Patrick Thorne

29 Feb 16

[TRAVELS] More Affordable Heliskiing

Patrick Thorne

29 Feb 16

(Image above Credit Bella Coola Heli Sports)

It’s true, heliskiing isn’t cheap, but understanding there are options available may just get you what you want for less, your own personal heli-playground, according to specialist Canadian agency and industry experts Heliski Holiday.

The current strength of the pound against the Canadian dollar (in contrast to its weakness against the US dollar) makes Canadian heli-skiing 20% cheaper too.

“The cost depends on the number of days you heliski, the time of year, the vertical feet you clock up and whether you travel semi-private or private, as well as the operator you choose. While all heli operators have competitive pricing, it can vary,” says Nina Kaufman of Heliski Holiday, who are based in BC and have long experience at organizing trips on a no-fee basis.

The most common of variables is guaranteed versus unlimited vertical explains Nina. Once guests reach the guaranteed vertical then added vertical can be purchased at extra dollars per/vertical foort, but this can be unlimited you pay for in advance.

“It would be nice if there was a magic number that would cover all the operators price per package, that would certainly make it easier, but that is not going to happen,” adds Nina.

The majority of heliski operators organize heli tours by offering a pre-scheduled number of days for specific tours. Some offer 3 to a 7-day and some only a 6 or 7-day and some you can customize the days depending on group size.

The Semi-Private tour cost will range from $5000 Canadian dollars (around £2660) to $14,000 (around £7450) but, says Nina, heli-ski and board enthusiasts can save by making their reservation one year in advance or by selecting an early January or end of March, beginning of April date.

The Private Tour is the ultimate in heliskiing experiences and will cost more. These 4 to 7 day programs are individually personalized for groups of 4, 8 or 10.  Pricing proves to be a bit trickier due to what each operator includes and what is wanted.  But it is safe to say each person would need to add a minimum of $10,000 (£5320) to the cost of a semi-private tour.

On top of these, additional costs can be aware of can include trip cancellation insurance, connecting flights, private transfers, alcoholic drinks where you stay, massage treatments and pre and/or post trip accommodation.

The heli operators of British Columbia work hard at controlling what they can and be honest about what is not possible to control.

“Time, thought and library of information is what it takes when considering a heliskiing/heliboarding holiday.  The heliskiing operators are remotely scattered throughout BC and are all vying for your reservation,” says Nina, “Making an uncluttered decision is not only time consuming but digesting all the information is huge so it’s best to seek expert free advice to be made aware of all the options and to then be in a position to make an educated decision.”

Giulia Monego, Sascha Schmid, Martin Winkler im Backcountry des Skeena Heliski Resort, British Columbia, Canada.

Giulia Monego, Sascha Schmid, Martin Winkler im Backcountry des Skeena Heliski Resort, British Columbia, Canada.