The 'ultimate' bucket list for snow addicts...No.2
If there was ever a common dream in the world of snowsports then it must certainly be to heliski Alaska. Everyone loves fresh powder turns and the notion of hopping out of a helicopter to ski an entire mountain free from punters and bereft of tracks is as close to a Lou Reed lyric as is possible to find in skiing.
Alaska has been the forefront of extreme skiing for many years and is the number one stop for any adrenaline-junkie's pursuit of greater adventure. Indeed, no ski or snowboard video is complete without a segment of incredible drops and highspeed riding down the steep and pearly white slopes of an Alaskan ridge. It's certainly an image we all find incredible, even if few can imagine ever following in those tracks.
'Obtainable ambition' is a phrase often bandied about from X-Factor competitors to politicians; many love to dream, but dreams that are actually achievable are often not . Nevertheless, heliskiing is not completely seperated from the arrangements of the rest of the hill: just as hiking backcountry does not assure double and triple black diamond runs, a heliskiing trip can be made to sample untracked hillside but without the 60? gradient. Heliguides are available to take you from the peak to the valley below and avoiding all the potential pitfalls and near-vertical descents. And after all, are you friends really going to ask you what gradient your iPhone's Ski Tracks app recorded on your trip? Unlikely. They'll be too busy being jealous of your once-in-a-lifetime experience..
We all love the idea of being the next Tanner Hall or Shane McConkey, but in reality we're not quite there... Sadly the internet doesn't offer much in the way of videos showing leisurely heliskiing trips- it doesn't sell many DVDs! So I'm afraid you'll just have to satisy your interest with our friends over at Warren Miller...