What Is Heli Skiing?

by Frank V. Persall

Regardless of your previous skiing experience, you may wish to move on to more adventurous types of skiing, such as heli skiing, which is a great way to breathe new life into the sport. But what is heli skiing anyway?

Heli skiing is a type of ‘off road’ skiing that uses a helicopter to access parts of the mountain that would be otherwise difficult to reach. Typically, heli skiing means being able to try out runs with powder snow and more natural terrain. 

While you may need a certain degree of experience to enjoy your best heli ski adventure, heli skiers can be relatively new to the sport. But there’s quite a bit more you need to know before hopping into the heli and heading off for a snow-based adventure. In this short guide, we will be looking at what this type of skiing is and how good you need to be to get started.

What Is Heli Skiing?
What Is Heli Skiing?

A Bit More About Heli Skiing

Heli skiing may sometimes be called powder skiing owing to the fact that it is often that beautiful powdery snow that thrillseekers are looking for. But this is certainly not the only draw for this type of skiing. 

Powder skiing means being able to access much more rugged and natural terrain and an opportunity to try out steeper and longer runs. Skiers cannot typically access the places that have these features, at least not without a seriously long hike. And really, who wants to be hiking when they could be skiing?

Skier Jumping From Skiing Helicopter
Skier Jumping From Skiing Helicopter

This is where the helicopter comes in; skiers will access their chosen area in the vehicle before descending down the mountainside. While many people are only just getting to grips with heli skiing, the practice has been around for more than 50 years, having been invented by an Austrian guy named Hans Gmoser back in 1965.

One of the greatest things about this type of skiing is that you are under no pressure to get down the slope as you may be at a resort. If you are looking for a more laid back descent that you can do in your own time, fast or slow; this could be something you love.

How Good Do You Have To Be To Heli Ski

At the dawn of heli skiing, you may have been called a daredevil for trying out this extreme sport. However, as more and more people are becoming familiar with this type of skiing, it is sometimes seen as a family-friendly activity. 

What’s more, there is much misconception surrounding how the skier exits the heli; with many people believing that some sort of jump is involved. This is not correct. And you will be delivered safely to the top of the mountains without a parachute in sight. 

Heli skiing is great for people with all levels of experience. Of course, you need to know your way around a pair of skis, but otherwise, you’re free to get in on the action. That being said, you should consider whether you are confident enough to tackle this type of off-road terrain and whether you have good control over your descent as it may be a vastly different experience to skiing at a resort. 


Heli ski is often thought to be some ‘out there’ version of our beloved sport that is only for the most daring skier. However, this is not true. Accessing the more remote and wild areas of mountains allows you to enjoy a new side to skiing that you may not have experienced before. It is safe and there is no jumping out of aircraft involved. 

If you’re keen to try heli skiing, why not take a look at some of the other types of skiing and see if they appeal to you too?

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About Frank V. Persall

Frank is originally from the UK, but he has a passion for skiing that knows no bounds. He has made it his life's mission to visit the best ski resorts across the USA and the World. Frank loves spending time with his wife and three children on ski slopes, as they all share his love for the activity.

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