How to heli-ski on a (smaller) budget

Time to face facts: Heli-skiing is never going to be cheap. But Yolanda Carslaw has a few choice tips to keep costs down, and heli-skiing (almost) affordable. Huzzah!

Photo | CMH
Photo | CMH
  •  Pick a package staying at a lodge in a town rather than in the middle of nowhere and accessed only by heli.
  • Day heli-skiing can be cheaper, depending what you spend on your own accommodation and food: Selkirk Tangiers’ ‘Powder Excursion’ costs from $829 (three runs: extra runs cost $69) and its ‘Powder Adventure’ $963 (five runs). Eagle Pass quoted us $1299 + tax for six to eight runs (3000m vertical guaranteed).
  • Keep track of your metres to avoid a bill for extra vertical.
  • Book off-peak – peak season tends to be mid-January to mid-March.
  • If you’re paranoid about ‘down days’ when the heli can’t fly (most lodges claim 95%-plus fly days), opt for somewhere with back-up cat skiing such as Northern Escape (northern BC).
  • You’ll get more out of the experience by having some warm-up days. But perhaps go straight home afterwards: bashing ordinary runs – even Canadian ones – after all-day powder can be a bit of a downer.
  • Go cat-skiing instead of heli-skiing, or consider heli-assisted ski touring, available from several operators.