Heliski Heroes usually means the pros. Flying free and getting sponsored to showcase their talents busting big moves in wild locations is nice work if you can get it! But what about you/we the people, the paying punters who, after all, keep the whole heli-accessed snow show on the road. The real heliski heroes?
We sent Photo Editor Dan Power, who took all the pics here, out with a regular Southern Lakes Heliski group to record what it’s like for the rest of us.
Plus we asked Guide Michael Shynkaryk for some tips for heli novices.
This one goes out to fellow face-planters everywhere..
What reactions do you as a guide find with first time heli-skiers/boarders?
I believe everyone should experience heli-skiing. It’s an achievable goal and amazing experience for the intermediate and above skier or snowboarder.
I believe this because the proof is in the pudding. For example, regularly first time heli-skiers/snowboarders say to me “That was the best day of life!”, or the best was the lady who said, “Heli-boarding for the first time was better than my wedding day!”
She and her husband are now regulars, and still married, so the wedding day can’t of been bad or anything. They save enough dollars each year to keep coming back.
That’s the tough thing with heli-skiing/boarding, you never can go just once. It’s a healthy addiction that leads to life long memories, friendships, and an active lifestyle.
What are some tips for first time heli skiers/boarders thinking of having a crack?
Tough question, deserves some serious thought and eventually you just need to say yes! Some tips:
– Stop. Look. Listen. Then Go shred. We live busy lives and heli-skiing/boarding is a great time to pause, spend time in the mountains, enjoy the scenery, friends and powder. Take your camera and bring a smile. It’s a powerful experience!
– Go with a guiding company you trust and a guide you like. Don’t base your decision on price alone. SLH has some of the most experienced guides and pilots in the heli ski business. Experience is priceless and I’m happy guiding with the team.
– Shred the ski fields near Wanaka and Queenstown for a few days before your first time heli-skiing/boarding. Good fitness and technique will improve your first time experience.
– Weather is a thing tricky to forecast in New Zealand, snow quality can change quickly, and it’s best to go when it’s good, rather then waiting for a better day.
– Work with your local sport shop, like Base in Wanaka, or Torpedo in Queenstown, to make sure get you on the right gear for the day. Powder skis and boards make your first day a lot more fun and easier.
Get onto the local experts Southern Lakes for details.