The heliski season 2010: Take off!
January 2010 heralded the start of the first heli-skiing season in Gudauri. The Eurocopter AS350 B3 (side-number F-GJKY), created by the French company S.A.F., accumulated a lot of air miles as we needed to inspect all of the Gudauri mountain peaks suitable for safe off-piste skiing. Our team consisted of experienced guides from the French skiing school, Courchevel 1850, who carried out numerous inspections of the terrain and snow levels of the surrounding slopes. The reconnaissance group also left specially-made flag staffs along the entire inspection route. Various scenarios for future flights and descents were compiled and all of the essential weather parameters (temperature, moisture levels, visibility, wind force and direction) were monitored in the necessary order. A genuinely enormous feat of work was carried out in order to gather invaluable material, essential to the organisation of safe and comfortable heli-skiing.
By the middle of March we were already able to say with confidence that we had thoroughly studied the regions of Gudauri and Kazbegi and that they were the areas in the Greater and Lesser Caucasus best suited for heli-skiing. Judge for yourself: accessibility, safety, an abundance of powder snow, a large number of different slopes and couloirs, located in the very heart of the Caucasus, what more could any genuine freerider need? Our conclusions were swiftly confirmed by a group of French and Czech extreme sports fans who spent an entire week enjoying the Gudauri slopes with all the perks of their pioneer status. The first season came off gloriously!