Heli Skiing Safety


Heli Skiing Safety

Wagner Custom Skis

Heli Skiing Safety and Risks

Heli skiing is not without risks considering that it’s undertaken in the uncontrolled backcountry.

Avalanche risk is one of the primary safety concerns. Only a minority of operations use blasting to minimise the avalanche risk, whilst others primarily use slope avoidance techniques. Safety briefings and the use of avalanche beacons should be routine, and many operators provide guests with a backpack with a shovel and probe. It is also becoming increasingly popular to provide guests with airbags to minimise the likelihood of avalanche burial.

The helicopter itself also poses various safety risks, which are obviously dependent on the skill of the pilot, the quality of the helicopter, and the guiding in relation to safety around the chopper.

Other backcountry hazards include tree wells (in Canada and continental USA), crevasses, unmarked cliff bands, creeks, and getting lost.

Canada heli skiing in particular has very high safety standards. The industry is highly regulated and with oodles of heli and cat skiing operators in BC, there are very well established systems to share avalanche forecasting information.

Powderhounds.com has rated some heli ski operators in relation to their avalanche risk reduction strategies, the guiding and general safety. See our heli skiing ratings. Also click on the links for any of the heliski operators in the right hand column and see the public heli ski reviews and ratings.