Destination GuidesGuide to Heliskiing

Top 10 Heli-Skiing Destinations

Mestia, GeorgiaSource: Veronica K.

THE BEST PLACES TO HELI-SKI ALL YEAR

1. Mestia, Georgia

Why go heli-skiing there? 

With around 20 metres of snow every year, the western end of the Lower Caucasus guarantees perfect powder conditions. Intensive low pressure systems build up over the Black Sea and result in massive snowfalls in the mountains. The peaks reach up to more than 3,000 metres. From the beginning of November, the mountains are deeply covered in snow and you’ll be surprised with the diversity of this magnificent region at the edge of Europe.

Facts: 

This is one of the highest heli ski regions, over 4,300 metres. The highest lift goes to 3,160 metres. Ski the two highest heli ski mountains: Tetnuldi (4,858 metres) and Uschba (4,737 metres). The highest peak is Shkhara (5,068 metres) and the total length of the slopes is 5.3 kilometres. The best time to go is January to March.

How to get there: 

Take a 20-minute flight into the depths of the Caucasus mountains in the Khulo valley and you’ll be surrounded by jaw-dropping glaciers and snow-capped mountains. A six hour bus ride or an hour trip on a chopper will take you to base camp.

Nearest airport: 

Natakhtari Airfield and Kutaisi International Airport

Kamchatka, Russia
Source: www.eaheliskiing.com

2. Kamchatka, Russia

Why go heli-skiing there? 

This is a place of extraordinary primal beauty, rushing rivers, hot springs and snow-capped peaks. It’s a vast volcanic peninsula that is almost entirely wilderness. You can ski down from the highest volcanoes of 4,000 metres to the frozen beaches and watch sea lions and seals. You can look into the burning volcanoes and ski through vast off piste forest ski runs. The longest heli ski run is over 2,000 vertical metres.

Facts: 

The vast Kamchatka Peninsula is in the far east of Russia, between the Sea of Okhotsk and the Bering Sea. It is home to 200 volcanoes and 29 of which are active. Kamchatka lies at similar latitudes to Scotland. Cold arctic winds from Siberia, combined with the cold Oyashio sea current, which keeps the peninsula covered in snow from October to late May.

How to get there: 

Arrive in Kamchatka by plane at Yelizovo Airport, the peninsula’s air traffic hub. There’s simply no other way unless you charter a boat or come on a cruise. There are daily flights to Moscow, Vladivostok and Khabarovsk as well as regular connections to Tokyo, Seoul, Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk and Magadan.

Nearest airport: 

Yelizovo Airport, Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky

Where to book: 

www.eaheliskiing.com

Himalayas, Kashmir
Source: Florian K.

3. Himalayas, Kashmir

Why go heli-skiing there? 

Gulmarg is a small ski village at an altitude of 2,600 metres nestled in western Himalayas of Kashmir. It is an amazing ski village with one of the best snow conditions, where you can ride one of the longest runs in the world from 4,300 metres to an altitude of 2,600 metres. Ski the worldwide unique terrain and one of the highest skiable terrain in the world. You will be riding incredible Himalayas in an exclusive area of 22,000 sq. kilometres.

Facts: 

All the highest mountains in the world are based in the Himalayas: Mount Everest, K2, Kangchendzönga, Lhotse, Makalu, Cho Oyu, Dhaulagiri I, Manaslu, Nanga Parbat, Annapurna I, Hidden Peak, Broad Peak, Gasherbrum II and Shishapangma. In Kashmir, the total length of slopes creates over 1,330 vertical metres of skiable terrain. The highest peak is 5,000 metres altitude and the runs are 1,000 to 2,000 vertical metres long. It also has the highest ski lift in the world, ascending to an elevation of 3,980 metres. The best time to go is from December to March.

How to get there: 

There are several key entry points to the Himalayas, including Kathmandu, Delhi, Islamabad (Pakistan), Paro (Bhutan) and Lhasa (Tibet). From there you take a domestic flight to Srinagar Domestic Airport.

Nearest airport: 

Srinagar Domestic Airport and New Delhi International Airport

Where to book: 

www.kashmirheliski.in

Alborz, Iran
Source: www.heliski.ir

4. Alborz, Iran​

Why go heli-skiing there? 

The Alborz Mountains in the North are situated between the capital Tehran and the Caspian Sea, with its highest peak Damavand at 5,604 metres and several other mountains higher than 4,000 metres. Low pressure areas come in from the Caspian Sea and result in snowfalls at the northern dispositions of the mountains. In the 1970s, ski resorts up to 4,000 metres were built under the regime of the Schah of Persia. He wanted to host the Olympic Games and even casinos were built 4,000 metres high. But because the regime was changed, many of the casinos were never finished. There is nothing quite like the stunning scenery of the Alborz Mountains and the charm of the old ski resorts created in the 1970s. It has the perfect terrain for skiing, with nice runs with up to 1,700 vertical metres.

Facts: 

One of the world’s longest gondolas is 1,800-3,900 metres; ski runs are over 2,000 metres. The highest peak is Damavand, which lies at 5,604 metres, but Alborz Mountains offer many peaks over 4,000 metres with the highest lift that reaches 3,960 metres. The Alborz Mountains are deeply covered with snow from November until May, but the most ideal time to go is from February to April.

How to get there: 

Fly to Tehran. Most of the flights arrive at Imam Khomeini Airport early in the mornings. It takes around two hours to reach the mountain resort in Dizin from the airport with a minibus, but another resort to consider is Shemshak Ski Resort & Complex.

Nearest airport: 

Payam International Airport; Mehrabad International Airport

Chugach Range, Alaska

5. Chugach Range, Alaska

Why go heli-skiing there? 

For the authentic Alaska experience, and the setting which many extreme ski movies were filmed at. Take in the unbelievable big mountains, big lines, steep and deep snow.

Facts: 

The Chugach Mountains surrounding Valdez receive an annual average of nearly 700 inches (17.7 metres) of snow. Being near the coast means the snow is moist and therefore more stable on steep slopes. You’ll get to experience runs averaging 3,000 to 5,000 vertical feet (914 to 1,524 metres). It’s a great time to go from February to May.

How to get there: 

Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport is a metropolitan hub serviced by multiple carriers year-round. You can take the train from Anchorage to Whittier and take the Alaska Marine Highway Ferry from Whittier to Valdez.

Nearest airport: 

Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport

Revelstoke-British-Columbia
Source: www.eaheliskiing.com

6. Revelstoke, British Columbia

Why go heli-skiing there? 

What happens when moist Pacific air meets cold, dry air from the Rockies? Light and fluffy powder of up to 60 feet a year. It’s the epicentre of BC backcountry, with 500,000 acres of wide-open glaciers, alpine meadows and massive old growth forests. Soar up to the Selkirk and Monashee mountain ranges for the ultimate experience.

Facts: 

Revelstoke Mountain Resort opened in the winter of 2008 and boasts North America’s greatest vertical at 1,713 metres. The resort also offers 3,121 acres of fall line skiing, high alpine bowls, 13 areas of gladed terrain and more groomed terrain. It is also the only resort world-wide to offer lift, cat, heli and backcountry skiing from one village base.

How to get there: 

Scheduled regional service with national and international connections is available in the nearby centre of Kelowna with ground transport to Revelstoke. International access is available to gateway airports in Calgary and Vancouver, transferring to regional airlines and/or ground transport. Direct scheduled flights to and from Kelowna are also available from major North American hub airports including Seattle, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Toronto, Vancouver, Edmonton and Calgary.

Nearest airport: 

Revelstoke Airport

Source: www.eaheliskiing.com

7. Bella Coola, British Columbia

Why go heli-skiing there? 

There’s 2.64 million acres of exclusive, jaw-dropping terrain, unlike any other in Canada. From stunning scenic fjords to the highest peak in British Columbia, you’ll be dazzled by an inspiring range of untracked terrain, as vast as the entire Swiss Alps.

Facts: 

Many runs are 1,500-1,800 metres, with the longest yielding 2,150 metres of leg-burning utopia. The highest peak is Mt.Monarch at 3,555 metres. However, the impressive Mount Waddington (4,019 metres) is the highest peak entirely in British Columbia. The best time to go is November to April.

How to get there: 

Fly to Vancouver then take a flight to Bella Coola or Anahim Lake. Private planes can also land at Campbell River (YBL), Como (YQQ), Kamploops (YKA) where you can clear customs.

Hokkaido Japan
Source: www.eaheliskiing.com

8. Hokkaido, Japan

Why go heli-skiing there? 

Japan may be called the Land of the Rising Sun, but in winter Siberian storms dump industrial quantities of snow and the northern island of Hokkaido receives up to 60 feet of snow per year. You’ll feel like you are floating through cold smoke! A helicopter allows you to ski on dormant volcanoes and through perfectly spaced birch trees in powder so deep that a snorkel would come in handy. Hokkaido’s powder snow is praised by skiers and snowboarders worldwide as the best quality snow in the world. There are a lot of renowned ski resorts in Hokkaido.

Facts: 

Hokkaido, the northern part of Japan’s main islands, is known for its volcanoes, natural hot springs known as onsen. It’s located near the dormant volcano of Mount Yotei. Popular ski resorts in the area include Rusutsu, Furano and Niseko. It’s ideal to ski in January and February for the best powder.

How to get there: 

The fastest way to reach Hokkaido is to fly. Flights from Tokyo’s Haneda Airport to Sapporo’s New Chitose Airport. Another way to get to Hokkaido from Tokyo is by train. The train network in Japan is extensive, fast and efficient (and relatively inexpensive).

Nearest airport: 

New Chitose Airport

Southern Alps New Zealand
Source: www.methvenheli.co.nz

9. Southern Alps, New Zealand

Why go heli-skiing there? 

New Zealand heli-skiing is an essential experience for any powder hound on a NZ ski holiday. A helicopter ride up in the spectacular Southern Alps alone is worth the money, and then you also get to ski or board down the virgin snow. Wanaka is the little brother to Queenstown and located less than an hours drive away. It’s a little more laid back than Queenstown but offers similar scenery and facilities. More importantly its an excellent location for heli-skiing with the Southern Alps and Mount Aspiring National Park literally on its doorstep. Heli-skiing around the Mount Cook National Park region enables you to see New Zealand’s tallest peak along with accessing superb heli-skiing terrain.

Facts: 

The New Zealand heli-ski season is the opposite to the Northern hemisphere running from early July and finishing in October. The coldest, driest conditions tend to be in July and August with more settled, warmer weather occurring in September and October making for excellent spring skiing. New Zealand’s highest peak, Mount Cook, is the focal point of the Southern Alps. The Southern Alps feature 29 other peaks higher than 3,000 metres.

How to get there: 

The closest international airport is Queenstown which is a scenic 45-minute drive from Wanaka. Wanaka also has its own airport for scenic and charter flights.

Nearest airport: 

Wanaka airport

Himachal Pradesh India
Source: www.himachal.com

10. Himachal Pradesh, India

Why go heli-skiing there? 

The Himachal Pradesh region has everything on the heli hit list, from skiing steep summits to racing down ridges, and plunging into birch, oak and cedar forests.

It’s heli fun on a Himalayan scale. Manali is one of the best places to go heli-skiing, and is known for having one of the deepest snowpacks in the Himalayas. Most heli-skiing packages include 100,000 feet of vertical skiing, a guide service and use of an avalanche transceiver. A quick helicopter ride will take you to the top of a 14,000-feet-high slope around Hanuman Tibba, Deo Tibba, Rohtang Pass and the Chanderkhani Pass near Manali.

Facts: 

Kullu Valley, home to the popular towns of Manali and Kullu, is situated on the banks of the Beas River, surrounded by the Pir Panjal Range and the Inner and Outer Himalayas. There are 21,325 foot peaks that will take your breathe away. The best time to go is in January and February.

How to get there: 

The best way to reach Himachal by air is to take a flight to Chandigarh, and then take a car or local buses. By train, Himachal Pradesh has two narrow-gauge railway lines, one connecting Kalka with Shimla and the other one connecting Pathankot to Kangra.

Nearest airport: 

Kullu-Manali Airport; Dharamsala Airport (also, known as Kangra Airport); Shimla Airport

Where to book: 

www.eaheliskiing.com

TOP 10 HELI-SKIING DESTINATIONS IN THE WORLD
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