The History of Heli-Skiing: From Early Explorers to Professional Tours

1 min read – Helicopter skiing, or heli-skiing, is a popular extreme sport that involves using a helicopter to access remote and unmarked ski terrain. But where did this thrilling activity come from? In this article, we’ll explore the history of heli-skiing, from early explorers to professional tours.

The Evolution of Heli-Skiing: From Early Explorers to Professional Tours

The Evolution of Heli-Skiing: From Early Explorers to Professional Tours

The Early Explorers

Heli-skiing is a relatively new activity that has only been around for the last 50 years. However, its roots can be traced back to the early explorers who used helicopters to access remote mountain areas. In the 1950s, Austrian mountaineer and guide, Sepp Benedicter, used a helicopter to access the remote peaks of the Tyrol Mountains. This was the beginning of using helicopters for mountain exploration.

Birth of Heli-Skiing

The first recorded instance of using helicopters for skiing was in 1965 in Canada. Austrian skier Hans Gmoser, who had previously used helicopters for mountain exploration, saw the potential for using helicopters to access remote ski terrain. He founded the world’s first heli-skiing operation in the Bugaboos, a mountain range in British Columbia. This marked the birth of heli-skiing as we know it today.

The Spread of Heli-Skiing

After the success of Gmoser’s operation, heli-skiing started to spread to other parts of the world. In the 1970s, heli-skiing operations were established in Alaska, Switzerland, and New Zealand. By the 1980s, heli-skiing had become a popular activity for adventure seekers and skiers looking for untracked powder.

The Rise of Professional Heli-Skiing Tours

As heli-skiing became more popular, professional heli-skiing tours started to emerge in the 1990s. These tours offered packages that included accommodation, transportation, and guided skiing. They also provided access to multiple heli-skiing locations, allowing skiers to experience a variety of terrain and conditions.

The Future of Heli-Skiing

Today, heli-skiing has become a multi-million dollar industry, with operations in Canada, the United States, Europe, and even Japan. While the sport has evolved over the years, the basic premise remains the same – using helicopters to access remote mountain terrain and skiing in untracked powder. With advances in technology, helicopters have become more efficient and environmentally friendly, allowing for more sustainable heli-skiing operations. As long as there are mountains to ski and adventurous skiers looking for a unique experience, heli-skiing will continue to thrive.