If skiing with hordes of holidaymakers isn't your idea of fun, get airlifted via helicopter to fresh powdery wilderness. From snow-capped mountains in the Andes to epic descents in Alaska, here are some of the top spots to heli-ski.
Heli-skiing offers a luxurious way to skip the resort crowds and experience the thrills of backcountry peaks. Photo: AFP/Lizard/shutterstock.com
Revelstoke, British Columbia
Bighorn at Revelstroke is the pinnacle of ski luxury, with a four-story chalet with its own helipad out back. Featuring eight rooms, each with iPads and gas fireplaces, the chalet also comes equipped with a pool table and 4.5-meter-long walnut table for après-ski refueling. The Revelstoke Mountain Resort has the most vertical feet of any mountain in North America, so be prepared for powder and hair-raising descents. A week at the chalet will cost you up to $65,000, heli-skiing included.
While you won't find a central lodge with a hot toddy and roaring fire awaiting your run, you'll enjoy some frightening steep descents of about 1,000 to 1,500 meters per drop on average. Ideal for heli-skiing of all levels, and while not cheap, you can find some good deals. Packages start at $3,200.
The Andes, Chile
Summertime in the northern hemisphere draws heli-sking buffs southward to Chile for winter splendor and jaw-dropping landscapes. Expect towering faces, ridges, and bowls on mountains some 6,700 meters high. Three-day packages at Powder South start at €5,665. Deluxe packages start at €290,000.
The Alps, Europe
While Europe won't give you the glory of the Canadian wildernesss, you always have conventional skiing and good wine to fall back on in case the weather doesn't pan out. Heli-skiing is banned in France, but Pook Lodge in the Tarentaise Valley found a way around this problem. The uber-luxury resort offers off-piste skiing, and will fly guests to Italy to one of 30 landing spots in three different ski areas, such as 3,054m Mont Miravidi. At Chalet Yellowstone, you can take a flight to Italian peaks, and ski back down into France. Or consider Tivoli Lodge in Davos, Switzerland, and ski the Davos Klosters Mountains.
This vast land -- almost the size of Portugal -- is considered the last wilderness in Europe. While the mountains aren't as high as the Alps, the runs are long, and in May, the long days give you the option of 24-hour-ski days, if you've got the legs for it. With Abisko, you can tap into the peaks of Tjåmahus, Kåtotjåkka, Nallo/Sielmatjåkka, and Kebnekaise mountains with runs up to 1,400 vertical meters. Four-night packages start at 18,789 SEK (about €2200).