Welcome to Heliskihistory.com
by "Hacksaw"

 

Heliskiing is simply using a helicopter to transport skiers to the top of mountainous backcountry terrain, so that skiers and snowboarders can ski down; usually in light untracked deep powder snow. The draw of heliskiing is the thrill and pleasure of getting to ski or snowboard untracked snow in wild advanced terrain.

 

For me the first time I ever heard about heliskiing, I was just a young skier in the late 1960’s. When I heard the term, heliskiing, I seemed to automatically understand what the term meant. As a kid raised on watching the TV show “Whirlybirds” about helicopters, it made perfect sense to me. I immediately wanted to go heliskiing one day, and I have since become seriously addicted to heliskiing.

 

I have always wondered about who first came up with the idea of heliskiing. For years
I bought into the mainstream media’s claim that Hans Gmoser of CMH “invented” heliskiing. But, then I started to occasionally see photos and short mentions from other folks that they did heliskiing before 1963.

 

As a college history major I was curious about who really was “the first” to do heliskiing. So, I started to do research to find out what the truth is. This website is the result of this research. I tried to get my research published in the usual skiing/outdoor magazines. But, none of them showed much interest. So, I decided to start this website.

 

Establishing “who” the actual “inventor” of heliskiing is isn’t something of Earth shaking importance. But, it is something that should be correctly recognized by the skiing world.

 

My first day of heliskiing was done in New Zealand in August 1986 (see essay “carpooling with a Ferraris”). I had ridden once before in a helicopter in 1976, but that was for a climbing related trip. Since 1986, I have heliskied and fixed wing skied in British Columbia, Canadian Arctic (Baffin Island), Colorado and New Zealand. I have always enjoyed the flying abilities of the modern helicopter. Combining the flying with powder skiing is absolutely wonderful in my opinion.  

 

I’m not looking for monetary donations. What I would like to see is getting some of the heliskiing companies contribute to this site. I’d like to see them just contribute a short article that I can post here about the early history of their operation. Early photos would also be great.

 

I would really love to get some photos from the Alaskan Binx Sandahl days up on this website. I’ll bet there is a box of old heliskiing photos out there in the back of a closet. They are a part of history that the skiing world should see.

 

It would also be interesting to hear why or how some of the past operations went out of business. Old brochures would be great to see.

 

If you’d like to contribute or make comments please email me at:
hacksaw@heliskihistory.com

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