HELI-SKIING, THE ULTIMATE EXPERIENCE ON SNOW
The thrill of being helicoptered to a remote peak, dropped off in genuinely wild terrain and devouring endless virgin powder tracks down steep back-country routes, unquestionably represents the ultimate ski and snowboard experience. For the best skiers and snowboarders, heli-skiing should be near the top of any bucket list.
Heli-skiing in the Alps is highly restricted, whilst seats are often in great demand after new snow and guides assess the ability of those looking to venture into this un-patrolled terrain – all these factors only serve to confirm that heli-skiing represents the best ski or boarding experience available.
Heli-skiing is the access of remote off-piste terrain by helicopter. Clients and their certified guide are flown from the valley or mountain heli-pads to a select few peaks. The clients and their equipment are dropped off and the group heads off on backcountry, off-piste descents. Heli-skiing offers the chance to escape the crowds and access private of playgrounds with sensational terrain and snow.
The flight is dramatic enough with the helicopter skimming slopes, lifts and peaks en-route to remote peaks, whilst the landing on the mountain top can really get the heart racing. Following the drop-off, a silence replaces the thrashing helicopter blades and the remote serenity of the location becomes evident. An equipment check and briefing from the guide proceeds the drop into the ultimate powder lines.
The remote location of the activity coupled with the challenging pitches and deep snow means that only skiers and snowboarders who are competent in tough off-piste conditions are permitted to travel with the guide. The helicopter will only carry groups led by accredited local guides. To evaluate individual abilities, the guide will ski with the group off-piste before the helicopter pick-up, with honest evaluations saving serious consequences in the backcountry.
Group members will be required to carry avalanches safety equipment including avalanche transceivers, avalanche probes and snow shovels. These can be rented from the guiding outfit. ABS avalanche bags can also be rented and are highly advised / in many cases compulsory. Choosing the right ski or board can also ensure that clients aren’t holding back the progress of the group.
Lech am Arlberg offers heli-skiing flights from the upper slopes near the Balmalp mountain hut. It isn’t bad for the ego to be watched & filmed being loaded on the helicopters and whisked away to the skiing version of heaven.
Zürs am Arlberg flights leave from the Flexenpass, just to the south of the resort. Lech-Zürs are the only locations in Austria which permit heli-skiing operations. Guides and flights can be booked at the local ski schools / mountain guiding operations.
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