If hurtling down a snow-covered mountain at breathtaking speed isn’t enough for you to get your adrenalin fix, it might be time consider heli-skiing.
Instead of a sedate ride to the top of a run in a ski lift, heli-skiers jump from a helicopter. We’ve got the best destinations for you to join them, according to death-defying travellers. *
Gudauri in Mtkheta-Mtianeti, Georgia
Head to Gudauri for deep powder runs
Soaring above the Caucasus Mountains is memorable enough on its own but combine it with leaping out of a helicopter and this will quickly become the trip of a lifetime. The deep powder runs surrounding the Georgian ski resort of Gudauri give skiers access to the mountains’ south-facing ridges and, accompanied by experienced guides, you’ll soon be clamouring to get back up in the air and do it all over again.
Best time of year to visit: January and February.
Defrost your toes at: Monte Hotel.
Fox Glacier in West Coast, New Zealand
Come for the heli-skiing, heli-snowboarding and even heli-biking
Already famous for its stunning glacier tours, Fox Glacier on New Zealand’s West Coast offers heli-skiing, heli-snowboarding and even heli-biking. As most of the Southern Alps (where the Fox Glacier is located) are inaccessible via land, helicopter tours of the region are always in demand and heli-skiing is often the only way to complete the entire glacier run.
Best time of year to visit: whenever you want.
Defrost your toes at: Misty Peaks.
Revelstoke in British Columbia, Canada
A year-round destination for all kinds of skiers
The city of Revelstoke is home to some of the world's most talented winter sport athletes and the area’s heavy snowfall makes it a year-round destination for all kinds of skiers. With such a high demand (and views stunning enough to crack your camera lens) the options for heli-skiing are extensive, ranging from beginner camps to private lessons for advanced heli-skiers.
Best time of year to visit: early-December to mid-April.
Defrost your toes at: Guesthouse Mountain Escape.
Breuil-Cervinia in Valle d'Aosta, Italy
The iconic Matterhorn, next to the ski resort of Breuil-Cervinia
The option to soar high above the Alpines and then leap towards them (along with an experienced guide) is more than a little tempting. And for travellers who prefer to keep their feet on the ground the snow-capped mountains surrounding the Italian ski resort of Breuil-Cervinia include the iconic Matterhorn and they have more than enough ski runs to keep even the most committed adrenalin junkie entertained.
Best time of year to visit: early-March to early-May.
Defrost your toes at: Hotel Meuble’ Joli.
Whistler in British Columbia, Canada
Skiers of all types are spoilt for choice in Whistler
The options on offer for heli-skiers in Whistler are as extensive as they are inspiring; with hundreds of runs, glaciers, and guided tours ranging from formal introductory courses to just-jump-and-go operations. Whistler is also home to catskiing, a form of powder skiing that involves using snowcat vehicles (revamped snow ploughs) to transport skiers between runs.
Best time of year to visit: mid-November to late-December.
Defrost your toes at: Pinnacle Hotel Whistler.
Golden in British Columbia, Canada
Go back country skiing in Golden
Considering that one of the local companies operates under the tagline ‘If our groups were any smaller, you’d be flying the helicopter’, you’ve probably already guessed that the town of Golden in British Columbia is the place to go if you like your heli-skiing personalised. Many of the local resorts offer their own heli-skiing, including private lessons and the obligatory maple-syrup infused hot chocolate.
Best time of year to visit: mid-December to mid-March.
Defrost your toes at: Canyon Ridge Lodge.
** The data scientists at Booking.com looked at the top destinations endorsed for ‘heli-skiing’ by travellers.