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Heli-skiing europe??

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

Hi,

 

I was wondering about heli in europe.  Is it even worth it with the size and terrain of resorts like chamonix, plus how untouched the off-piste skiing supposedly is at euro mega mountains?  It sounds like the snow is pretty untouched on a lot of easily accessible off-pistes, and I'd love to hear people's perspectives on whether heli quality vs lift-access off-poste in europe is the same disparity as it is in the US/Alaska.

 

Thanks.

post #2 of 6

I don't think it's a big thing ... it isn't legal in some countries, and only sort of legal in others. It's based at a resort, usually, where you can pay for single drops as opposed to the Canadian model of a week-long trip. Switzerland and Italy have it, and I think there are a few places in France and Austria, but if I wanted to do a big, traditional trip, I'd go to BC or AK.

post #3 of 6
Off-piste areas in the big resorts in the Alps aren't as untouched as you think. If you go to Chamonix, Verbier, and St. Anton, just to mention a few, you will see people with fat skis, shovels, and probes out taking advantage of the terrain, and each resort has its share of professional mountain guides and tour companies selling week-long off-piste trips. Even in lesser known ski areas like Monterosa (Champluc, Gressoney, and Alagna), you'll see a bunch of Scandinavians with big skis, backpacks, and a crazy look in their eyes.

That said, as long as has snowed fairly recently and you're not there at peak times (Christmas and mid-February), a guide should be able to find you fresh tracks without trekking for ages or taking a helicopter.
post #4 of 6

Just have a look at this off-piste map of Monterosa ski area (Italy, so great food and value for money as well)...

 

http://www.monterosa.com/Portals/0/images/Pistmaps/Monterosa-off-piste-Map-Big.jpg

post #5 of 6

Heli skiing is virtually dead in the Alps due to stringent wildlife protection. As far as I know there are very few left in Austria's Vorarlberg region (Wucher Helicopter) and in the Italian Valgrisenche, try a google search for those.

post #6 of 6

Are you defining Europe as the Alps? Or in the broader context?  If the latter, take a look at Arctic Heli in Iceland. My favorite heli op anywhere (my sampling is admittedly far from complete, but I've heli skied in NZ, AK, coastal BC and Iceland...). Use the search function and you should be able to find an assortment of pics and videos I've posted.

 

BTW - at least in theory, geologically speaking, you could ski Europe and North America on back to back runs in Iceland. Not sure if they have ever tried to do that.

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