Heli-skiing is off-trail, downhill skiing or snowboarding that is accessed by a helicopter. This is instead of using a ski lift. As early as the late 1950s helicopters were used in Alaska and Europe to access remote terrain. The birth of heli-skiing as a commercial sport is attributed to Hans Gmoser in 1965.
Skiers get on the helicopter and are flown to a landing zone on the mountain. Skis, snowboards and ski poles are generally carried in an exterior basket on the helicopter. Snow conditions on the mountains vary considerably over the course of the winter. The snow is subjected to sun, wind, temperature variation, and new snowfalls. Snow conditions change almost every day. Risks include those of backcountry skiing, such as avalanches and tree wells, plus those of helicopter flight. Risks are lessened by using experienced pilots and certified guides. Also avalanche transceivers, avalanche air-bags, and radios make it safer.
- Donahue, Topher (2008). Bugaboo dreams : a story of skiers, helicopters and mountains. Rocky Mountain Books. ISBN 978-1-77160-022-4. Retrieved 14 July 2015.
- "FAQ". Whistler Heli-skiing. Retrieved 23 November 2014.
- Gmoser, Hans (1996). The CMH gallery: a visual celebration of CMH Heli-Skiing and Heli-Hiking. Canmore, Alta.: Altitude Pub. ISBN 978-1-55153-116-8.