Bad weather and down-days in Heli skiing
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
No matter how less knowledge you have about helicopters you would probably imagine that they need some very good weather conditions to fly across the mountains without to encounter any risks. But what happens when you have a really bad weather day and you still want to heli ski?
Let’s talk a little about the helicopters used in heli skiing. There‘s now quite a range of helicopters used to practice this sport. In Canada the industry used widely for a very long time the Bell 212. They were able to take up to 11 people plus the guide and the pilot, so, totally 13 people. The Bell 407 and European A-Star B2 and B3 are also popular and offer a very different kind of experience because they take smaller groups of 4 or 5 skiers. But the Russian MI8 MTV is the one who is most preferred in the heli skiing activity. You probably already know what those helicopters are since they are the most used in the world. The well-maintained and well flown make from them some of the safest machines that can be in this industry.
For a heli ski day, the pilot first needs to know for sure that he can land on the spot where you will go to make the run. For this he needs to be able to see where the ground is in order to land safely, and the critical factor here is the elevation of the cloud. Low-lying fog tends to ground helicopters pretty quickly. It thus makes sense, if your priority is to heli ski as far as possible to select a location that has enough consistent good weather to be sure you can fly on a regular basis.
So now here is the answer for our previous question: what happens if the weather is not good enough so that the pilot can’t see where he needs to land? Well, in that case you will not be able to go on the mountain so you will have to find other activities. If you still want to stay in your vacation, than almost all the operators will give the money for heli skiing activity back and will keep only those retained for other activities. As a general rule this becomes less generous the worse the ‘normal‘weather is in a given region.