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Heli-skiing History

>> Aug 24, 2011

Heliskiing is a completely astounding sport. It takes all the beauty of skiing or boarding and can severely strengthen it. Everything about it is better, the powder is always fresh and untouched, there no crowds of people to deal with, and you are in a beautiful secluded part of the world. The feeling can be attributed to that of owning your own mountain, which can be a pretty epic feeling.

What are the beginnings of Heliskiing? It is said that in the mid 1950’s the Europeans created the first helicopter ski trips by taking brave and world class skiers up to glaciers. Although it is known that Johann Wolfgang “Hans” Gmoser, a mountain guide from Linz, Austria is credited for some of the first trips up in the Canadian Rockies. Hans was a appreciated mountaineer and proficient climber. In about 1965 Gmoser’s friend and client, U.S. Olympian Brooks Dodge, had discussed the chance to begin a helicopter service that could take skiers to the snowfields in the upper Rockies.

Hans, one to never back down from a challenge soon partnered with Jim Davies, who was known as one of the premiere mountain helicopter pilots at the time. The two of them began chartering helicopter ski trips for one week to the Bugaboos.

The operation quickly became very successful and in the summer of 1967, a group of former clients invested with Gmoser and they soon built the Bugaboo Lodge, the first helicopter lodge in North America. Then Canadian Mountain Holidays INC was born, and the two were flying clients to the Monashees, the Cariboos, to Bobbie Burns and other spots. These were the early days of Heliskiing, and it was not long before Hans had some competition. Heliskiing rapidly grew in popularity and became an offshoot sport for the prosperous and adventurous. Now it is the extreme adventure sport it is today.

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