiers.
The interior ranges of south eastern British Columbia are known for the quality and quantity of their snowfall. Our runs vary in length from 400 to 2,100 vertical metres (1,640 to 6,888 vertical feet) and are in the most beautiful, wild and untouched mountain country imaginable. We ski on unlimited open snowfields, on glaciers, and in the trees.
Note that our guides do their best to find the best conditions but, for stability reasons and in hard flying conditions, chances can become limited (on marginal weather days we may only ski in the trees). Most weeks look like a mix of conditions, so skiers need to be experienced and prepared to be coping with very challenging conditions.