Monday, January 9, 2012

Day 1 - SkiBlog-SkiBlog Heliskiing Video Blog Series

After arriving at the Crescent Spur lodge on Saturday evening, we were greeted with an incredibly friendly and welcoming staff and treated to a delicious dinner. The lodge, with all of the fixtures, doorframes, and woodwork homecrafted with British Columbian wood, provides a remarkably warm and amicable atmosphere to relax and enjoy the time here. I knew I was in for a luxury ski holiday.

Sunday - day 1 of heliskiing, proved to be much more than I was used to after growing up skiing on the east coast. I was not nearly prepared for the humbling conditions that awaited me in the Caribou mountain range. Crescent Spur has over 1,500 square miles of privately leased skiing area with only 20 skiers per week - if you don't get in some good turns here, you won't anywhere.

Tip 1 - Safety Orientation

Heliskiing presents a unique set of hazards you will not find anywhere else. It is very important to go over safety and emergency information to prepare for the worst. After warming up with a brief indoor presentation on safety fundamentals and learning about the types of dangers, we went outside for some on-snow training.

Tip 2 - Safety Equipment

Crescent Spur is a great organization when it comes to skier safety. All guests are provided with a two-way radio, a transponder beacon, a snow shovel, and a probe. These tools are invaluable, and the knowledge of how to use them correctly can make the difference between life and death.

Tip 3 - Feet together, skis weighted equally

Although I consider myself a fair skier on-piste, there are some essential adjustments to make when backcountry skiing. First, make sure you keep a narrower stance than normal to account for variable snow conditions. When your skis are closer together, it makes it more likely that your skis will go through the same snow condition. This also helps to keep your skis more equally weighted than you normally would on-piste. Carving doesn't exist when skiing powder. The forces interacting between your skis and the snow are substantially different in powder conditions than packed snow conditions. Basically, you want to think of your skis floating on the snow and banking against the snow througout turns. This is more of a passive turn - you are just using the snow as a bank to push your skis against than actively turning and edging your skis.

Tip 4 - Make sure your video camera is on video mode

Somehow my camera turned out to be on photo mode instead of video mode, so instead of four great videos I was expecting to find at the end of the day, I found four shoddy photographs. Hopefully the rest of this week will work out better.


  1. this is great. considering a trip to Crescent you have any more comments or videos on the trip itself? Would you recommend CS?

  2. Would definitely recommend Crescent Spur - incredible all around experience. Look for some upcoming posts on more video of skiing.

  3. I would hate number 4 to happen to me!

  4. Really good tips there, I've had number 4 happening to me too before - sucks!

    If you use a GoPro a good idea would be to invest in the LCD screen so that you can watch the footage while you're out and still have a chance to correct something if it doesn't look good, rather than hoping it all turned out well and not knowing what it looks like until you get back home.

  5. Before lunging into the cold, make sure you dress up in the proper ski attire. Dressing in layers would definitely help keep you from the cold. Also choose a good pair of ski gloves to avoid frostbite. When shopping for ski gloves, pay attention to the benefits of the material. Even though a fabric may be windproof, it might not be weatherproof. This would mean cold hands for you when the material becomes wet from a tumble in the snow.

  6. Has anyone checked out my Ski & Snowboarding blog? I update it daily with posts so please take a peek!

  7. Great tips, I would hate to discover afterwards that my camera wasn't recording it!!

  8. Excellent article!Very nice tips.I like all the things you said in no.3.Very well said.Thanks for sharing!

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  11. I like the tip no.4.I totally agree with you.I always prepare physically and mentally before going for a backcountry skiing.I learned a lot.Thanks.

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