Every adventurous skier or snowboarder should experience heliskiing at least once! The excitement of a helicopter drop on the top of a remote mountain, combined with a seemingly endless descent on untracked powder, make heliskiing a hard-to-beat experience.
Europe offers many amazing and very diverse spots for an unforgettable heliski trip — from the easily accessible Italian or Swiss Alps to remote areas in Russia, Georgia or Greenland, just to name a few. Bear in mind, however, that this activity is forbidden in some countries, such as France and Germany, due to environmental concerns.
Environmentalists claim helicopters pollute the pristine mountain air and pose a threat to its wildlife, as well as disturbing skiers who venture into the backcountry looking for stillness and tranquility. It is for you to decide on what side you’re on!
Heliskiing is of course only possible in the company of professional and highly-skilled guides. A certified guide will be key to minimize the risks associated with this activity and to make the most of this incredible experience!
Want to let your wanderlust run wild and start dreaming up your next mountain adventure? This is our list of the 10 best countries to go heliskiing in Europe.
In the Swiss Alps you’ll find some of the most incredible long descents! Zermatt is the most renowned heliskiing spot in this country but you can also start your trip from Verbier, Murren, or Andermatt or even from the top of Le Petit Combin! You will find unspoiled backcountry terrain and incredibly beautiful scenery, with the possibility of flying up to 4200 m for a 2000 meters descent.
You’ll find plenty of heliskiing trips on offer in Italy. Monte Rosa is one of the most spectacular and diverse heliskiing areas in the Alps, with its alpine bowls, steep couloirs and dozens of drop off-points. You can also enjoy great heliskiing in Courmayeur (the Italian gateway to Mont Blanc) and Gressoney. Besides, you could try Val Formazza or the untouched Valle Stura in the Piedmont.
Few destinations can match the diversity of heliskiing you can find within the borders of this incredible country. Discover the wild slopes of the Kamchatka Peninsula or enjoy incredible runs in remote Chukotka, only 45 km away from Alaska, with nearly 3000 square kilometers to choose from. It’s certainly a destination for a wild and unforgettable heliskiing adventure, reserved for experienced riders. Be aware you won’t find here the same accommodation and service standards as in the rest of Europe.
The Val D’Aran, in the Pyrenees mountains in Catalunya, is an area of incredible natural beauty and a perfect destination for a heliskiing trip. Also, heliskiing in Spain offers more freedom, as you can take off, land and ski anywhere within the exclusive heli-ski terrain. The experience is closer to what you may find in Canada than in the Italian or Swiss Alps. You can also enjoy the wonderful culture and cuisine of the Aranese people!
Heliskiing above the Polar Circle is definitely an experience of a lifetime! Lapland is a true paradise for skiers, with more than 5,000 square-kilometers of skiable terrain! The possibility of skiing under the midnight sun, surrounded by the beautiful Arctic wilderness, makes for an incredible trip. And you could also ski all the way down from Kebnekaise (2106 m), Sweden’s highest mountain.
The majestic Caucasus Mountains, with their breathtaking landscapes and wide open slopes, offer an incredible off-the-beaten-path heliskiing destination for experienced skiers. From Gudauri, a famous ski resort in the Greater Caucasus range, you can enjoy drops up to 4000m and runs of about 3000m! Or you could decide to explore the untouched slopes of the Khulo Valley, in the Lower Caucasus, with their massive snowfall and perfect powder conditions during winter.
Greenland is one of the most spectacular places on Earth for a heliskiing adventure. It offers the possibility of first descents on untouched slopes, with glaciers and couloirs and the lightest powder imaginable, surrounded by stunning landscapes, and the sea! So if you enjoy venturing into remote and wild lands -with the plus of an arctic environment- then this is the place to go. You could even get to see a polar bear!
Exceptional powder and regular and plentiful snowfall make Turkey a perfect heliskiing destination, with some incredible spots, like Ayder, the Pontic range or the Kaçkar Mountains. Heliskiing in Turkey gives you the possibility of exploring a vast and beautiful territory, very close to the shores of the Black Sea.
The magic and wilderness of Iceland offers the best scenario for an unforgettable heliskiing trip. With more than 4000 square kilometers of spectacular Arctic landscapes, the Troll Peninsula suits almost every skier’s ability. Runs finish either by the sea or at the valley floor. Get ready to enjoy incredible descents in a remote environment, full of glaciers, deep valleys and steep couloirs.
Heliskiing in Austria is limited to a few landing sites, but its convenient location makes it an ideal spot for a short heliskiing trip. Arlberg is one of the regions in the country where you can enjoy it, starting from Lech or Zürs. Arlberg is well known for some of the deepest and driest snow in the Alps.
We hope we’ve provided some inspiration for your next mountain adventure! With options for all levels and all tastes, European heliskiing destinations can definitely make it into the “world’s best” ranking.
The top spot, however, is reserved for the province of British Columbia in western Canada: it’s the birth-place of heliskiing and probably offers the best terrain and snow conditions in the world! And if you want to explore two other amazing off-the-beaten-path destinations, you should try Chile, in South America, and Kyrgyzstan, in Central Asia. They are the new heliskiing hotspots!