Heli Skiing Ratings

Heli skiing ratings are provided by the Powderhounds for some of the heliski operators in Canada, USA and New Zealand.

Heli skiing is an amazing experience, but no single heli ski operation is completely perfect for everyone. Our ratings covers different aspects of the heli skiing experience so you can determine which outfit is most likely to align with your priorities. As a guide to the ratings, a 5/5 equates to absolutely phenomenal, 4/5 is excellent, whilst 3/5 is still a very good score. 


5 = outstanding
 Powder Overall Terrain Alpine
Terrain
Tree Skiing Inter Advanced Expert/ Extreme Guiding Helicopter Avalanche Strategies Safety Briefing Frills  Accom  Value  Overall
Coast Range Heliskiing 3 3.5 4.5 2.5 3 4.5 2 3 4.5 3 3.5 4.5 * 3 4
Eagle Pass Heliskiing 4 4 4 4.5 2 4 5 3 5 5 4.5 4 * 3 4.5
Last Frontier Heliskiing - coming soon                              
Northern Escape Heliskiing 4.5 4.5 * 5 4  3 5 5
RK Heliski 3 4 4.5 2.5 4.5 3.5 * 3 3 3 4 4 * 4.5 4
Selkirk Tangiers 4.5 4 4 4 4 4 3 3 3 4.5 4.5 3.5 4 5 4.5
Whistler Heli-Skiing 3 4 4 3 4 4 * 3 3 3 4 4 * 2.5 4
USA Heli Skiing
5 = outstanding
 Powder Overall Terrain Alpine Terrain Tree Skiing Inter  Advanced Expert/ Extreme Guiding Helicopter Avalanche Strategies Safety Briefing Frills Accom Value Overall
Powderbird  5 3 4.5 3 2 5 4 4.5 5 3 2.5 4.5 * 2 4
Helitrax 3.5 4 4 1 4.5 3.5 * 5 4 4.5 4.5 5 * 4 4.5
Silverton Heli Skiing 3.5 2.5 3 2 1 3 * 2.5 5 3.5 1.5 1 * 3 3
New Zealand Heli Skiing
 5 = outstanding
Powder Overall Terrain Alpine Terrain Tree  Skiing   Inter     Advanced Expert/ Extreme Guiding Helicopter Avalanche Strategies  Safety Briefing  Frills  Accom  Value  Overall
Alpine Heliski 2.75 3.5 4 0 4 4 3 3 4.5 3 3 3.5 * 5 4
Harris Mountains Heliski 3 4.5 4.5 0 4.5 5 4.5 4 4.5 3 3 3.5 * 5 4.25
Helipark 2 2.5 3.5 0 4 4 4 2 3.5 2.5 2.5 2.5 * 5 3.5
Methven Heliski 3.5 4 4.5 0 2.5 5 4.5 4 4.5 3 3 3 * 5 4
Southern Lakes Heliski 3 3 4 0 3 4 3 4 4 3.5 3 3.5 * 5 4
Mt Cook Heliski (Wilderness Heliski) 3.5 4 4 0 3.5 4 3 4.5 4 3.5 3 3.5 * 5 4
 

5 = outstanding
 Powder Overall Terrain Alpine
Terrain
Tree Skiing Inter Advanced Expert/ Extreme Guiding Helicopter Avalanche Strategies Safety Briefing Frills  Accom  Value  Overall
Hokkaido Backcountry Club Heli Ski 5 3 3 4 3 5 4 5 3 5 5 3.5 * 3.5 4.5
 

Factors Considered in Ratings

Powder Snow
  • annual snowfall
  • frequency of snowfall
  • quality of snow e.g. moisture content, crustiness
  • range of terrain and various aspects to find quality snow if it hasn't snowed for a while
  • likelihood of finding freshies e.g. size of terrain relative to the number of guests
Overall Terrain
  • amount of quality skiing possible in a day
  • size of terrain
  • variety of terrain
  • variety of different aspects to ski
  • ability to cater to a range of ability levels within the one day 
Alpine Terrain
  • amount, quality and variety of alpine terrain available
  • likelihood of snowpack allowing riding in the alpine, particularly on steep slopes 
Tree Skiing
  • amount, quality and variety of gladed terrain available
  • adequately spaced trees to allow the linking of turns but tight enough to make it challenging and protect snow quality 
Strong Intermediate Terrain
  • amount, quality and variety of terrain available for strong intermediates 
Advanced Terrain
  • amount, quality and variety of terrain available for advanced skiers and riders 
Expert and Extreme Terrain
  • amount, quality and variety of terrain available for strong expert skiers and riders
  • amount, quality and variety of steep chutes, cliffs and drop-offs
  • snowpack stability and likelihood of being able to ride this terrain 
Guiding
  • clear instructions regarding safety issues in the field including tree buddies (where required)
  • appropriate re-grouping ~ providing direction regarding guests taking it in turns for first tracks (if required)
  • qualifications and experience of guides
  • fun personality to add to the enjoyment
  • tail guide backup and instructions
  • low guest to guide ratio 
Cat / Heli
  • guest comfort which includes the ease and safety of getting in and out
  • speed, power and agility
Frills
  • quality of lunch, snacks and drinks provided throughout the day (does not include morning or evening meals if associated with accommodation)
  • apres ski session
  • information regarding what to expect and the itinerary for the day
  • photography or video service which is shown at the end of the day 
  • range and quality of skis and boards provided 
Value for Money  
  • inclusions such as powder skis, vertical covered, frills
Accommodation
  • quality of accommodation
  • lodging facilities
  • quality of morning and evening meals 
Overall Rating
  • All rated factors included 
NB The reviews are largely based on our experience, but also on discussions with staff, other guests (especially repeat customers), and information available on their website. Our reviews have some limitations as it’s not possible to ski every run available or in all snow and weather conditions, and every guide is somewhat different. We acknowledge that everyone’s experience will be slightly different and the ratings are from our perspective only. Most importantly, every heli ski operation provides a fantastic experience, and it sure beats a day of resort skiing or boarding hands-down!