Overall Rating

Himalayan Heli Adventures - Odyssey

Himalayan Heli Adventures - Odyssey4.5/56
Himalayan Heli Adventures - Odyssey4.5 out of 5 based on 6 reviews
  • Recommend
    83%
  • Would Revisit
    83%
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Himalayan Heli Adventures - Odyssey - Reviews

Himalayan Heli Adventures - Odyssey - Reviews

So Much More Than Just Heli Skiing

16/03/2020

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  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Skier
  • Rider Age
    36-50
  • Rider Ability
    Expert
  • Month:
    March
  • Admin Rating
    5

So Much More Than Just Heli Skiing

16/03/2020
Jaw dropping views
Plenty of amazing skiing on reconstituted powder
Amazing snow conditions considering it hadn't snowed in a while
Meeting some of the locals
They found a nice weather window on the last day
Heli skiing in India in the Himalaya would have to be up there as one of our best ski travel experiences. The heli skiing itself was amazing, with turn after turn after turn of untracked snow. Early in the week it was blue skies and reconstituted powder which skied very nicely, and our last day was shin to knee deep powder. Bliss! Of course, major factors that set Himalayan Heli Adventures apart were the Himalayan backdrop and the cultural fascination of being in India.

One thought that came to mind when considering heli skiing in India was the safety aspects, but it quickly became apparent that this international heliski outfit places a lot of emphasis on safety, and the helicopter engineers and pilots are Swiss and very diligent and experienced. However other minor parts of the trip didn’t always run like a Swiss watch, which is to be expected in India, but this all just added to the adventure, and the operations staff were quite adept at managing some of these Indianisms.

Would we recommend going heli skiing with HHA? Absolutely!

Pros
- Himalayan Heli Adventures have a massive tenure, so the guides have an array of slopes and aspects to choose from to find the best snow and terrain.
- Whilst the experience offers a good Indian flavour, the operation is run by a global team. The international guides are highly experienced and well qualified. The powerful and agile B3 helicopters are flown by Swiss pilots, that are very adept in dealing with high mountain flying.
- The heli ski zones typically don’t receive much wind, which brings many positives for the snow quality and snowpack stability.
- The guest to guide ratio is low at 3:1 or 4:1.
- Unlike heli skiing in many parts of the world, HHA has some tree skiing zones, which can be good for grey days.
- The service levels at the hotel and ski room are very high. It makes it hard to return home where the service levels are pretty poor!
- There are various activities to do after heli skiing or for down times, making the trip feasible for non-skiing partners too.

Con
• It requires a decent time commitment to get to India and Manali, and many flight connections often necessitate a Delhi stop-over on the way in and out which further adds to the time requirements.

Pro or Con Depending on Your Perspective
- Manali provides a great cultural experience and you can add on some time in other parts of India to get the full Indian intrigue experience. Of course, a place like India can throw up some challenges that you probably wouldn’t get with Canadian heli skiing, so the trip is well suited to adventurous souls who can keep an open mind when things don’t always go perfectly to plan.
- It’s a real joy to fly and ski amongst some of the mammoth peaks of the Himalayas, and the high altitude contributes to great snow. The altitude can provide challenges for a few people. Fortunately you sleep at only 2,000 metres, and for most it’s just a problem of getting really puffed when skiing for the first couple of days. And thankfully the guides take it easy on you.

See our full review of Himalayan Heli Adventures for more information.

Best ever

Dirk Reich
03/03/2020
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Skier
  • Rider Age
    51-65
  • Rider Ability
    Advanced
  • Country
    Switzerland
  • Month:
    March
  • Admin Rating
    3

Best ever

Dirk Reich
03/03/2020
This has been my best ever Heli-skiing vacation: the mountains and views are awesome, our highest drop-off today was at 4600 m with runs up to 1000m - the Sky was blue and we had between 10-40cm fresh snow.

The Indian / Swiss / multinational team is very professional and flying skills and safety is leading edge.

Ground staff around Markus and Flavia do the best and try to read the guests wishes from their lips - excellent customer service and good in improvising when things don’t go as planned.

We will come back with friends !

Heli Skiing in

Maurice Ruckstuhl
04/11/2019
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Snowboarder
  • Rider Age
    36-50
  • Rider Ability
    Strong Intermediate
  • Country
    Schweiz
  • Month:
    February
  • Admin Rating
    3

Heli Skiing in

Maurice Ruckstuhl
04/11/2019
I can only recommend this place and the company responsible for it. It was a great pleasure and the experience was great. Especially the landscape was phenomenal. The people who work there are professional and very hospitable. The mountains are incredibly fascinating. The helicopters are well equipped and everything is organized very safe. Heli pilots are very experienced and know what the snowboarders want to ride, but can also assess the danger potential very well. I can only say thank you and would immediately go on such a tour with this crew.

Great snowboarding, great staff

Thomas
04/11/2019
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Snowboarder
  • Rider Age
    36-50
  • Rider Ability
    Advanced
  • Country
    Switzerland
  • Month:
    February
  • Admin Rating
    5

Great snowboarding, great staff

Thomas
04/11/2019
We (group of 6 snowboarders) spent a week at Manali in Feb / March 2019 and really had a great time and enjoyed some incredible powder days. Upon our arrival, we immediately felt the "laidback" and smooth spirit of the operation and the staff - very serious when it comes to safety, the heli operation and guiding, but relaxed in the evenings and always up for a chat during the day. The whole trip was well organized and we felt "pampered" throughout. On a down day (wheather), the crew organized a day trip to get some powder turns at the gondola in the nearby Solang Valley, which was quite an experience!

The guides really do know the terrain and share the excitement of the guests and, to some degree, also were open to our input and ideas. The terrain is impressive and seemed to be endless... and ranges from steep alpine terrain to funny tree runs. We went up to +5000m which ensured good powder even on warmer days. All in all, very recommendable for riders who are looking for a good and friendly vibe, helpful and approachable staff and endless light/dry snow!

Average to poor

Philippe Fatzer
08/07/2019
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Skier
  • Rider Age
    51-65
  • Rider Ability
    Expert
  • Country
    Switzerland
  • Month:
    March
  • Admin Rating
    1

Average to poor

Philippe Fatzer
08/07/2019
I will not return to Manali, nor recommend it, for some of the following reasons :
Lack of availability of relevant equipment
No group order rotation
Preferential group treatment
Very lengthy rotation
No corrective actions implemented despite regular feedback
Restricted skiing terrain
Guiding style

Editor’s Response:
This response has been formed from discussion with the operator regarding correspondence between the client and the operator.

The guest’s main concern was that he didn’t feel like he got good value because he felt like he was treated like a second class customer. The client was seeking financial compensation for this lack of perceived value, with the assertion that he would advertise the shortcomings of the operator on social media and review sites such as Powderhounds if they failed to give him money (hence this review).

Some of the background to him feeling like a second class customer was because clients in another group were treated like first class customers. For example, on arrival he was advised to choose his skis but felt a choice of skis was lacking because the other group had arrived prior and already chosen skis. As the guest brought his own powder skis, it’s unknown why this was considered such an issue.

The other crew generally had the first group position with the lead guide, whilst the guest was in the second group and felt like he didn’t get untracked snow, which seems unusual considering the open alpine terrain. It is very common for heli ski companies to have a lead guide whose group goes first, and for the guide and guest relationships to not be disrupted during the week by swapping the lead guide between groups.

One day the guest was concerned that the runs were too short and they only did 5,100 metres (16,700ft) of vertical (which for many heli skiing companies would be considered a very respectable day). In the middle of the day, the guide tried to call off the heli skiing because visibility was low, and the guest had to “vehemently protest” to convince the guide to continue skiing for more time. It’s a concern that the guest was trying to bully a guide into compromising on safety.

Iconic Heli Skiing

20/11/2016

Andrew Henderson

Powder Enthusiast
Powder Enthusiast

Andrew Henderson

Powder Enthusiast
Powder Enthusiast
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Skier
  • Rider Age
    51-65
  • Admin Rating
    5

Iconic Heli Skiing

20/11/2016
Very dry snow, plenty of it, and unlimited vertical. An amazing place to ski.

There is sublime tree skiing and, of course, more true alpine than you can shake a stick at. The high altitudes assure dry, good quality, never ending snow. We didn’t see very deep powder during the time we were there, but knee deep is standard and the mid weight snow is perfect. The pitch and terrain is as steep and varied as any skier could want and the setting is mind blowing. The irregular pointed peaks surrounding you could only be the Himalayas. You have no doubt you are skiing somewhere very special.
The conditions vary from crystal clear, warm days, where you can see forever, to overcast conditions, with visibility too poor to fly. I got the impression that the latter are not uncommon. There were 4 consecutive no fly days during the time I was there. The days we did ski however had conditions that were as good as you could ever dream of.
The vertical is more limited by the clients than the hours in the day. Heliskiing is a lot of work. Make sure you are fit enough to make the most of it. Even if you are fit, expect the altitude to make the first day or two tough. The weeks are organised to try to acclimatise guests as much as possible. The first one or two days might be spent in the trees before going higher into the alpine, so that you can enjoy the skiing more. The first run from over 5000m will have you gasping for air, but reeling with pleasure.
Manali is only a quick flight from New Delhi, but the airport is often affected by cloud and there are limited flights. The Manali Heliski team meet you in New Delhi and manage your time there, including transfers to the airport and any changes to the itinerary that need to be made. Usually they manage to get people to the other end on the day intended, but it is not always possible. If the flights are cancelled you may have to fly to Chandigarh instead, not far as the crow flies, but a long way from Manali on a bumpy road. Staying another night in New Delhi may be a better option.

The guides are international, a mix of local, European, Australians and New Zealanders. All very experienced and great people to ski with. The head guide is Roger Kingston, who works for Harris Mountains in NZ in the southern winter and is a top bloke. The helicopter pilots are from Zermatt and amongst the most experienced and skilled mountain pilots in the world. They are occasionally called on to perform rescues while they are in Manali and while we were there, they rescued some very, very lucky hikers lost in the high country.

The package includes accommodation at a quite luxurious Manali hotel. The helicopter pad is within the hotel grounds. Literally a 50m walk from your bedroom door. The skiers’ meals are also provided and there is a large dining room and bar where you can eat and socialise with the other skiers, guides and staff. It is the off season for Manali, so you more or less have this enormous hotel to yourself. The hotel design is pleasingly mad and the staff are very nice people.

The skiing in the 2016 season was affected by the weather. Even in the Himalayas the snow can be off in a bad year. The advantage in this part of the world is that you can go higher or search further to find perfect conditions. We did end up with a little less skiing than we were hoping for. That was no one’s fault, the weather just did not cooperate. The skiing we did get will be remembered for a lifetime. Be aware though that the guaranteed vertical is 20,000m (or was in 2015) and you can chalk that up in two days. If you don’t get that vertical in your week you get a discount on the following season, but no refund. They try hard to make sure everyone gets a fair deal. Certainly there are a lot of repeat customers, but read the small print.

This is one of the iconic heliski destinations of the world. The only commercial skiing above 5000m. Top guides and pilots.