CMH Heli~Skiing FAQ’s

What is the terrain like?

At all eleven of our areas, skiing is done on spectacular open snowfields, glaciers and in the trees. On marginal weather days we generally ski just in the trees. We ski in natural, mature forests where the wide spacing between very large trees makes for fun skiing. Over the past four decades we’ve developed many runs with good tree spacing even in dense forests. Our experience in these forests allows us to find great skiing during periods of poor visibility and when the avalanche risk is high on the open slopes. Keep in mind that, exhilarating as it is, tree skiing can also be strenuous. Because we operate out of eleven lodges, we offer a far greater variety of skiing terrain and exposure than all other Heli-Skiing operations combined. Each area encompasses more than 1,000 square kilometers (386 sq. miles) and offers over 125 runs for the exclusive use of 50 skiers (maximum). Runs vary in length from 500 to 2,100 vertical metres and are in the most beautiful mountain country imaginable. And how much terrain do we have?

How are the groups set up?

After you arrive at the lodge, we’ll ask you at what pace you want to ski, and our guides will form groups of compatible ability. To ensure the skiing is as enjoyable as possible for everybody, the guides decide which group you will ski with, and make adjustments throughout the week as necessary. Groups of friends may be able to ski together if you are all evenly matched in ability. However, in forming the groups, we have to balance both the abilities of all skiers and also, for helicopter safety reasons, the weights of the flight groups. So even if you come as part of a group expecting to ski together, for the safety and enjoyment of all our guests, we must reserve the right to form the groups as we see fit, optimizing the compatibility of skiing abilities and balancing the weights of all the groups.

At what altitude do you ski?

Most of our ski terrain is between 1,800 meters (5,900 feet) and 2,800 meters (9,200 feet). In some cases, we can land as high as 3,500 metres (11,500 feet) and ski down to 600 metres (1,960 feet). The altitude at which we actually ski is determined each day by the guides and pilots, depending on weather and flying conditions, snow stability, and snow quality.

What if I’m not good enough?

If you have dramatically overrated your fitness, overall ability, or skill in difficult terrain and snow conditions, we reserve the right to have you return to the lodge after a couple of runs. Our decision depends on the snow conditions and the terrain hazards in the areas we’re skiing. Your safety and the safety of the other skiers is our overriding priority. If you can’t keep up with your group, you may be asked to stay at the lodge or leave the area before your trip ends. If you have reservations about your ability call and speak to us directly. You may also wish to consider joining one of our Powder 101: Intro ski weeks if this will be your first week in the deep powder.

How fit should I be?

Fitness is often more important than ability. The more fit you are, the more fun you’ll have and the less likely you’ll be to injure yourself. If you aren’t already quite active, we strongly recommend that you start an exercise and stretching program at least eight weeks prior to your trip. And while you’re in the mountains with us we suggest you take part in the lodge’s daily stretching/warm-up sessions.

Do you only offer week long trips?

No. We offer more and more variations on our classic 7-day trips, along with shorter trips. We also offer Powder Introduction and Powder Masters programs, and a whole array of specialty trips. We are now offering a daily Revelstoke package as well for discount Heli-Skiing.

When is the best time to come?

Our entire season, starting in December and ending in late April/early May, offers great backcountry skiing and riding opportunities. We begin our operations in December because we know we will have a more than sufficient amount of snow, with opportunities for good powder skiing equivalent to those at other times of the year. Our winter begins earlier and lasts longer than that of our US neighbor’s.

Spring skiing offers a variety of snow conditions ranging from corn snow* on south facing slopes to powder on north facing slopes. At this time of the year, we ski primarily on high open slopes. In springtime, the days are longer and the temperatures are warmer, generally allowing for more skiing than at other times during the season.
*Corn snow is large-grained, rounded crystals formed from repeated melting and freezing, providing a velvety surface texture perfect for riding. To experience Heli-Skiers, corn snow is a precious commodity. Unlike “spring slush,” it is the most effortless of the various conditions we encounter at other times of the year.

Which area should I choose?

Each of our areas offers a similar selection of terrain, runs and snow conditions. If you skied each area under similar weather and snow conditions, you would likely have difficulty distinguishing between them. The price differences among the areas reflect the differing operating costs. Only Bobbie Burns, Galena and Monashees differ and should not be considered by first time Heli-Skiers.

If accessibility and ease of communication with the outside world are important, then you should consider the Gothics, K2 Rotor Lodge, Monashees, Revelstoke, BigHorn, Valemount or Nomads. For a more remote lodging experience, consider Adamants, Bobbie Burns, Bugaboos, Cariboos or Galena. Whichever CMH area you choose, you will find the same dedication by our staff to give you a unique mountain experience.

Are there many non-skiing days?

Because we ski in such a variety of terrain and at such varying altitudes, we can usually find a good skiable area. On average, we can’t ski at all only about half a day each week. But should you encounter a difficult week, you have the assurance of the best refund policy in the Heli-Skiing business.

REFUNDS 1. Signature Trips, Ski Fusion, Powder Intro & Powder Masters: In the event your vertical metres guarantee isn’t reached, we will refund you $140 per 1000 unskied vertical metres (3,280 vertical feet). 2. Small Group Trip, The Steeps: In the event your vertical metres guarantee isn’t reached, we will refund you $155 per 1000 unskied vertical metres (3,280 vertical feet).

How are the groups set up?

After you arrive at the lodge, we’ll ask you at what pace you want to ski, and our guides will form groups of compatible ability. To ensure the skiing is as enjoyable as possible for everybody, the guides decide which group you will ski with, and make adjustments throughout the week as necessary. Groups of friends may be able to ski together if you are all evenly matched in ability. However, in forming the groups, we have to balance both the abilities of all skiers and also, for helicopter safety reasons, the weights of the flight groups. So even if you come as part of a group expecting to ski together, for the safety and enjoyment of all our guests, we must reserve the right to form the groups as we see fit, optimizing the compatibility of skiing abilities and balancing the weights of all the groups.

What gear is available in your ski lodges’ retail shops?

From technical to casual, kids to adults, we have everything for your Heli-Skiing needs. Each lodge’s shop features a complete line of specially-designed CMH clothing, as well as many brand names from around the world. Our retail bywords are quality, function, uniqueness and value. Every item is field tested before we will endorse it. We also carry film, sunglasses, ear protection, custom luggage and souvenirs, as well as a full range of custom boot liners and boot fitting accessories. And while we can’t fill prescriptions (you must bring these with you), we do stock a range of over-the-counter medicines. For more information, email us at retailshop@cmhinc.com or call our Shop Division at 1.800.661.0252.

What is the weather like?

There are just no guarantees when it comes to the weather. While the majority of our weeks at all of our areas will provide you with a great ski experience, there is a possibility that during the week you’ve booked temperatures could drop to a bitter –40 degrees or you could encounter rain. These are risks you have to share with us

What is the average snowfall?

Snowfall varies greatly from year to year, but, in the actual ski areas, seasonal snowfall averages range from 1,200 cm (470 inches) to 2,000 cm (790 inches, or a hefty 65 feet). This generally makes for a settled snow-pack of anywhere from 2.5 meters (8 feet) to 5 meters (16 feet). It’s not always powder skiing* and boarding. We offer remote mountain skiing in untracked snow. The snow is good 70 percent of the time but it can also be very poor.

*Powder Skiing: Our guides are skilled and experienced mountaineers and ski instructors who do their best to find good snow and offer you help/instruction, if needed, in all conditions.

How do gratuities (tips) work?

Gratuities are not included in our prices, nor are they expected. If you feel that the staff service throughout your stay deserves gratuity please feel free to include one at the end of your ski trip. Gratuities are divided among all the staff at the lodge.

Can I connect with the outside world from your lodges?

Yes! All lodges have internet but it may be spotty due to the weather conditions.     Ask when you book your trip for up to date specifics to fit your needs.

What voltage do you use at the lodges?

All lodge outlets are 110-volt (not 220-volt).

Can you cook for special diets?

If you have special dietary requirements, please note this on your Final Payment Invoice Questionnaire, or send us a short letter or email info@cmhinc.com, preferably two weeks prior to your trip, outlining what you’ll need during your stay. Our chefs will make every effort to accommodate your diet.

Do you accept credit cards?

CMH accepts MasterCard, Visa and Amex for all deposits, final payments and for all payments in the lodges. Please note: most CC companies charge for International use of your CC (2~3%) and we can save you money paying Fred Noble Ski & Travel by check and can convert your US funds to Canadian giving you the current exchange rate.

Have you ever had a fatality?

Given the complexity of snow, and the vast wilderness areas rapidly accessible by our helicopters, Heli-Skiing remains an art as well as a science. In spite of all of our efforts over more than 45 years, 181,000 skier-weeks and 9 million runs, we have suffered 36 fatalities, 26 of them in 11 avalanche accidents.

No doubt our guides love what they do. It’s serious business and we hand pick the most passionate and experienced guides on the planet. CMH is the largest single employer of mountain guides worldwide with over 100 fully certified professionals, averaging more than 14 year’s experience each. Our guides are certified members of the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides (ACMG) or The International Federation of Mountain Guides Association (IFMGA).

What do I do if I snore? Are single rates available?

If you don’t want your roommate to resent you and you really feel that you must have a single room, even for medical reasons, then you must book one and pay the single supplement. Additional cost depends on length of vacation time.

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