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The birth date of helicopter skiing

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 

For the last three years I have done in-depth research on the early days of helicopter skiing. I have always wondered who was the first. Who started all the fun. I'm currently waiting to see if one magazine will publish my article.

January 30th is the 67th anniversary of the invention of helicopter skiing. On this date in 1948 Lewis Williams was the visionary of Aero Surveys LTD, of Vancouver BC, that launched a helicopter into the mountains with skiers aboard. Paul Ostrander was the pilot at the controls.

We owe a lot to these guys for inventing helicopter skiing.

post #2 of 19

Thumbs Up

post #3 of 19

Neat... please let us know if you get it published!

post #4 of 19

How did the old school mountaineers feel about people getting dropped off at the top of mountains to poach lines that one used to have to climb with gear to get? 

post #5 of 19

The latest S Magazine has an article about it being CMH's 50th year in business. I wonder who has had the longest "commercial" heli-ski operation

post #6 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by ZeroGravity View Post
 

The latest S Magazine has an article about it being CMH's 50th year in business. I wonder who has had the longest "commercial" heli-ski operation

 

I think you just named the company, at least for North America.

post #7 of 19
Thread Starter 
Crgildart = A lot of those "old climbers," went on to become heli guides like Hans Gmoser and Mike Wiegele.
 
ZeroGravity = True CMH has been around for 50 years. But, Hans Gmoser actually started heliskiing in 1963 = 52 years ago. The article in SKI Magazine says twice that Gmoser is the "inventor of heliskiing." What my research has found is there were a lot of people way ahead of Gmoser heliskiing in the 50's. 
 
 Lewis Williams really deserves the title of "inventor of heliskiing," since he was the first to take skiers into the mountains via helicopter in 1948. But, I think CMH has its reasons to perpetuate the myth that Gmoser was the "inventor."
post #8 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hacksaw View Post
 
ZeroGravity = True CMH has been around for 50 years. But, Hans Gmoser actually started heliskiing in 1963 = 52 years ago. The article in SKI Magazine says twice that Gmoser is the "inventor of heliskiing." What my research has found is there were a lot of people way ahead of Gmoser heliskiing in the 50's. 
 

 

 

That's why I emphasized "commercial" operation.

post #9 of 19
Thread Starter 

ZeroGravity = I think we're talking Apples and Oranges.

 

But, if you want to talk "commercial" opperations, Binx Sandahl ran a small opperation out of what became Alyeska Ski Area in Alaska in 1957. And Heliswiss did heliskiing during the winters in the late 50's, because their helicopters where sitting idle in the winter time. Athina Onassis was one of their bigger name customers at Val d'Isere.

post #10 of 19
Thread Starter 

Check out my new website about the early history of helicopter skiing at;

 

 

www.heliskihistory.com

post #11 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hacksaw View Post
 

Check out my new website about the early history of helicopter skiing at;

 

 

www.heliskihistory.com

 

I went to your website and enjoyed the read.

 

You made reference to Dave Hamre at one point with regard to some photos from Alyeska. I was wondering if he is the same Dave Hamre that patrolled at Tod Mtn. (now called Sun Peaks B.C.) in the mid '70s? If so do you know where he is now and if he is still patrolling?

post #12 of 19
Thread Starter 

No, Dave works for the Alaska Railroad. He is head of their avalanche control program.

post #13 of 19
Thread Starter 

Bump this back up...

post #14 of 19
Thread Starter 

Check out:

 

 

 

www.heliskihistory.com

post #15 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hacksaw View Post
 

Check out:

 

 

 

www.heliskihistory.com

Fun reading!  Didn't realize that heli skiing had such a long history or that it exists in so many countries outside North America.

post #16 of 19

 

Helicopter skiing at Mt Alyeska, Alaska prior to the mountain being developed as a ski resort. The video was filmed with a 16mm color movie camera recorded by W. J. "Wally" Wellenstein during an Anchorage Ski Club group outing in the 1950's. The original film was digitized in November 2014.

post #17 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by jc-ski View Post
 

[snip vid]

 

Helicopter skiing at Mt Alyeska, Alaska prior to the mountain being developed as a ski resort. The video was filmed with a 16mm color movie camera recorded by W. J. "Wally" Wellenstein during an Anchorage Ski Club group outing in the 1950's. The original film was digitized in November 2014.

I assume that was spring skiing since no one was wearing heavy jackets.  I was intrigued so see how many women were in the club.  Riding in an open heli . . . that's quite the adventure before any of the skiing!

post #18 of 19
Thread Starter 

Check out the recent aditions to my website at www.heliskihistory.com

post #19 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hacksaw View Post
 

Check out the recent aditions to my website at www.heliskihistory.com


How about a tidbit or photo to get folks curious enough to check out the website? :) 

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