When planning a heli-skiing trip, there are tons of factors to consider – dates, times, places, etc. However, something you might be forgetting to consider is the size of your heli-skiing group. This alone can be a major deciding factor in your plans, but luckily we have you covered. Keep reading to learn about why the size of your heli-skiing group is something you need to think about.

Purcell Heli Skiing

First Things First – Your Group Size


If you’re a one-person party, you have a lot of things that you should consider before heading out. Take time to learn about who you are going with before you decide to jump on any trip or you might end up with people who make the experience grim for you. Luckily, we can help with that. We can make sure that you aren’t the last person in a group of people who all know each other (this can get awkward). Also, you have a bunch of other things to think about before getting in with a group of people. Are they at your ability level? Are they around your age? Do they have similar goals? Will you want your own room at the resort or are you willing to share? These are all the things you need to consider if you are a party of one.

valdez heli ski guides
Valdez Heli Ski Guides


Groups of two have it really easy. In fact, this is one of the best options for heli-skiing in groups – it’s just the two of you. For starters, it’s just you and your skiing partner, with no one else to look after or accommodate to. If you go with one other person, it’s likely that you two are very close and sharing a room wouldn’t be a bother – most lodges offer double occupancy rooms. You will still be sharing the helicopter with 3-4 other people when you’re in a two-person group, so just as if you were traveling alone, it’s good for you and your skiing partner to look at who you may be flying with and make sure they are at the same level as you.


Group of 4

A group of 4 means that now you are in the ideal spot to get a helicopter or ski group to yourself. A group of four is almost as easy as a group of two – you each have your own partner and can split two rooms easily. Having your own small ski group of people that you already know is excellent because you are most likely all at the same skill level and have the same wants and desires that will make your heli skiing trip that much more enjoyable!

Points North Heli Skiing

Group of 5-6

With a group of 5-6, you’re going to want to look into heli-skiing operations that can accomodate all of you in one group. More than likely, most operators will have groups of 5 people plus 1 guide. If your helicopter can fit 6 people, but there are 2 guides, you will not be able to ski together. For starters, if you are a group of 5, you’ll want to make sure that your helicopter can have all 5 people in your group with only one guide. Usually it isn’t an issue. At a group size of 6, things get a little bit more tricky and one out of the group might get pushed to a different chopper. Avoid this by planning ahead and finding out which heli-ski operation will suit 5-6 people in one small group.

Alaska Black Ops Valdez

Group of 8

A group of 8 is the magic number, the perfect private heli-skiing group size. Tons of operations cater to 8 people more often than not, and you will find that things are simplified when there’s 8 people to a group. Knowing this, you can either be prepared for all 8 of you to squeeze into a Bell 205, or be split into two ski groups of 4.

Group of 9+

Though more difficult, it’s still not impossible. When booking for 9+ people, you have entered the ‘large group bookings’ zone, and it will be much more difficult to find availability as the year goes on. This is due to the fact that smaller groups have already booked certain weeks, and the busiest parts of the season will in turn have less accommodations for larger groups. You’re going to really want to rise and grind early in the season if you have a large group and you want good spots. Give us a call to plan early and ensure you will get your slot in.

Black Ops Valdez Cat Skiing

Ski Group Size – What Happens Next?

Say you’ve finally landed at your destination and you are getting ready for an adventure of a lifetime. However, you are worried about your group and how/if you will be split up. How exactly does this work?

Group sizes are divided up based on three main factors – weight, skier ability, and desired terrain. It’s very important to be honest about your ability and what exactly you are looking to accomplish. You might want to discuss this far in advance with your team members and keep in mind… who wants what? Maybe you have a couple in your group that you’re best friends with, but they have never been heli-skiing and you and your partner have been a dozen times. They are beginners and should be in a beginners group, whereas you are more advanced. There is no problem in splitting up, it doesn’t mean you won’t share the same amazing experience, you will just be experiencing something that is perfect for you.

If your group is all at the same experience level, you’re going to want to opt for a private heli-skiing package to ensure that your group stays together. Many of these options are completely customizable, you’ll just want to book them early enough to ensure you don’t run out of time slots or miss booking with an operator that works best for you and your group.

Points North Heli Skiing

Number of Groups Per Helicopter

Like previously mentioned, this is a hugely important thing to consider when booking a trip. If you are part of a fast-paced group of experienced skiers looking to maximize vertical (or paying for unlimited vertical) you might want to consider the number of ski groups per helicopter. If only 2 groups are using a helicopter, you will get in plenty of skiing time at most operations. The helicopter will likely be at the bottom waiting for you, and you will just have time to catch your breath. But, you will likely ski the same aspects or areas as the other group.

With 3 ski groups or more sharing the same helicopter, it will obviously be a bit slower than 2 groups. But, this is a great way to reduce cost and make new heli skiing friends.

Purcell Heli Skiing

If you never want to wait, then a private option is great. This means you will not share the helicopter with any other groups, and they are available for different group sizes. This will ensure that you get to ski the terrain you want, and basically take things at your own pace. Perfect for a fast group – yes. But it is also great for a group that would like more time for lounging. You can grab lunch when you want and check out distant terrain. The world is your oyster.

Northern Escape Heli Skiing

Small Ski Group vs Big Ski Group

A small group has some serious advantages, but they will come at a cost. Small groups are more intimate and despite the price, things can be really easy in terms of sharing the cost and sharing a room.

If you are in the middle of a small and large group, you kind of have the best of both worlds in your favor. Why? Because you can find a larger helicopter operation that holds up to 11 people, but usually only carries 6-8 skiers. This gives you a lot more room and comfort in your heli and can make the entire experience a little bit more luxurious.

Northern Escape Heli Skiing

If you decide to be a part of a larger group, the difference will be a landslide. With big groups, there are more people to meet at the lodge, tons of energy, and fun. You can literally feel the constant buzz of excitement in a larger group size. More than likely, you will all be put together in the same group and you won’t have to worry about splitting up unless you decide to. Also, you have the great advantage of all chipping in to make the trip happen. In larger groups, everyone can pay their share and make the trip less wallet-breaking.

Deplar Farm

Final Thoughts

There are pros and cons to every ski group size, and really, it all boils down to finding an operation that caters to you and your group. You’re also going to want to find this operation way ahead of time, especially if you’re part of a large group. If you don’t plan in advance with a large group you will most likely miss out on the best weeks of the season. For smaller and more intimate groups, the odds are in your favor when it comes to planning. Though it’s still smart to book in advance, you have more options when you’re in a smaller group. With the right planning and time management, you’re bound to have a blast no matter what size of group you’re in!