Whistler Heli-Skiing will remain open throughout the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, giving skiers and riders the chance to carve fresh tracks on 432,000 acres of powder-loaded terrain, all season long, beginning on December 5, 2009.
Intermediate and expert skiers and riders looking for the ultimate high-alpine winter adventure can head over to the new Whistler Heli-Skiing store in the Carleton Lodge when it opens on November 15, to pre-book their heli-skiing trip. Then, from December 5 onward, join an experienced heli-ski guide to be whisked away via the Whistler Heliport to one of 173 glaciers.
“Imagine having a fresh-powdered ski area that covers over 430,000 football fields with 475 runs to choose from, and you’ve got Whistler Heli-Skiing in a nutshell,” says Mike Sadan, general manager, Whistler Heli-Skiing. “With British Columbia being home to 90 per cent of the world’s heli-skiing terrain, we’ve got the best mountains in the business, and, there are still plenty of runs waiting to be discovered. If you’ve got skills on skis and a sense of adventure, Whistler Heli-Skiing is where you want to be.
Heli-skiing, which has firmly held its roots in British Columbia since the 1960s, has become popular among skiers and snowboarders looking to experience a mountain in its natural environment. Often filled with dream-like powder over wide-open glacial runs, it is as accessible an adventure to expert riders as it is to those riding at an intermediate level.
“There’s been a myth that heli-skiing is an experts-only experience where you leap 20 feet out of a helicopter onto the most challenging, wind crusted terrain, but this simply isn’t true,” adds Sadan. “While experts can certainly tackle the more challenging slopes, the reality is, heli-skiing is an exhilarating trip through natural terrain that intermediate level skiers and riders, not just the pros, can enjoy.”
Guests who participate in a Whistler Heli-Skiing session during the Olympic or Paralympic Games will undergo a brief security screening, much like you would at an airport, before taking flight. Those travelling to the area can be rest-assured that Highway 99 will be open for travel; meanwhile, nearby Whistler Blackcomb’s terrain will remain 90 per cent open to the public as well.
“This is going to be a phenomenal season for Heli-Skiing and it appears that skiers and riders agree with us: we’re already seeing a number of bookings during the Olympic months and we expect that number to continue to grow,” says Sadan.
If you’ve never skied or snowboarded through vast waves of powder or are simply looking for a brush up on your technique, Whistler Heli-Skiing is offering a new, two-day program this year called Introduction to Heli-Skiing. Day one will have you on the slopes with a Whistler Blackcomb ski or snowboard pro who will walk you through the ins-and-outs of heli-skiing, powder shredding and much more. Day two on the other hand, is all about carving the mountain alongside a professionally trained Whistler Heli-skiing guide and a group of skiers or riders of the same ability. Guests then cap the day off with drinks, some shared stories and a big screen television showcasing their trip down the mountain in what will no doubt be an après to remember.