Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Top 10 Myths about Helicopter Skiing


1.       You have to jump out of the helicopter

You might snicker at this one, but a surprising number of skiers think that we make you jump out of the helicopter. Unless your name is James Bond and you are in a hurry to chase some kind of demented snow villain down a mountain, there is no jumping out of the helicopter. Each run starts with the pilot landing the helicopter and before we unload. The biggest step you’ll make out of the helicopter is about the same size as taking a step out of an SUV.   

2.       You have to be a top-notch expert to go heli skiing

This is another myth perpetuated by the movies.  The reality is that most of our guests tend to ski at a strong intermediate to expert level.   If you can ski a tough Blue Square run in any condition or a single Black Diamond with minor difficulties, then we can take you to heli ski terrain that fits you.  Our guests come because they value their time and want a quality ski experience with memories that last a lifetime.  We have over a million acres of terrain to choose from (more than twice the size of Rhode Island), we can match our runs to fit your skill level and desires. 

3.       The snow in Alaska is real heavy

While it’s true that the snow is not as light and dry as the famous champagne powder of Utah, it has nowhere near the heavy consistency of West Coast skiing.  Alaska’s snow is unique in that it’s a “medium” type of powder that tends ski beautifully.  Alaska is colder than California or Washington State – hence the lighter powder qualities.  Some connoisseurs consider it the finest powder skiing in the world – we agree with that statement! 

4.       Helicopter skiing is expensive

I would argue yes and no about this myth.  Unfortunately, there is nothing inexpensive about being flown around in a private helicopter.  But when you consider that our price is fully-inclusive and the unique experience of being dropped off on the top of a giant mountain Alaska’s Chugach Range, you quickly realize that it’s an experience that will bring memories that last a lifetime.  When you compare the expense to a weeklong vacation at a top resort such as Vail or Aspen, the costs can be very similar.  It’s not often that you can stand on a distant peak, have the entire mountain to yourself, and ski a perfect powder run and not have to worry about crowds or lift lines!  There’s a reason it’s on everyone’s bucketlist. Stop by http://MajesticHeliSki.com to find out how reasonable it can be. When are you going to tick it off?

5.       Helicopters cause avalanches

This another myth that makes some of us snicker because we saw it in a Bugs Bunny cartoon, but others believe it to be true.  It turns out that sounds does not cause avalanches.  There even is an episode of Mythbusters on the Discovery Channel that debunks this falsehood.  The good news is that the snow in Alaska is notably more stable and less likely to avalanche than the snow in the lower 48, which is part of what makes Alaska such a great place to go helicopter skiing.

6.       I’m too old to go heli skiing

This myth touches piggybacks on the “Expert” myth.  If you can comfortably ski hard Blue Squares and Black Diamonds at the ski resort, than you can go helicopter skiing.  You are only as old as you think you are.  Our current “record holder” is a 78 year-old woman from Colorado.  She’s a hero to many of us.  We’d like to be heli skiing in Alaska when we reach 78!


7.       It’s cold and dark in Alaska

That’s a true statement if you are thinking about coming skiing in December.  Fortunately, we start our operations in mid-February, when the days are longer and the temperatures are warmer.  By the time we are closing out our season in May, we have 22 hours of day light!  Being close to the coast  keeps our temperatures moderate and in a comfortable range, much like skiing in Colorado, New York, or Wyoming would be.  Our guides joke about how miserable skiing in places like Maine or Montana can be and how much we would have rather been in Alaska! 

8.       It’s for skiing only

Another myth from the movies.  Or lies told by skiers to keep snowboarders from discovering how sweet the powder can be when you’ve got the entire mountain to yourself.  If anything, heli boarding is easier than at the resorts.  We pick lines where you don’t have to unbuckle and traverse.  There are no mogul fields, and we pick you up at the bottom of the run.

9.       Helicopters are unsafe

“The helicopter will fall out of the sky when the engine quits” is another misconception about heli skiing.  Turns out that modern turbine engines are incredibly reliable.  Better yet, helicopters have the ability to autorotate, which is the ability to keep flying without any engine power.  Your pilot will have performed thousands of practice autorotations, just in case of that rare occasion.

10.   There is a perfect time to go heli skiing

Some people swear that May is the best month to go, others say February. The best time is when YOU go heli skiing!  Each day, each week, and each snow crystal is unique.  Weather and snow are fickle beasts.  Some days are better than others, but your worst day of heli skiing will still be better than any day you’ve had at a resort!  The perfect time to go heli skiing is whenever you can go!