Without a doubt, every skier dreams of accessing steep and untouched powder slopes by heli skiing. For those who crave that feeling of true powder, this is especially true. Every heli skiing adventure is a rollercoaster of chills and thrills.
Some people choose to indulge on these adventures for the sole purpose of experiencing the fresh snow on a daily grind, while others enjoy taking it easy and looking for the best tracks around the ski resort or lodge they’ve booked. Whether you’re visiting Canada for the week or enjoying a fast-paced day trip in Europe, heli skiing can be on the more pricey end. Therefore, you’ll need to go at the right time – wherever you’re deciding to go. In this article we will show you the yearly calendar months and when/where it’s the best time to heli ski. With the money you’ve put in this trip, you’ll want to have as much fun as you can without many down days.
January – Japow!
Is there ever really a bad time to visit Japan? No. But is there an excellent time to go heli-skiing? Of course! January is the perfect month for heli-skiing if you’re ready for large amounts of snowfall and fresh powder. The snowstorms are frequent, and honestly, you can even enjoy the fresh snow without the use of a chopper, especially towards Hokkaido (one of Japan’s northern islands). For those of you who have already decided that heli-skiing is a must, Hokkaido Backcountry Clubs run day-long heli-skiing trips from the resort in Niseko to Shiribetsu-Dake volcano. This occurs throughout the entire season.
O, Canada – February
Though the season in Japan is still going on in February, conditions have become better in Canada. Weather for heli-skiing in Canada during January is not the greatest and most people are partaking in tree-skiing or cat-skiing during that time. One of the best months for heli-skiing in Canada is February – the snow is very deep and the days usually consist of clear, sunny, and blue skies. Whether you ski high alpine or trees, you are bound to find deep fresh powder in any terrain.
There are so many places to go heli-skiing in Canada. Whistler and Revelstoke are ski resorts that provide heli-skiing. In the quiet and remote areas of British Columbia, there are heli-skiing resorts that you can look into such as Bella Coola and Silvertip Heli Skiing. The views are absolutely gorgeous and the time relaxing in the resorts is peaceful.
Spring into Europe – March
During March, the weather in Europe is less extreme. The temperatures are going up in the Alps, storms are much more predictable. Most of the snowpack is nice and settled and stuck deep against the mountains which greatly reduces the risk of an avalanche. You’ll also be able to escape the busy and used-up tracks and get on the fresh powder.
Traveling to Europe is great for heli-skiing first-timers, especially if you plan on staying at a resort. A few popular places for heli-skiing in Europe include:
- Monterosa ski area
- La Thuilein, Italy
- St. Moritz, Switzerland
Heli-skiing is banned in France, but here’s a pro tip (if you really want to see France): A few companies take heli-skiers from La Rosière in France to Italy’s La Thuile. Both of these areas share slopes.
The Steepest and Deepest – April
April in Alaska is simply one of the best times to book your heli-skiing trip. During January and February, Alaska still hosts very dark days, but in April, the days are long and the temperature is much warmer. On top of that, the weather has stabilized, meaning less potential down days. Anyone looking to tackle the super deep snow and the super steep slopes – this is the place for you. The snow sticks by the foot to the slopes and settles down around the bottom, providing smoothness from top to bottom.
The Midnight’s Sun – May
In Iceland, Sweden, and Greenland, 24 hours of sunshine take over. This gives you heli-skiing access double the amount of time than you would get anywhere else in the world. Riksgränsen, Sweden (200km north of the Arctic Circle) is a popular heli-skiing zone hosted by the Mountain Guide Travel Heliski, and they operate until the end of May. March through June is a great time for Arctic heli-skiing trips. Skidadalur, Iceland literally translates to ‘ski valley’ and it’s one of the most incredible places you will ever go heli-skiing. This is because you can ski very steep slopes on a stable snowpack, and as an added bonus, you can ski all the way down to the ocean under the midnight sun! Sweden and Greenland are loaded full of heli-skiing trips as well.
Fly With The Kiwis – June
Iceland is still a great place to heli-ski in June, however, it is a much better idea to travel down to the southern hemisphere to New Zealand. New Zealand’s ski capital, Wanaka, contains many ski resorts such as Cardrona and Treble Cone. Wanaka also makes for great heli-skiing, check out Harris Mountain Heliski – all the action happens above the treeline and the chopper drops you off from 600-1000m. Another great option in New Zealand is Southern Lakes.
Feeling Southern! – July, August, & September
Soak up the sun in South America these two months for your next heli-skiing adventure. The Andes (peaking over 6,000m) are a hot-spot for heli-skiing in both Chile and Argentina. Chile has some great skiing destinations and resorts such as Valle Nevado and Portillo, and Argentina has a great starting point in Las Leñas. Powder South offers an incredible South American Heli Skiing experience from their Puma Lodge, which is worth the trip!
Down Time – October
There are a few places to ski in October, however, the weather tends to be unstable at this time and there’s honestly not too much going on. It’s a very quiet time when seasons are changing all over the world and either getting colder or getting warmer. There’s not enough snow in most places for a heli-skiing adventure in October, so this is the perfect time to book for a different month or go glacier-skiing.
The Deep South – November
How far south are we talking? We are talking about Antarctica! But, how is this even possible? An operation called Powder South Heliski Guides will take you from sail to ski, leaving from Argentina by boat and landing in Antarctica. This is an insanely fun adventure for the super dedicated! November in Antarctica is a beautiful and peaceful spring time – most heavy storms have passed, the days last up to 18 hours, and the snowpack is thick and heavy. Call us for more info!
The Wheel Restarts – December
With the beginning of a new year approaching, we are back to the northern hemisphere being cold and snowy, perfect for your heli-skiing plans. December is a great time to look through all of the months and book your favorite place and time. It’s also a great time to book last minute trips to Canada, Alaska, and Europe.