Heli-Skiing is different from other kinds of skiing / riding and therefore has specific requirements for equipment. Following is a list of ski gear and safety gear we provide at no extra charge, as well as recommendations for the equipment you need to bring.
Special wide skis for powder snow Dynastar CHAM 107
Built in Chamonix to excel in the world's most challenging conditions, Cham's unique blend of long rocker tip, reverse sidecut at the tip and tail, classic camber underfoot and flat pintail provides adaptable all-mountain performance from powder to crud to hardpack. Combining classic Dynastar power with startling versatility and ease-of-use, the Cham Series meets the modern demands of bigmountain skiing, and redefines "freeride".
This model of skis was on the podium of Freeride World Tour with pro-rider Dynastar Aurélien Ducroz (2011 Freeride World Champion) and Reine Barkered (2012 Freeride World Champion).
Mammut Rocker Protection Airbag 15l
The Mammut Rocker 15L Protection Airbag Backpack offers improved avalanche safety. The Protection Airbag reduces pack weight, takes up less volume, and provides trauma protection for your head when deployed to give you better performance with an easier carry. The Rocker pack is just big enough for your freeride essentials to keep you light on the way up and tight on the way down.
The Protection series still offers full inflation of the airbag over the chest and around the head and neck area, which is a great benefit over other airbag systems on the market and one of the reasons here at Snowshepherd we love these Snowpulse packs.
Mammut Pulse Avalanche Transceiver
The Mammut Pulse Barryvox is a small, three-antenna, avalanche transceiver with a long range. It offers both analog and digital modes, provides feature-rich handling of multiple burials, handles spikes well, has a floating direction arrow that indicates minor changes in direction as well as points behind you, and has excellent audible indication.
Avalanche Shovel Mammut Alugator Light
Lightweight shovel made from hardened and anodized aluminum. The triangular-shaped shaft absorbs torsional forces ideally and offers good grip.
Mammut Avalanche Probe Light
Light weighs a mere 3.4 oz and still gives you a full 240 cm-reach into a deep snowpack. Mammut’s single-pull locking system works great even with gloves.
Ski pole use has a major influence on your skiing. Proper pole planting helps you develop rhythm to your skiing and gets your weight in the right place. Beside the length, the pole swing weight as well as the type of grip and the type of baskets, are also very important. At Heliksir, we provide you with adjustable ski poles specially adapted for deep snow skiing.
Ski boots are the single most important component of your ski equipment. They are the key link between your body and your skis, so a proper fit is essential for control and precise steering. Your ski boots should be well matched to the size and shape of your feet, comfortable without compromising performance. The type of skier you are, the terrain and type of snow you ski play a role in choosing your ski boot flex as well. This refers to how difficult it is to flex the boot forward. For example, racers would use a stiff flexing boot, as ski tip pressure is important in racing technique and on a hard and smooth surface like a course race. Freeride skiers would use a slightly softer boot as variable snow and terrain often demand more movement at the cuff level (upper part of the ski boot). Powder skiers and heli-skiers generally prefer a moderately soft-flexing boot which allows enough forward flex and help keep the weight nicely centered in the middle of the skis.
As everyone has unique requirements, Heliksir does not supply boots; please, bring your well-fitted ski boots (or snowboard boots) when you come heli-skiing with us. We recommend having this important footwear in your carry-on baggage when traveling by air; this will ensure your boots don’t get misplaced and lost during your travel.
Skiers and snowboarders can enjoy the added safety and warmth that a helmet provides. Besides preventing head injuries, helmets can be warm and comfortable to wear while skiing and snowboarding. Ski / snowboard helmets are designed for cold weather activities and have specific features such as ear coverage, moisture-wicking liners and temperature-sensitive materials. Helmet sizing and fit are very important. A properly fitting helmet needs to be snug all the way around your head so that it doesn’t move around; at the same time, there should be no pressure or pain points. Your goggles should fit comfortably over the helmet, with no gap between the top of your goggles and the helmet. Most importantly for heli-skiing, your helmet should not hinder your hearing as it is essential for safety that you can hear your guide’s instructions. Removing your helmet’s ear flaps might be necessary. For keeping your ears warm, you can wear a thin balaclava underneath the helmet.
If you choose to wear a helmet while heli-skiing with us, please bring your own; Heliksir does not supply helmets.
Sunglasses & Goggles
For heli-skiing / heli-boarding and other mountain sports, performance sunglasses and goggles are an essential eyewear. They are made to withstand the intensity of the sun and glare, while also providing optimum protection against wind and snow. The difficulty in choosing the right sunglasses and/or goggles is to find a lens design that helps you adapt to the environment and enjoy the best vision possible. In the mountains, one can encounter all kind of weather conditions, from sunlight glaring off the sparkling snow, to white-out conditions or heavy snowstorm and high winds; one single lens cannot provide optimal performance for every type of light and environment.
Sunglasses and goggles with interchangeable lenses are very practical, as long as the lens changing system is fast and easy. They allow you to adapt to different light conditions and match your vision to the environment. For heli-skiing / heli-boarding, we recommend being equipped with at least 2 sets of lenses, a darker lens for bright light and a rose or yellow lens for low light / flat light conditions. If you don’t have goggles with an interchangeable lens, a good combination to carry also is a pair of sunglasses with high UV protection for bright sunlight and goggles with a lens tint that optimize your vision in cloudy / flight-light conditions. The extra set will make your day more enjoyable when the weather changes; also it is nice to have a replacement when your eyewear ends up full of snow after a fall in the deep snow.
Clothes you wear in a ski resort may not be optimal for heli-skiing. While insulated jackets and pants are great at the ski area, they don’t allow enough versatility for heli-skiing. The helicopter is your ski lift and it is heated. There is no need to overdress in order to withstand cold chairlift rides. However, you want to dress so you are comfortable when skiing / boarding and stay warm during the occasional waiting around. The most effective way to achieve that is to wear layers of clothing which allow you to adjust your temperature and keep dry.
Layering basics consists of three layers which enable optimal comfort and versatility:
“The first layer - thermal underwear and an internal clothing foundation - fits tightly to the skin and removes sweat, directing it to an external layer. This base layer is usually made from hypo-allergenic synthetic textiles, which let in air, dry fast and do allow bacteria to generate. The second layer (or mid-layer) should work as thermal insulation. The primary function of this layer is to keep you warm; fleece jackets or pullovers are popular insulating layers. Thanks to its quality and the way in which the fibers are weaved, this synthetic material is elastic, firm, soft, keeps perfectly warm and soaks up little to no moisture, allowing it to evaporate through to the third layer. If the temperature drops and you need additional insulation, add a light down vest or jacket to your second layer. The third layer, or outerwear, is the waterproof or water-resistant outer shell which represents your first line of defense against the elements. Outer shells –or hard shells- are usually built with lightweight 2 or 3-layer GORE-TEX fabric (or similar fabric) which ensures breathability, waterproof and windproof protection. Some features you might want to have on your outer shell / ski jacket are zippered pockets, pit vents and powder skirt. As for your pants, GORE-TEX bibs provide the best protection for skiing /riding in deep snow. Also, freeride designs offer articulated knees for full mobility, thigh vents for climate control and internal gaiters to keep the snow from entering your boots.