VHS BLOG

Glossary

Here are some commonly used words / phrases that you may not’ve come across:

  • Heli pick-up – When a helicopter collects you, be it from a remote, backcountry location or a helipad
  • Heli drop-zone – An area where the helicopter lands to allow you to start a descent. This is usually on a summit on a wide, flat area of snow
  • Heli take-off zone – We have three take-off zones just inside the Italian border. These are private helipads where the heliskiing days begin from, if you’re not utilising a heli-transfer from your home resort
  • Heli transfer – Transport, in a helicopter, from one destination to another. We offer helicopter-transfers from your home resort to the heli drop-zone to save valuable time and energy
  • Backcountry – Area of a ski resort that is un-pisted and un-marked. There’s a variety of terrain and snow conditions in these areas
  • Reverse Heliskiing – Using a resort’s ski lifts, and hiking, to ski / snowboard to terrain otherwise inaccessible without a helicopter. From that point a helicopter will pick you up and take you back to resort. Reverse Heliskiing is totally legal in France so accessible from your doorstep
  • Backcountry Experiences – Packages we offer, without a helicopter element, that allow you to explore the backcountry of multiple resorts in the Tarentiase area, lead by a guide or instructor
  • VHS Ski Test Centre – We’ve teamed up with Salomon and Liberty skis to bring you our Val Heliski powder ski test centre. The perfect way to experience powder skis, if you do not have your own. Available on all our packages
  • ABS pack – A backpack with inflatable airbags inside, activated by a pull-cord, buy propecia cheap online used to keep you at the surface of an avalanche
  • Transceiver – A device that transmits and detects a certain radio frequency, used for finding people buried under snow
  • UIAGM Mountain Guide – International Federation Of Mountain Guide Assisstants, known as it’s French (UIAGM) and english (IFMGA) abbreviations. We use highly-experienced, local Italian UIAGM guides for our heliskiing packages
  • The Tarentaise – A valley in the heart of the French Alps that encompasses all of the resorts we operate in including; Espace Killy, Paradiski, Three Valleys, Ste Foy, La Rosiere and more
  • Couloirs – French word meaning “passage” it is a steep, narrow gully that’s exhilarating to ski or snowboard down
  • Deep powder – the classic, cold, winter “champagne” snow (it shimmers in the cold air like champagne bubbles) that skiers and snowboarders love the most
  • Velvet spring snow – when conditions get warmer, untouched, smooth snow turns into lovely, spring snow. It’s slightly denser than powder, but just as fun to ski or snowboard through
  • Crust – this kind of snow forms on top of the powder, or spring snow. It can be amazingly good fun
  • Traverses – we often have to get from one side of the slope to the other, so we’d expect that all our snowboard and ski guests can safely traverse a slope without losing too much height
  • Steeps – very occasionally we might encounter a steeper slope than you’re perhaps used to skiing. We’ll help you down
  • Flats – some routes have flatter spots. But as you’re poling or one-footing across, take in the views – you’re alone with your group in a spectacularly wild part of the world. Enjoy it.

 


Is Heliskiing For You?

Want to decide if heliskiing is for you? Do you like the following…

  • Guaranteed fresh tracks?
  • Getting away from crowded pistes and skiing or snowboarding on pristine, virgin powder?
  • Not standing in long lift queues?
  • Cruising along in the stunning, untouched Alps where there’s a high chance of spotting Marmots, Ibexes, the Royal Eagle, Black Grouse, the Great Horned Owl, the Tridactyl Woodpecker, the Blue Thistle, Linnaea Borealis or Snow Foxes, Snow Hares, the Piedmont Primrose, and even Chamois?
  • Having the chance to photograph the backcountry scenery: mountains as they’ve looked for millions of years?
  • Riding in a helicopter over untouched valleys, cliffs, forests and mountain tops much like the opening credits of the BBC’s Planet Earth?
  • Experiencing the best snow of your buy generic propecia india life with some of the most fun guides operating in the mountains?
  • Having a picnic consisting of locally-sourced cheeses, breads, meats and wines, in the middle of valleys that turn into cow pastures in the summer?
  • Sharing the day with like-minded skiers and snowboarders all intent on getting fresh tracks and having fun?
  • Finishing the day with a mini celebration, and getting ready to carry on in one of the nearby world-class ski resorts?

If you’ve answered ‘yes’ to most of the above, you’re ready to come heliskiing with us at Val Heliski. If you answered ‘no’, then you should come anyway and we’ll try and change your mind! The cheese selection is out-of-this-world.


Reasons To Heliski With Us

  • We have 32 drop zones spread over three independent heliski areas, all within easy access from France – giving us huge choice of terrain, snow conditions and mountain orientation.
  • Only use local Italian UIAGM Mountain Guides (they have all grown up in the area so are experts in the local surroundings) for heliskiing.
  • Only the most sophisticated safety equipment is used (ABS airbags, Ortovox transceivers, and Haglofs backpacks).
  • We dedicate 30 minutes to avalanche training, including transceiver use.
  • Our helicopters are chosen for their fantastic manoeuvrability and safety record in the mountains (AS 359 B3 Squirrel, AS355 N Eurocopter, AW 119 Koala).
  • Our heli preparation course includes extra training in using the safety equipment.
  • We have a corporate background and a lot of experience in the area, resulting in a streamline experience/product/service.
  • We encourage heli transfers at the end of your final descent back into France to avoid the overcrowded run back to France.
  • We provide an all inclusive door to door service so there is no need to organise lift passes, taxis, lunches, etc. The only thing you need to think about is the heliskiing.
  • You don’t pay for any heliskiing you don’t get to do due to adverse weather conditions.
  • All clients are provided with Go Pro video cameras and given chance to invite friends and family to our après ski bar to see the footage of your day on the big screen.
  • We are in the process of building our own Val Heliski Lodges to get France’s only Canadian-style heli lodge experience.

What Off-Piste Skiing and Snowboarding Entails

The slopes are not colour-coded like in a resort, so you’ll have to discuss with your guide what level of steepness you’re comfortable with (please also note that powder skiing usually requires slightly steeper slopes as the snow is slower than pisted slopes). Off-piste descents are not monitored, controlled or maintained. To some this may seem like a disadvantage, but the flipside is that when slopes are left in their natural state, your skis or snowboard sink in, creating the rush of gliding over virgin, untouched snow. It’s the best kind of skiing and snowboarding there is.

To get the most out of your heliskiing day, we would suggest that you should be comfortable with skiing or snowboarding in powder snow and able to cope with a variety of snow conditions (see our “Packages Pages” for an ability level calculator). If you’ve never been in powder; we run heli preparation days with a Val Heliski guide or instructor. Alternatively, if you’re in resort, and it’s snowing, you’ll have plenty of opportunity to experience powder snow skiing or snowboarding. If you can master this, then all the other snow conditions are normally much easier. Over the course of the season, we often encounter the following snow conditions / terrain and advise you are competent on all types before heliskiing / boarding:

  • Deep powder – the classic, cold, winter “champagne” snow (it shimmers in the cold air like champagne bubbles) that skiers and snowboarders love the most.
  • Velvet spring snow – when conditions get warmer, untouched, smooth snow turns into lovely, spring snow. It’s slightly denser than powder, but just as fun to ski or snowboard through.
  • Crust – this kind of snow forms on top of the powder, or spring snow. It can be amazingly good fun.
  • Traverses – we often have to get from one side of the slope to the other, so we’d expect that all our snowboard and ski guests can safely traverse a slope without losing too much height.
  • Steeps – very occasionally we might encounter a steeper slope than you’re perhaps used to skiing. We’ll help you down.
  • Flats – some routes have flatter spots. But as you’re poling or one-footing across, take in the views – you’re alone with your group in a spectacularly wild part of the world. Enjoy it.

There are, of course, many more types of snow, and our guides can advise what your day is likely to encounter. But the rule of thumb is: if you can ski or snowboard on powder, you’ll be fine with everything else!

Look at our Ability Level Calculator below for a better idea of your off-piste ability level.

Ability indicator

Anyone can do it

It’s true that its not the cheapest day out you’ll ever go on, but from €299 per person for one drop (with some of our packages starting at as little as €99 per person) it’s an unforgettable day in a stunning, empty mountain location. It transports you back to a time when skiing was in its infancy, and you’ll be able to effortlessly glide through incredible snow. We believe that the price is within many skier and snowboarder’s means, and we see our heliskiing days as a fantastic rare treat. A day that you’ll always remember.

If you’re worried that you’ll slow up the group, or you’ll be unable to keep up with the pace, then please rest assured that our guides will tailor the day to your preference: it’s not a race to the bottom, generic propecia online it’s all about having fun in a beautiful environment. So whether you want to ski the easier terrains or do the more extreme routes, we’ve got every kind of skiing and snowboarding on our doorstep.

Lastly, many people still believe that heliskiing involves jumping out of a helicopter. We promise you, it doesn’t. Getting into and out of the helicopter is no more difficult than getting in and out of a large, family car. You won’t have to jump anywhere, you’ll simply be stepping out of this beautiful, wondrous machine; onto a wide, flat area near the summit of a perfectly-skiable mountain slope. Please read our FAQ page for more info, or have a look at our videos to see how this works in action


What a Typical Heliski Day Looks Like

Once you arrive in resort come and find a VHS staff member in the following Precision Ski / Skimium shops to confirm your weather window for your activity and sign a release of liability waiver; confirm you have adequate travel insurance and read our terms and conditions online, in-store:

  • Precision Ski, Val d’Isere – Gare Routiere, Centre Vilage, CC Iseran 2000. +33 (0)4 58 00 11 99. VHS desk manned between: Sat PM 1400 – 1930. Sun AM 0830 – 1930. Mon AM 0830 – 1230 and PM 1530 – 1800.
  • Precision Ski, Tignes – Val Claret, Les Platieres. +33 (0)4 79  06 31 89. VHS desk manned between: Sat PM 1400 – 1930. Sun AM 0830-1930. Mon AM 0830 – 1300 and PM 1430 – 1800.
  • Precision Ski, Courchevel – Courchevel 1650 Grande Roue. +33 (0)4 79 01 09 43. VHS desk manned between Sat PM 1400 – 1930. Sun AM 0830-1930. Mon AM 0830 – 1230 and PM 1600 – 1800.
  • Meribel – contact one of our VHS team on +33 (0)6 45 48 08 59 to arrange a chalet visit.

We will be on hand to answer any questions over the phone and in person and will be able to explain a more detailed plan of your day considering the snow conditions and your group preferences.

If you haven’t done already you will be given another opportunity to purchase the following optional extras (subject to availability – hence we recommend booking these in advance):

  • Extra heli drops, guided days and tuition.
  • Guided days with a UIAGM mountain guide or instructor.
  • Ski and snowboard tuition.
  • Heliski preparation half and full day.
  • Helicopter transfers.
  • Specialist off piste Salomon / Liberty powder skis and powder snowboards (why not take a powder board up instead of your regular snowboard, or use our wider powder skis?).
  • ABS backpacks (please see our blog for regular chat about which avalanche equipment we believe works well).
  • A Val Heliski branded memory stick with edited Go Pro footage of your heliski day!
  • Val Heliski branded ski clothing (check out our Val Heliski Ski Shop).
  • A pre-heli day wax & edge of your skis or board.
  • Lunch at our Wilderness Yurt – a stunning mountainside location overlooking a national park – catered using local produce and Tarentaise specialities. It’s the perfect end to an energetic day in the deep snow.
  • A packed lunch.

Then, on the morning of your day’s heliskiing, this is what will happen…

7am: (if based in 3 Valleys or Paradiski): Your VHS staff member will meet you at your chalet and assist you onto the VHS minibus/ helicopter or advise you if you are in your own car, to the heli buy propecia australia take off zone on the French / Italian border. 

7.45am: (if based in Val d’Isère, Tignes, Sainte Foy): Your VHS staff member will meet you at your chalet and assist you onto the VHS minibus/ helicopter or advise you if you are in your own car, to the heli take off zone on the French / Italian border.

Your VHS team will get you kitted up with a backpack, avalanche tranceiver, shovel and probe (as your basic safety kit included in all package prices), show you how to use it, give a search and rescue exercise for kit familiarisation and then usher you to meet your UIAGM mountain guide for a safety briefing and ability assessment / warm up ski / snowboard. 

Then you’ll fly out to your designated drop zone, you’ll calmly step out of the heli (it’s just like getting into and out of a car), the heli will take off and your group will suddenly find itself at the top of a stunning, remote mountain! The only thing left to do is to ski or snowboard down it, following your guide as they show you the best lines and untracked snow. Our descents last between 1-2 hours of ski or snowboard time and are up to 2500 vertical meters of descent.  

Afternoon:

Depending on your route (which you’ll discuss with your guide), you’ll either ski or snowboard to a pick up point, where the helicopter will pick you up (again, it’s like getting into a car), drop you off for more heliskiing (if your package dictates) and then it’ll bring you back to France to either our Yurt – where you can enjoy a selection of locally-produced dishes – our private helipad or your resort heliport. Alternatively, for some routes it’s possible for your guide to get you back to France on skis or a snowboard, and they’ll radio ahead so we can come and collect you from a designated pick up area by minibus. This often works well in deepest winter when the snow allows us to ski and snowboard way down to the valley floor. Regardless, decide on your transfer options when you book the package and we will work out the best descents to suit.

There’s also the option of using your mountain guide for any time left in the afternoon for off piste around La Rosiere resort before your VHS Staff member meets you and ushers you back to your transport home (the lifts close at 4pm December and January, 4:30pm February, and 5pm March and April).

4.30pm – 6pm: Après ski party – Your VHS team will escort you to our après ski drinks in your local resort for a drink on us and a viewing of your day on the big screen. It’s the perfect chance to invite friends and family!

Val d’Isère: Chalet Doudoune (Place du Rond Point des Pistes).

Tignes: Couloir Bar (Val Claret).

Courchevel: The Kudeta Bar (in 1850, just under the tunnel to the left of the Chenus bubble station).

Meribel: The Evolution Bar (Route de La Chaudanne, below the Oakley ski shop).


What is Reverse Heliskiing?

We use ski lifts to reach the summit of resort, then ski backcountry to a point otherwise inaccessible without a helicopter. From there you will be picked up and taken to your home resort, or onto another Reverse order propecia online no prescription Heliskiing location. In addition to the adrenaline buzz and unsurpassed scenery experienced during a helicopter ride, the beauty of heli-transport is the speed we can travel; allowing you to ski up to four resorts in a single day, reaching up to 3000 vertical meters in one descent, in good snow years!

If you’d like to read more on our Reverse Heliskiing packages you can do so here.

Multiple-Resort Reverse Heliskiing is totally unique to Val Heliski. Legal in France, so accessible from your doorstep, it’s the perfect way to combine helicopters, skiing / snowboarding and huge vertical meterage without bearing the brunt of full heliski day prices.

We can operate these packages on and off the pistes of the following resorts: Val D’Isere, Tignes, St Foy, Paradiski, La Thuile and La Rosiere. The resorts chosen will depend on: the groups preferences, the resorts with the best snow conditions and the ability level of the group. We aim to start the day where possible from the group’s home resort.

 


Half-Day Reverse Heliski/Board

BOOK NOW

 

ABILITY: 4-5

FITNESS:4-5

DISCIPLINE:Skier silhouette Basic RGB

PACKAGE DATES: 5th December – 5th May

PRICE: €149pp group bookings of 1-4 persons.

Take a look at Whitelines Magazine’s article; Heliskiing on a budget with Val Heliski

AVAILABLE FROM: Tignes, Val d’Isere

COURSE OVERVIEW: A true backcountry adventure on skis or snowboard. After a 20-45 minute steady climb you will experience a huge variety of terrain otherwise inaccessible without a helicopter. All snow conditions likely – a real technique challenger. Ski or snowboard the classic North-facing Mickey’s Ears couloirs, across the Toviere pass, down through one of the couloirs into the Bois de La Laye and finally meandering through the forest to the Lac de Chevril (over 1/2 mile of vertical piste). The renowned route offers an off-the-beaten-track experience to off-piste enthusiasts and an opportunity to develop off-piste skills without having to bear the brunt of full heli-day prices. This package now includes: free use of our ABS packs (usually €29), free copy of edited GoPro footage of your day (usually€39), and free use of our Salomon / Liberty ski test center (usually €25).

Skiing the top section of Mickey’s Ears down a couloir into an open bowl before descending into trees

 

COURSE ITINERARY:

9:15 AM: Meet with your instructor at the top of the Toviere lift which departs right from the centre of Tignes Le Lac, taking you up to 2704m.

10:15 AM: You will then go for a warm up ski/snowboard down around the Toviere summit offBackcountry Report 1-piste runs, the guide will assessing your off-piste ski ability to ensure a safe descent and warm the legs up for the main descent.

11:15 AM: A short (20-40 minute) hike will lead you to the top of the Mickey’s Ears run, from which you will enjoy a variety of couloirs that cater for a wide range of ability levels from advanced to expert skiers, including a range of steeps. narrow and open expanses during your descent. An exhilarating tree run will then be tackled giving a brilliant descent down to Lac de Chevril.

12:30 PM: Participants finish the run at Lac de Chevril, from which they will be picked up by helicopter and taken back to resort.

 

Backcountry Report 7

 


MEETING POINT:

For this Reverse Heliskiing package we meet at the top of the Toviere lift between Tignes and Val d’Isere (see map above). It is up to you to get to that area, naturally you will have to use a lift-pass to do so. If you are staying in the Espace Killy and have a lift pass for that area there should be no issue, if you don’t have a lift pass for that area a VHS team member can purchase one for you, on your request.

Package available from the resorts of: Tignes, Val d’Isere.

Below are the transfer options to access the bottom of the Toviere lift.

Transfer Options to Access the Meeting Point Price
Your own transport no cost
VHS minibus transfer €99 pp

COURSE INCLUDES:

What's included:
Transceiver; shovel and probe
Transceiver training
Half-day with instructor
A heli pick-up
ABS pack
Edited GoPro footage of your day
Use of our Salomon/Liberty VHS powder skis
Use of our radio communications for safety and instruction

OPTIONAL EXTRAS:

Extras: Price
Packed lunch €29 pp
60 minute warm-down sports massage €72
VHS hoodie €75
VHS Hagloffs fleece €105
VHS Hagloffs couloir 3 Jacket €490

SWEEPER SERVICE:
According to best order propecia online practice backcountry skiing / snowboarding we offer the use of sweeper on your backcountry day. A sweeper is employed to follow the group while the guide/instructor leads from the front. A sweeper is there to ensure the safety of everyone in the group thereby improving the group’s overall confidence and security. Price: €60 pp based on a private group of 4.

Sweeper Service Price
Val Heliski Sweeper Service (Private heli trips only) €240

POLICY:

– Prices are based on a full helicopter of 4 seats.

– Payment is to be made in full to confirm the booking.

– We require you to leave all ski holiday days available to heli. We will contact you by SMS in resort to confirm your weather window.

– In accordance with the Consumer Protection (Distance Selling) Regulations 2000 and unless we have already provided the services we have contracted with you to provide or your booking is made in resort, you have the right to cancel your booking at any time up to the end of the 7th working day after the booking is accepted by us. You may do this by writing to us at the above address and you will receive a full refund of any monies paid. If you want to cancel your booking otherwise than as set out above please inform us as soon as possible. You will forfeit your deposit but please note that places on a trip can be transferred to someone else subject to any such replacement agreeing to these Conditions.

– In the event a guide directs the group to a route with better conditions (subject to availability), additional costs may be incurred depending on helicopter pick-up location.

– We reserve the right to exchange any of our products of a similar price or less in the event of adverse weather or snow conditions.

– If an alternative product, of a similar price or less, cannot be offered due to adverse weather or snow conditions, then a refund on the helicopter element(s) of the package missed will be given at the rate of €30 per drop missed.

– If a helicopter cannot fly due to adverse weather we reserve the right to use the guide/instructor for the time they have been booked.

– Adequate travel insurance is required for all VHS packages and is the responsibility of the participant to purchase and provide proof to a VHS staff member on the day of their activity. We recommend purchasing a Carte Neige for the full duration of your lift pass and can advise further, on request.

– Any incomplete groups either (1) pay for the empty seats (2) find a complete group before you arrive in resort (3) come to our drinks night in your local resort every Monday 4.30pm to 7.30pm.

Got a Question?

Val Heli Ski Terms and Conditions

Val/Tignes Heli Ski LLP, Partnership no’s OC358489 / OC358496
Val/Tignes Heli Ski LLP – numéro d’immatriculation: 801 050 659 R.C.S CHAMBERY / 800 898 074 R.C.S. CHAMBERY
Contact: +4401329339621, info@valheliski.com
Head office: Shirral House, Church Road, Shedfield, Hampshire, SO32 2HY, UK

 

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VHS Ski Test Centre

Val Heliski have partnered up with Salomon and Liberty skis to bring you our ski-test-centre, an optional extra (at only €25pp) for all of our ski packages, our way of providing you with backcountry skis, fit for novice heliskiers all the way up to powder-chargers. Our skis are from 157 to 187cm in length and available for men and women.

Salomon

Winners of the World Snow Awards 2013 “Best Overall Ski Manufacturer” prize, Salomon have been one of the industry leaders ordering propecia online with over 65 years of experience. At this year’s Telegraph ski test, Salomon was awarded four “best on test” accolades and six “best-value” awards for its skis.

Liberty

Liberty skis are founded on functional innovation and respect for the environment. They were the first and remain the only ski company to use bamboo in all of their skis. This strong, light and eco-friendly material has the added bonus of decreasing material weight whilst increasing the pop a ski has.

Ski Selection-22 Ski Selection-2


Sainte Foy’s Backcountry

Holidaymakers often overlook the small, unassuming ski resort of Sainte Foy nestled in the Tarentaise Valley. With only four chairlifts, 15 slopes and accommodation for 2,500 people it is dwarfed by the neighbouring resorts in the Espace Killy.

However, it’s off-piste and backcountry areas can easily compete with those of Tignes and Val d’Isere. We’ve complied a list of some of Ste Foy’s best off-piste runs:

The North Face of le Fogliettaz

The north face of the Fogliettaz is the jewel in the crown of Sainte Foy off-piste routes. Accessed from the top of the Aiguille chairlift, making a short traverse along a ridge and then hiking to the highest point – hike time is 40-60mins. The initial part of the face is steep (anything from 40 to 50°+ depending on where you drop in) with a descent of over 1500 vertical metres. As it’s a North-facing slope the lack of sunlight means the snow stays in good condition longer than many of the other slopes in the area.

Le Petit Col, L’Epaule, Le Croix

These three steep runs can all be accessed from various points along the hike to the top of the Fogliettaz, all running down the steep face back to the pistes. The Croix offers four steep couloirs all leading to the steep, open slopes above the Grand Soliet and Plan des Veaux runs. – careful route planning, a high ability level and the instruction of a guide should be utilised in order to ski these runs safely.

Shaper’s Paradise

Suitable for those less-confident off-piste, Shaper’s is the easiest of the three buy propecia 5mg officially-designated off-piste areas and also usually the first to be officially open after a fresh snow-fall. The run itself is marked by poles. Following the poles will take you to natural jumps, wide open faces and a steep finish. However, entering the run a little further up the hill, from the Plan des Veaux piste, will give you the option of some steeper gradients, small cliffs and couloirs to play around on.

Morion

Morion is the official off-piste area directly below the top of the Aiguille chair. The top of the run is often wind-blown making it quite icy. If the wind is blowing from the direction of the resort there is a serious risk of avalanche. There are markers down Morion showing two potential lines, if you venture away from these markers you’ll encounter some rocks and cliffs, so careful line-choosing is neccessary. You can link the runs of Morion and Shaper’s Paradise to create a long off-piste run when there’s fresh snow.

Crystal Dark

Crystal Dark is one of the three official off-piste areas, accessed by turning off the Aiguille piste.You’ll initially have to traverse a large area before taking a steep face down to reach the Creux de Formeian piste. Crystal Dark leads onto a backcountry area known as “Far Crystal” – well outside of resort boundaries, some tricky descents and ending on a line of cliffs with only a few safe routes out – this is one for only the most experienced skiers/boarders with the help of a guide.