We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Heli-skiing/boarding

Which British Columbia hotels are on sale?
dd/mm/yyyy dd/mm/yyyy
See hotels
Cleveland, Ohio
Level Contributor
123 posts
34 reviews
Save Topic
Heli-skiing/boarding

My husband wants to go heliboarding next month during our trip to Banff. I would like to hear people's thoughts or experiences (he's thinking of using RK heliski at Panorama mountain). I guess I'm mainly concerned about safety....thanks

Vancouver, Canada
Level Contributor
1,849 posts
3 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Heli-skiing/boarding

RK solid outfit. I have been Cat, not heli, but with everything there is always as risk. You will get avi training, have a peep and poles, and someone will have a shovel. Lead guide and tailgunner will accompany the group. Most places will have you doing 8000-10000 vert in a day.

I trust your husband is an advanced/expert skier and used to powder skiing. Have fun he will love it.

London
1 post
Save Reply
2. Re: Heli-skiing/boarding

I went heli-boarding with RK in Panorama last season. They're conscientious safety-wise and give you a drill before you go up in the helicopter, complete with trialling the beepers you use to find people if they get buried in an avalanche. When you're on the mountain, one member of the group has to stay at the back to ensure everyone gets down, plus they've very careful about where they go each day on the mountain depending on conditions. Check with your travel insurance before you go though, as usually heli-skiing isn't covered and Panorama can't offer you any cover themselves if you're non-Canadian.

The down side to the experience is that depending on your husband's boarding ability, there's a good chance it won't be the day the company's promotional bumpf leads your husband to believe. When a friend suggested we did it, at first I felt I might not be experienced enough. However, we pored over the company's website and were seduced by all the images of the skiers/boarders gliding in formation down gorgeous, empty white slopes, free as birds. The literature advised that if we were proficient on blues, we had the skills to do it - I've been snowboarding for years and am confident on blacks. So off we went.

The reality, we found out on the day, is that you'll only end up on the open slopes less than 15% of the time - the rest, the conditions mean you'll be routed in a long line down thickly forested steep hillsides, trying to get around tree after tree in powder up to your waist. Fine for skiers, not so good for boarders, especially if you're not experienced in thick off-piste drafts of powder (not a requirement mentioned anywhere on their website). The skiers also got special powder skis from RK, but the boarders had to hope for the best with their own kit. There were a few moments of rushing down open terrain, but 95% of it was queuing up to get through a tight clump of trees at super-steep gradients without hitting a tree/your group/getting rammed in snow and unable to get out.

However, if your husband is good enough to enjoy that - or is lucky enough to get the mountain on a great day condition-wise - he should have a great time.

Cleveland, Ohio
Level Contributor
123 posts
34 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Heli-skiing/boarding

My husband ended up going with Purcell and had a great experience. He loves tree riding and is good in powder. He said it wasn't scary at all and felt very safe. He would recommend using Purcell.

4. Re: Heli-skiing/boarding

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you'll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 11 August 2009, 16:20