Not long ago, we told you how to break into heli-skiing with our Heli-Skiing Starter Guide. We hope you took us up on our recommendation and tried it out. If not, this feature’s going to show you how much you’re missing.
To further educate our readers on what a magnificent innovation the chopper can be when skiers and boarders take advantage of the glorious backcountry terrain only reachable by way of propeller, we’ve scoured the Internet for some of the most extreme GoPro heli-ski (and snowboard) videos around. These videos are sure to inspire anyone who’s ever wanted to give heli-skiing/boarding a try. The winter season is upon us. What are you waiting for?
Heli-ski detractors who decry the sport as too dangerous probably picture themselves stepping out of a helicopter into a rocky crater of disaster, speckled here and there with bits of snow, uncharted because of its extreme difficulty. That might be accurate on some backcountry trails, but it’s certainly not the case on all, and that’s why we’ve plucked this video. It may not be the most action-packed, but that’s the point. Not all heli-skiing is extreme and dangerous, the sport can be a scene of simple, pleasurable adventure, a mix of tranquility and exploration. Not every worthwhile experience has to be life-threatening; sometimes marveling at the natural world and our tiny place inside of it is enough to really get your blood pumping.
We say “heli-ski,” but that terminology is not meant to exclude snowboarders. There’s no need for the skiing Vs snowboarding debate. Anyone who takes a helicopter to the top of an otherwise inaccessible slope is a part of the heli-ski community, no matter whether they shred on two blades or one board. We devote our lives to digging out the most inspired extreme videos on the web and this high-octane montage of heli-boarding is one of the most impressive we’ve seen. From the amazing GoPro camera work to the level of tricking expertise to even the fantastic soundtrack, we’re betting that you’ll have goosebumps by the video’s end.
Picture Perfect Rush
If our first ski pick exposed you to the more muted side of extreme skiing, this video will hearten all our speed junky readers to the heli-skiing cause. With a faster tempo and some incredible tricks around the 2:00 mark, this selection highlights the best-case run for a skier who’s looking to go all out on a surface that’s almost completely unsullied by other humans. It’s one of the purest incentives for anyone who wants to try heli-skiing but can’t bring himself to justify the expense. Heli-skiing truly is a once in a lifetime opportunity and every snow sport enthusiast should add the sport to his or her bucket list. Seeing such an isolated environment sometimes prone to avalanches also reminds us why we might need to think about taking added precautions when heli-skiing (North Face Power Guide Ads Vest, anyone?) especially when taking off without a partner.
Documented in such a way that you’ll be glued to your computer screen for the duration of the 3:34 video, French skiier Matthias Giraud’s experiences a shocking near-death fall. This video is a visual explanation as to why heli-skiing has a dangerous reputation and is also a testament to the fact that any beginning practitioner needs to be very upfront with his heli-ski guide about his abilities and the kind of terrain he’s looking to ski. There’s no room for bravado here. On an advanced trail, one wrong move could end your life and even Giraud, a seasoned heli-skier, nearly met his maker on this tumble. If it wasn’t for his James Bond-like reflexes, this video would’ve captured a very different, very tragic outcome. We’ve included it here as much to showcase Giraud’s impressive athleticism as to hammer home the point that advanced heli-skiing is no joke. Also, it’s not often we see a heli-ski BASE jump, planned or not.
Cover Photo Credit: Roberto Caucino / Shutterstock