Advice for new heli-skiers, from those who’ve done it 

In Heli-Ski, Lodge Life
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Updated February 3, 2024

If you’ve never experienced the thrill of heli-skiing before — whether you’re preparing for your first trip or you’re still trying to decide if it’s a good fit — here’s a collection of sage advice from others who’ve flown in the helicopter before you.

And if you don’t even know what we’re talking about, start here to learn what heli-skiing entails.

Mindset & what to expect 

We polled a mix of guests, staff and guides for this insider’s scoop: 

“Relax. You can do it.” 
~ Rob Rohn, Mountain Guide and CMH President & Chief Operating Officer  

“Get ready for the most amazing experience ever! Best skiing in my lifetime!! Super addictive!” 
~ Emanuel Chevron, CMH Guest (Bobbie Burns) 

“THE experience of a lifetime. Get ready for an out-of-this-world kind of journey.” 
~ Lea, CMH Guest (Monashees) 

“It will be one of the most life-changing experiences. And it is more addictive than any drug known to man.” 
~ Danny Stoffel, CMH Mountain Guide and Area Manager of CMH Valemount 

“Try not to stress about your skiing or what others are thinking. Focus on what you’re doing and do your best to relax. Your skiing will be smoother as a result.” 
~ Kelsey Verboom, CMH Manager of Content & Copy 

“Don’t think about how many runs you have left. Enjoy each one fully in the present!” 
~ Lydia Orsi, Heli-Skier 

“It’s better than your dreamed dream of heli-skiing.” 
~ Katja, CMH Guest 

Pre-trip preparation 

“Start to work out now! Be fit. Be strong. Be dialed in. ENJOY!” 
~ Laura Sheft, CMH Guest (Purcell) 

“Train your legs ahead of time so you can make the most of your ski days.” 
~ Cameron DeAragon, CMH Guest (Purcell) 

“There are a few skiing techniques you can practice beforehand that will help you when you’re heli-skiing, especially if you are new to powder. Get comfortable performing basic techniques like side-stepping uphill and downhill, side-stepping backward and forward, kick-turning, and performing controlled turns using a snowplow or a stem-turn technique. Depending on the day’s conditions when heli-skiing, you may need to navigate trees, short gully features or narrow terrain – being comfortable with a handful of these basic skiing techniques will help you feel confident navigating various terrain features. Consider taking a private lesson at a resort and, if possible, going off-piste to practice. It will pay off!” 
~ Roko Koell, CMH Mountain Guide 

“Prepare physically for the experience. Fitness goes a long way. If you can, get some skiing practice in beforehand. Don’t make this your first ski day of the year.” 
~ Patrick Murphy, CMH Sales Representative 

“Make sure you are fit. Train your legs three months prior so you can enjoy the experience.” 
~ Julian Hofer, CMH Guest (Adamants) 

“Arrive with a good level of fitness. Even if you’re not a super strong skier, if you’re fit, you’ll still do well.” 
~ Alex Hopkins, CMH Sales Enablement Specialist 

Stay fit before your trip so you can enjoy back-to-back days of turns like these.

Gear tips & what to wear  

“If you’re travelling to CMH by airplane, carry on your boots and the clothes you’d wear skiing. If your luggage is lost or delayed (which happens to guests every single week!), you’ll still be able to ski.” 
~ Natasha Weibe, CMH Director of Guest Services 

“Pack a thin pair of gloves to wear at lunchtime. You’ll likely eat out in the field, so it’s nice to have something to keep your hands warm when you take off your bigger ski gloves to eat lunch.” 
~ Andrew Fitzpatrick, CMH Accounting & Analysis Manager 

“It’s common for first-timers to find heli-skiing in powder more physically exerting than skiing at a resort. This means you’ll likely sweat more. So, it’s a good idea to wear a helmet with good ventilation, try a headband underneath instead of a full toque/beanie/hat, bring generously sized goggles (even an extra pair) to help with fogging, and dress in layers so you can take off or add clothing if needed.” 
~ Roko Koell, CMH Mountain Guide 

“Bring two goggle lenses. When one fogs up, you can switch. Same for gloves; pack an extra pair. They get wet and sometimes you lose one. And don’t bring never-worn ski boots. Make sure they’re broken in before your trip.” 
~ Alyshia Hunter, CMH Sales Representative 

“Careful not to overdress, even when it’s -30C. Chairlifts are mostly what make you cold. Also, pack an extra buff (yours will get wet).” 
~ Devin Selwood, Heli-Skier  

“The ski suit you wear when skiing in the East is not the suit you want to wear in the West.” 
~ Julia LoVecchio, CMH Director of Marketing 

“Wear Gore-Tex pants! Don’t wear soft shells.” 
~ Anne Rozek, CMH Manager, Banff Operations 

“Carry extra ski straps (even if you’re a snowboarder) and duct tape. You can do a surprising amount with them in a pinch if you need to fix or reinforce your gear when you’re out skiing.” 
~ Alyshia Hunter, CMH Sales Representative 

Things to keep in mind when you’re skiing 

“Go out and truly enjoy. Pace yourself, especially if you’re on a longer trip. Come in early when you start to tire so you can rest and still be able to ski the next day.” 
 ~ Natasha Weibe, CMH Director of Guest Services 

“Listen to your guide. What they tell you is an instruction, not a suggestion. Help them keep you safe.” 
~ Rylan Decorato, CMH Marketing Coordinator 

“Check with your guide re: the best and safest times to take a picture.” 
~ Will Santangeli, CMH Sales Representative 

“Get in shape, listen to the guides, pick a good ski buddy, wear layers and have fun.” 
~ AJ Axelrod, CMH Guest (Monashees, Gothics, Galena) 

“Be vocal while you’re skiing so your ski buddy knows where you are. Help your fellow skiers out.” 
~ Will Santangeli, CMH Sales Representative 

“Don’t be afraid to speak up if you’re feeling uncomfortable, or to ask questions if you don’t understand something. Tell your guide as soon as possible and talk about it.” 
~ Patrick Murphy, CMH Sales Representative 

“Trust in your guides, for they are the shepherds of the mountains.” 
~ Milli, Heli-Skier 

“Go fast, and if something gets in your way, turn.” 
~ Tamra Malczyk, CMH Director of Finance 

Don’t forget to pack your bathing suit so you can enjoy après ski soaks. Photo by Steve Seeley

Lodge secrets 

“Grab a pack of Honey Stingers energy gummies for your pocket snack before they disappear in the morning (yes, you want a pocket snack).” 
~ Patrick Murphy, CMH Sales Representative 

“Pack a pair of slippers, sandals or comfy shoes to wear around the lodge.” 
~ Andrew Fitzpatrick, CMH Accounting & Analysis Manager 

“More water, less alcohol. Have fun!” 
~ Mike Desmond, Heli-Skier 

“It’s OK if you want to go to bed at 8 pm! Also, the post-ski hot tub is not to be missed, so don’t forget to pack your bathing suit.” 
~ Will Santangeli, CMH Sales Representative 

“Pace yourself when skiing (and around the bar!)” 
~ Rylan Decorato, CMH Marketing Coordinator 

“Calories don’t count on a heli-skiing trip! Eat the chocolate bars.” 
~ Will Santangeli, CMH Sales Representative 

Browse more resources for first-time heli-skiers >

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