Heli Skiing Canada

Heli skiing in Canada is about as much fun as you can have with your pants on! (Bella Coola)
There is nothing like a heli pickup to get the excitement levels going! (Stellar Heli)
Some Canadian heli ski companies offer day-heli tours however most are multi-day (Northern Escape Heli)
Superb scenery goes hand-in-hand with Canada heli skiing (Eagle Pass Heli)
Some Canada heli skiing terrain is super steep with chutes, cliffs & boulders (Eagle Pass Heli)
Sometimes if you are lucky you can score super deep powder heli skiing in Canada (Northern Escape Heli)
But Canadian heli skiing terrain is also suited to intermediate skiers & boarders (RK Heli)
Getting back to the top of the hill is as much fun as riding down it (Last Frontier Heli)
The A-Star is a powerful & fast machine often used by heli operators in Canada (Bella Coola)
The Bell 407 is also popular and spacious inside compared to the A-Star (Northern Escape Heli)
There are still many Bell Huey's used by Canada heli operations due to their large load capacity (Selkirk Tangiers)
Some Canadian heli operators have back-up snowcat skiing for bad weather days (Northern Escape)
Lodging is sometimes in private cabins like Bell 2 Lodge (Las Frontier Heli)
Or fly-to-door lodging (many are super deluxe) like this one at Great Canadian Heliskiing
Some use local hotels & guest houses in funky local towns (Ripley Creek - Last Frontier Heli)
Apres is a common activity after a day of heli skiing in Canada (Northern Escape Heli)
Communal meals are fabulously social & there is a buzz from the day's heli just gone (Last Frontier Heli)
Food is usually chef prepared and nothing short of sublime (Bella Coola Heli)
A dip in the hot tub after a day of heli skiing is standard issue (Last Frontier Heli)
A few bevvies at the bar is a relaxing way to end the day (Last Frontier Heli)

Heli Skiing Canada

Heli skiing Canada is the ultimate experience for powder hounds, although you don’t have to be a true powder hound because there’s no need to sniff out the powder. Helicopters drop you right in amongst it. After that, all you have to do is follow the guide and enjoy the remote backcountry terrain that you normally only get to look at from afar.

Heli Skiing Canada

A commonly reported statistic is that 95% of all heli skiing in the world occurs in British Columbia, Canada. The validity of the statistic is questionable, but BC Canada is certainly the capital of the heli skiing world. Hans Gmoser, an Austrian Mountain Guide, had a major pioneering role in heli-skiing in the 1960s and formed Canadian Mountain Holidays (CMH). Mike Wiegele was also a pioneer in heliskiing Canada, with his operation commencing in 1970. The profile of heliskiing Canada has continued to increase, in part due to the exposure in Warren Miller movies that shows extreme skiers making the most of the fantastic conditions.

Heli Skiing BC

The province of British Columbia is perfect for heli skiing (and heli boarding) with millions of hectares of backcountry terrain that are covered in legendary BC powder. BC heli skiing is prolific with a large number of heli ski operators.

In the Central Interior of BC to the west of the Rocky Mountains are the Columbia Mountains, which comprise the Purcell Mountains, and then moving in a NW direction the Selkirk, Monashee and Cariboo Mountains. These mountains are heli skiing BC havens, and the snowfall in some of these areas is world famous with reported annual snowfalls of 12-15 metres. The dry powder is a distinct advantage for heli skiing in this region, but the proximity to various ski resorts is also a plus for those who want to combine some resort skiing with heli skiing. Some of the heli-ski operations are near Golden (e.g. Purcell Heli Skiing at Kicking Horse, Great Canadian Heli Skiing), Revelstoke (e.g. Selkirk Tangiers, Eagle Pass Heliskiing), and Panorama (RK Heliski). 

There are also a couple of Whistler heli skiing operators (Coast Mountain Range) such as Whistler Heliski, which allow the possibility to combine resort and heli skiing. A 2.5 hour drive north of Whistler is TLH Heliskiing in the South Chilcotin Mountain Range, and much further north is Bella Coola Heli Sports.

In Northern BC in the Skeena, Stikine and Coastal Mountains are various heli ski operators that are based near the towns of Terrace (Northern Escape), Smithers, and Stewart (Last Frontier Heliskiing) where it dumps 25 metres of snow on average each season!

The climate within BC varies significantly, but as a gross generalisation, the snowfall further inland tends to be more dry and fluffy. Associated with this may be a weaker snowpack and associated avalanche risk, particularly on extremely steep slopes.

Heliskiing Canada Terrain

The Canada heli ski terrain varies somewhat from that found with Alaska heli skiing, Chile heli skiing and New Zealand heli skiing, in that some of the skiing is below the tree-line. Choppers might still be grounded due to weather factors with heli skiing in Canada (so keep your itinerary flexible), but the likelihood of “down-days” is reduced somewhat because the trees afford some protection from inclement weather and provide better visibility for skiers. Other advantages of tree skiing include less wind-affected snow, and the added challenge of skiing around obstacles. In addition to the tree skiing, other Canada heli ski terrain can include wide-open glaciers and bowls, drops and chutes.

You don’t have to be a stunt skier to go heli skiing, but it’s certainly not for beginners, and possibly not for many intermediate riders. Most operators claim that they can cater for intermediates, but in reality, intermediate skiers and boarders would need to be very, very strong intermediates, and be capable of coping with a variety of snow conditions including waist deep powder, dust on crust, wind-affected snow, and have the ability to manoeuvre around trees. An intermediate level for resort skiing on groomed runs is very different to that required for off-piste conditions. Nevertheless, operators can generally cater to a range of abilities and will group people accordingly. If you’re unsure of your ability, it’s best to check with the individual operator.

Most Canada heli ski operators guarantee a certain number of vertical feet for each package they sell. Typically most operators will guarantee about 4,350-5,000 metres per day, but on average the daily vertical will be about 7,000 metres, and up to 9,000 if you’re lucky. The amount of vertical per run varies between heli ski operators, between runs, and will be dependent upon the snow condition and terrain available on any given day. The average vertical per run may be approx 760 metres with some heli skiing runs as long as 1,700 metres in vertical.

Typical Heli Ski BC Packages

Most Canada heli ski companies offer the option of “private” heli skiing (the definition of which might vary a little) or standard group packages, but a couple of operators only provide one option or the other.

Most of the trips consist of multi-day packages that include meals and accommodation, which is typically in a remote dedicated lodge. Alternatively, accommodation may be in a lodge or hotel in a small town. Either way, sharing the lodging with the rest of the group involves plenty of opportunities for fire-side conversations and embellished stories of the heli skiing experience. These multi-packages are typically 3, 4 or 7 days in duration.

Only a handful of companies offer the option of single day heli skiing (or heli boarding), which is obviously a much more affordable option for many people and provides the opportunity to give heliskiing a try. Single day operations include packages with 3, 4, 5 or 6 runs. Examples of companies that provide a one day option include Stellar HeliskiingSelkirk Tangiers, Eagle Pass Heliskiing (Revelstoke), RK Heli-skiing (Panorama), and Whistler Heli-skiing. Due to their location, you can combine heli skiing or heli boarding with resort skiing.

See our Canada heli skiing statistics document for more information on heliski operators and the package durations they provide.

Typical BC Heli Ski Costs

Heliskiing is an expensive activity, but most people are happy to save their pennies for an opportunity to get access to the freshies and amazing terrain on offer. Prices vary, but a single day 3 run package costs about $1000, and 5 runs about $1,000 - $1,200. A multi-day package that includes accommodation and meals costs about $1,400 to $2,100 per diem. (All prices are in Canadian dollars). For “private” packages, the cost is significantly more.

There are many factors that influence the price of the heli skiing package. Some of the lodgings are incredibly luxurious with fine dining, hot tubs, and massage services, whilst others are more basic. The timing of the season is a major cost determinant and typically there are high, shoulder and low seasons. Other factors that may influence cost are: the number of people per helicopter and per guide (a group size of 4 or less is very good); vertical covered; and whether transport to the lodge (via road, cat or air) is included in the price.

In most cases, the use of an avalanche transceiver and the “rental” of powder fat skis is included in the price. For snowboards, it’s a hit and miss affair as to whether boards are available through the operator.

See our Canada heli-ski comparison for more information on the cost of BC heli skiing, and factors such as vertical and the guide to guest ratio.

Heli Ski Canada Safety

The majority of the Canadian heli ski operators are incredibly safety conscious and are happy to advertise this on their websites. The long history of Canada heli skiing is advantageous to safety because the operators have many years of heli-ski experience and significant expertise. The guides are licensed with appropriate bodies such as the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides (ACMG), the Association of British Columbia Heliski and Snowcat Operators, and/or IFMGA (International Federation of Mountain Guides Associations).

There are risks associated with helicopter skiing, but the guides and pilots work their utmost to mitigate these risks which includes monitoring of weather, snow packs and choosing the right terrain on any given day.

Where is the Best Heli Skiing?

When choosing the best heli skiing operation for your next snow holiday, everyone has different factors that are important in the decision making process. For some the choice is largely based on location, but for others it may be about the quality of the tree skiing, the amount of expert terrain, the emphasis on safety, or value for money. To help you choose the best heli skiing experience for you, we have provided ratings on various operations in Canada, USA, New Zealand and Chile, and broken the ratings into various determinants including the most important factor of all….the powder! See our Powderhounds heli skiing ratings for more information.

More Reasons To Go BC Heli Skiing

Heli skiing is an incredibly exciting form of skiing or boarding. Avoid the crowds, tracked out slopes, and slow chair lifts at the ski resorts. Ride the ultimate chair lift, and enjoy powderhound paradise.
Canada Heli Skiing Packages
Bella Coola Classic Vert Package
From 4 - 7 Nights | 5 - 8 Days of Heli
Ability: Strong Intermediate to Expert
The Classic Vert package with Bella Coola Heli Sports is ideal for all levels of heli skiers & boarders from first-timers to experts. Packages are 3, 4, 5 & 7 nights and include a guaranteed vertical. You can join a group as a solo, couple, small group or book an entire lodge with a larger group.
Price p/p From price based 4 nights twin/double-share lodging high season at Eagle Lodge, 4 possible ski days (2 half-days & 2 full days); includes 57,000 vertical feet of skiing.
Base/invoice currency is in CAD ex taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
USD 6,774
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Selkirk Tangiers - Day Heli Skiing
3, 5 or 10 Runs
Ability: Strong Intermediate to Expert
Selkirk Tangiers offer some of the best value heli skiing on the planet; how can you afford not to try it! The 3-run Powder Excursion package is the perfect intro for heli virgins whilst the 5-run Powder Adventure package is for advanced riders, or the 10-run Expedition across 2 days is for those who are addicted.
Price p/p From price based on 3-run Powder Excursion package (high season)
Base/invoice currency is in CAD ex taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
USD 872
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Northern Escape Classic Package
North West BC | 3, 4, 5 & 7 Day Packages
Ability: Strong Intermediate to Expert
The Classic package is offered in 3, 4, 5 or 7 day increments and you can join as a solo skier/boarder or small group. Twin/double accommodation is provided at the Yellow Cedar Lodge with the option to upgrade to a single room. Option to upgrade to unlimited vertical. Share
Price p/p From price based on 3-day package (regular season 2021), twin/double-share room.
Base/invoice currency is in CAD ex taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
USD 4,890
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 COVID-19 Guarantee. Book now & cancel any time up to September 30, 2020 for a full refund.
Bell 2 Lodge Packages
From 4 Nights / 4 Days Heli Skiing
Ability: Strong Intermediate to Expert
Whether you are a solo traveler, a couple or group, some blissful time with Last Frontier is the ultimate! The Bell 2 Lodge packages offer both mixed or private groups (4, 5 or 7 days). Lodging is in deluxe Canadian log rooms & gourmet meals & Canadian hospitality is all included. Share
Price p/p From price based on 4-day package in high season, mixed group, twin/double-share (price per person)
Base/invoice currency is in CAD inc taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations
USD 7,300
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 COVID-19 RISK FREE: Reserve a seat now with no deposit required & cancel any time up to September 30, 2020 with no penalties.
Purcell Day Heli Skiing
1, 2 or 3 days of heli skiing
Ability: Strong Intermediate to Expert
If you are heading to Kicking Horse you'll definitely want to add 1, 2 or 3 days of heli skiing with Purcell to your trip. Join a group as a solo or small group or pull together your own private group. You'll need to book well in advance.
Price p/p From price based on single day mixed group heli skiing in shoulder season (per person).
Base/invoice currency is in CAD ex 5% GST.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
USD 1,423
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