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Training For Heli-Skiing Adventures: Tips And Exercises


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Hatty Schlegel



Are you an adventure enthusiast looking to take your skiing experience to new heights? If so, then heli-skiing might be just the adrenaline-pumping thrill you’ve been seeking. Heli-skiing is a type of skiing that involves being flown to remote mountain peaks via helicopter and then carving your way down untouched, pristine slopes. It offers an exhilarating experience that goes beyond traditional ski resorts, allowing you to access unexplored terrain and enjoy breathtaking panoramic views.


However, before you embark on this epic adventure, it’s important to properly prepare both physically and mentally. Heli-skiing requires a certain level of skill, fitness, and equipment, and understanding the necessary precautions is crucial to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.


In this article, we will provide you with valuable tips and exercises to help you prepare for your heli-skiing adventure. We will guide you through the process of choosing the right gear, offer fitness and strength training exercises, and emphasize the importance of safety considerations. By following these recommendations, you’ll be well-equipped to tackle the challenging slopes and make the most of your heli-skiing experience.


Understanding Heli-Skiing Adventures

Before diving into preparing for heli-skiing, it’s essential to develop a comprehensive understanding of what it entails. Heli-skiing is a unique and thrilling experience that allows skiers to explore remote and untouched mountain slopes that are inaccessible by traditional ski lifts. A helicopter transports skiers to these pristine locations, providing a thrilling and awe-inspiring adventure.


Heli-skiing is a popular choice for advanced and expert skiers who are seeking more challenging terrain and are comfortable skiing in variable and potentially difficult conditions. The mountains chosen for heli-skiing adventures are often steep, ungroomed, and can feature deep powder snow. These conditions require confidence, skill, and familiarity with off-piste skiing techniques.


One of the main advantages of heli-skiing is the ability to access vast areas of untouched wilderness. Unlike ski resorts, which can become crowded and tracked out, heli-skiing offers a sense of solitude and immersion in nature. Exploring these unspoiled slopes presents an opportunity for skiers to experience the true essence of backcountry skiing.


It’s important to note that heli-skiing is not without its risks. It takes place in remote and challenging environments, and skiers must be aware of the potential dangers associated with the activity. Avalanche risk, changing weather conditions, and unfamiliar terrain are all factors that need to be considered. As such, it is highly recommended to go heli-skiing with a certified guide who has extensive knowledge of the area, avalanche safety, and backcountry experience.


By understanding the unique nature of heli-skiing adventures, you can approach your preparation with the right mindset and readiness. Heli-skiing offers an unparalleled adventure that combines the thrill of helicopter flight with the exhilaration of traversing untouched mountain slopes. With the right preparation and guidance, you can make the most of this extraordinary experience.


Tips for Preparing for Heli-Skiing

Preparing for a heli-skiing adventure requires more than just packing your bags and getting on a helicopter. To ensure a safe and enjoyable experience, it’s essential to adequately prepare both physically and mentally. Here are some valuable tips to help you get ready for your heli-skiing adventure:

  1. Assess Your Skill Level: Heli-skiing is not suitable for beginners or casual skiers. It requires advanced skiing skills, including the ability to confidently navigate challenging terrain and varying snow conditions. Assess your skiing abilities honestly and make sure you are comfortable skiing on ungroomed, steep slopes.
  2. Take Lessons: If you feel that your skiing skills could use improvement, consider taking lessons before your heli-skiing trip. Advanced ski clinics or backcountry skiing courses will help you become more confident in off-piste skiing techniques and enhance your overall skiing abilities.
  3. Get Fit: Heli-skiing demands physical fitness and endurance. Engaging in regular exercise routines that focus on building strength, cardiovascular fitness, and agility will help you withstand the demanding nature of skiing in remote backcountry areas. Consult with a fitness professional to develop a training program tailored to your needs.
  4. Research Operators and Guides: It’s crucial to choose a reputable heli-skiing operator and experienced guides who prioritize safety. Do your research and read reviews from previous clients to ensure you select a company that meets the highest standards of safety and professionalism.
  5. Acquire the Right Gear: Invest in high-quality ski equipment suitable for off-piste skiing. This includes a sturdy pair of skis or a snowboard, bindings, appropriate boots, a helmet, and safety gear such as an avalanche transceiver, probe, and shovel. It’s also important to dress in layers to regulate your body temperature in varying weather conditions.
  6. Practice Avalanche Safety: Familiarize yourself with basic avalanche safety protocols, including how to use avalanche safety equipment and how to assess and navigate avalanche-prone areas. Taking an avalanche safety course is highly recommended before venturing into the backcountry.
  7. Improve Your Fitness: As heli-skiing requires both stamina and strength, incorporating specific exercises into your fitness routine can greatly enhance your performance on the slopes. Focus on exercises that target your legs, core, and cardiovascular endurance. Engaging in activities such as hiking, biking, and running can also help improve your overall fitness level.
  8. Mental Preparation: Heli-skiing presents unique challenges and requires mental fortitude. Prepare yourself mentally by visualizing successful runs, practicing mindfulness techniques to stay focused in high-pressure situations, and maintaining a positive mindset. Mental preparedness is just as important as physical fitness during a heli-skiing adventure.

By following these tips, you’ll be well-equipped to tackle the exhilarating slopes of a heli-skiing adventure. Remember, preparation is key to a safe and memorable experience, so take the time to ensure you are fully ready before embarking on this thrilling escapade.


Choosing the Right Gear for Heli-Skiing

When it comes to heli-skiing, having the right gear can make all the difference in your performance, comfort, and safety. Here are some essential considerations to keep in mind when selecting gear for your heli-skiing adventure:

  1. Skis or Snowboard: Choose a pair of skis or a snowboard that suits your skiing style and ability level. Opt for all-mountain or backcountry-specific skis that are wider underfoot for better floatation in deep powder snow. Make sure to select a snowboard or skis that provide stability and control in various snow conditions.
  2. Bindings: Look for bindings that are designed for off-piste skiing and can handle aggressive skiing. Make sure they are compatible with your chosen skis or snowboard and offer a secure and reliable connection.
  3. Boots: Invest in high-quality ski boots that provide a snug and comfortable fit. Make sure they have a stiff flex rating to provide the necessary support and control in challenging terrain. Fit is crucial, so consider getting professional boot fitting assistance to ensure the best possible fit.
  4. Safety Gear: Safety should be a priority when heli-skiing. Carry essential safety gear, including an avalanche transceiver, probe, and shovel. Ensure that you are familiar with how to use each item before embarking on your adventure. Regularly check the batteries and functionality of your transceiver to ensure it is in proper working order.
  5. Helmet: Protect your head with a well-fitting helmet designed for skiing or snowboarding. Look for a helmet with ample ventilation to prevent overheating and make sure it meets safety standards.
  6. Outerwear: Dressing in layers is key for heli-skiing, as weather conditions can change rapidly. Select waterproof and breathable outerwear to keep you dry and comfortable. Consider bringing a packable down or synthetic jacket for extra warmth during rest breaks or inclement weather.
  7. Gloves and Accessories: Invest in high-quality gloves or mittens that offer warmth and dexterity. Additionally, bring handwarmers for extra comfort. Don’t forget to pack goggles with good visibility, as well as sunscreen, lip balm, and a neck gaiter or balaclava to protect your face from the elements.
  8. Backpack: Choose a backpack with sufficient storage capacity to carry your essentials, such as water, snacks, extra layers, and any additional gear. Look for a pack that has straps to secure your skis or snowboard for short hikes.

Proper gear selection is paramount to your safety and enjoyment during a heli-skiing adventure. Invest in quality equipment that suits your abilities and skiing style, and ensure that it is in good condition. Always check for proper function and perform any necessary maintenance before your trip. Getting the right gear will enhance your performance, protect you from the elements, and allow you to fully enjoy the incredible experience of heli-skiing.


Fitness and Strength Training for Heli-Skiing

Heli-skiing is a physically demanding activity that requires strength, endurance, and agility. To ensure you are adequately prepared for the challenges that await you on the slopes, incorporating specific fitness and strength training exercises into your routine is essential. Here are some exercises to consider:

  1. Squats: Squats are a fundamental exercise that targets your quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes – muscles crucial for powering through turns and absorbing the impact of varied terrain. Incorporate bodyweight squats, goblet squats, and barbell squats into your routine to build leg strength.
  2. Lunges: Lunges help strengthen your quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes while improving balance and stability. Forward lunges, reverse lunges, and lateral lunges are all beneficial variations to include in your training.
  3. Deadlifts: Deadlifts are a compound exercise that targets multiple lower body muscles, including your hamstrings, glutes, and lower back. They also help improve core strength and stability, important for navigating uneven terrain. Start with light weights and gradually increase as your strength improves.
  4. Core exercises: Strengthening your core is essential for stability and control during heli-skiing. Include exercises like planks, Russian twists, and mountain climbers into your routine to build a strong and stable core.
  5. Plyometric exercises: Heli-skiing requires explosive power and quick movements. Incorporate plyometric exercises like box jumps, squat jumps, and lateral jumps to improve your explosive strength and agility.
  6. Balance exercises: Improving your balance is crucial for maintaining stability and control while skiing in challenging terrain. Incorporate exercises like single-leg squats, stability ball exercises, and yoga poses such as tree pose into your training regimen to enhance your balance.
  7. Cardiovascular training: Heli-skiing involves skiing for prolonged periods in varying conditions, which requires cardiovascular endurance. Engage in activities like running, cycling, or high-intensity interval training (HIIT) to improve your overall cardiovascular fitness.
  8. Functional training: Incorporate exercises that mimic the movements and demands of skiing, such as lateral lunges with a twist, moguls jumps, and lateral hops. This type of training will prepare your muscles for the specific demands of heli-skiing.

Consult with a fitness professional to create a training plan that suits your fitness level and goals. Gradually increase the intensity and duration of your workouts to build strength and endurance over time. Remember to warm up adequately before each workout and cool down and stretch afterward to prevent injury and aid in recovery.


By incorporating these fitness and strength training exercises into your routine, you’ll be better prepared to conquer the challenges of heli-skiing. Building strength, endurance, and agility will enhance your performance on the slopes, allowing you to fully enjoy the exhilarating experience of heli-skiing.


Cardiovascular Exercises for Heli-Skiing

Cardiovascular fitness is crucial for heli-skiing, as it involves skiing for extended periods in various conditions. Improving your cardiovascular endurance will not only enhance your performance on the slopes but also help you recover more quickly between runs. Here are some cardiovascular exercises to incorporate into your training routine:

  1. Running: Running is a highly effective cardiovascular exercise that can be done both outdoors and on a treadmill. Start with shorter distances and gradually increase both the duration and intensity of your runs. Incorporate interval training to simulate the bursts of energy required during heli-skiing.
  2. Cycling: Cycling is a low-impact exercise that can help improve your cardiovascular endurance. Whether you choose to ride outdoors or use a stationary bike, aim for longer rides with varied intensities to simulate the demands of heli-skiing.
  3. HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training): HIIT workouts are intense, short bursts of exercise followed by short recovery periods. This type of training mimics the intermittent nature of heli-skiing and helps improve your anaerobic and aerobic fitness. Include exercises like burpees, squat jumps, and mountain climbers in your HIIT workouts.
  4. Jumping Rope: Jumping rope is a high-intensity activity that elevates your heart rate and improves cardiovascular endurance. It also helps improve coordination and agility, which are essential for navigating the slopes while heli-skiing.
  5. Stair Climbing: Stair climbing is a fantastic exercise for building lower body strength and improving cardiovascular fitness. Find a set of stairs or use a stair climber machine to simulate the uphill climbs you may encounter while heli-skiing.
  6. Swimming: Swimming is a full-body workout that is easy on the joints. It helps improve cardiovascular endurance while also strengthening your upper body and core muscles. Incorporate different strokes and intensities in your swim sessions for a varied workout.
  7. Rowing: Rowing is a highly effective cardiovascular exercise that engages both your upper and lower body. Whether using a rowing machine or rowing in the water, this low-impact exercise will help improve your endurance and power, beneficial for heli-skiing.

The key to improving your cardiovascular fitness for heli-skiing is consistency and gradually increasing the intensity and duration of your workouts over time. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity cardio exercise per week or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise, according to the American Heart Association’s recommendations.


Remember to listen to your body and allow for adequate rest and recovery between workouts. Incorporating a mix of different cardiovascular exercises into your routine will keep you engaged and challenged while targeting various muscle groups. By improving your cardiovascular endurance, you’ll be able to ski longer, tackle challenging slopes, and make the most of your heli-skiing adventure.


Leg and Lower Body Exercises for Heli-Skiing

When it comes to heli-skiing, strong and agile legs are essential for powering through turns, absorbing the impact of rough terrain, and maintaining stability. Here are some leg and lower body exercises to incorporate into your training routine:

  1. Squats: Squats are a foundational lower body exercise that targets the quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes. Perform bodyweight squats, goblet squats, or barbell squats to build strength and endurance in your lower body.
  2. Lunges: Lunges help strengthen the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and calves, while also improving balance and stability. Incorporate forward lunges, reverse lunges, walking lunges, and lateral lunges into your training routine.
  3. Step-Ups: Step-ups are an effective exercise for strengthening your quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes. Use a step, bench, or box and step one foot onto it, pushing through the heel to bring the other foot up. Repeat on the other side.
  4. Deadlifts: Deadlifts are a compound exercise that targets the hamstrings, glutes, lower back, and core. Use proper form and start with light weights, gradually increasing the load as you build strength and confidence.
  5. Calf Raises: Strong calves are important for stability while skiing. Perform standing calf raises or seated calf raises to strengthen your calf muscles. You can add resistance by holding weights or using a calf raise machine.
  6. Box Jumps: Box jumps are an explosive exercise that improves lower body power and agility. Find a sturdy box or platform and jump onto it, landing softly and stepping back down. Start with a lower height and gradually increase as you gain strength and confidence.
  7. Single-Leg Balance Exercises: Develop stability and balance by incorporating single-leg exercises such as single-leg squats, single-leg deadlifts, and single-leg calf raises. These exercises also help identify and correct muscle imbalances.
  8. Resistance Band Exercises: Use resistance bands to add resistance and challenge to your lower body exercises. Perform exercises like lateral band walks, seated band abductions, and band hamstring curls to target and strengthen specific muscles.

Remember to focus on proper form during these exercises and start with lighter weights, gradually increasing as you build strength. Incorporate these exercises into your training routine at least two to three times per week, allowing for recovery days in between. Mix up the exercises to target different muscle groups and keep the workouts challenging and engaging.


It’s essential to listen to your body and progress at a pace that feels comfortable for you. If you experience any pain or discomfort, consult with a fitness professional to ensure you are performing the exercises correctly and without risk of injury.


By incorporating these leg and lower body exercises into your training routine, you’ll develop the strength, endurance, and stability necessary to excel during your heli-skiing adventure. Strong legs will enable you to conquer challenging slopes and fully enjoy the exhilaration of heli-skiing.


Core and Balance Exercises for Heli-Skiing

Having a strong core and good balance is crucial for navigating the challenging terrain and maintaining stability while heli-skiing. Incorporating specific core and balance exercises into your training routine will help improve your stability, control, and overall performance on the slopes. Here are some exercises to consider:

  1. Planks: Planks are an excellent exercise for strengthening your core muscles, including your abdominals, obliques, and lower back. Start with a forearm plank and gradually progress to a full plank position, aiming to hold for at least 30 seconds to a minute.
  2. Russian Twists: Russian twists target your obliques and improve rotational core strength. Sit on the floor, lean back slightly, and lift your feet off the ground. Rotate your torso from side to side, touching the floor with your hands or a weighted object.
  3. Mountain Climbers: Mountain climbers engage your core while also providing a cardiovascular challenge. Begin in a high plank position and alternately bring your knees towards your chest. Increase the speed and intensity as you become more comfortable.
  4. Side Planks: Side planks target your obliques and improve lateral stability. Start by lying on your side, propping yourself up on one forearm with your elbow directly under your shoulder. Raise your hips off the ground, keeping your body in a straight line. Hold for 30 seconds to a minute on each side.
  5. Stability Ball Exercises: Incorporate exercises using a stability ball, such as stability ball crunches, bridges, and pikes. These exercises engage your core muscles while also improving balance and stability.
  6. Single-Leg Balance Exercises: Developing balance is crucial for heli-skiing. Incorporate exercises such as single-leg squats, single-leg deadlifts, and Single-leg balance exercises: weight shifts, airplane pose and tree pose. This helps improve stability and control on varied terrain.
  7. Bosu Ball Exercises: Using a Bosu ball adds an element of instability, challenging your core and balance. Try exercises like Bosu ball squats, Bosu ball lunges, and Bosu ball plank variations to target your core muscles while improving stability.

Incorporate these exercises into your training routine two to three times per week. Aim for 2-3 sets of 10-15 repetitions for each exercise, gradually increasing the intensity and duration as your core strength and balance improve.


Remember to focus on proper form and technique, and listen to your body. It’s normal to feel some muscle fatigue during and after these exercises, but if you experience any pain or discomfort, adjust or stop the exercise and consult with a fitness professional.


By including these core and balance exercises in your training routine, you’ll develop a strong and stable core, improve your balance and stability, and enhance your overall performance while heli-skiing. These exercises will help you stay in control and confidently navigate the varied terrain of your heli-skiing adventure.


Flexibility and Mobility Exercises for Heli-Skiing

Flexibility and mobility are key factors in ensuring optimal performance and preventing injury while heli-skiing. The ability to move freely and maintain a wide range of motion in your joints is essential for navigating varied terrain and maintaining balance. Here are some flexibility and mobility exercises to incorporate into your training routine:

  1. Dynamic Stretching: Dynamic stretching involves moving the body through controlled, fluid movements to increase the range of motion and warm up the muscles. Perform exercises such as leg swings, arm circles, walking lunges with a twist, and high knee marches before skiing to prepare your body for the demands of heli-skiing.
  2. Hip Opener Stretches: Open hips are crucial for proper alignment and stability while skiing. Incorporate stretches like hip circles, figure-four stretches, and butterfly stretches to improve hip flexibility.
  3. Hamstring Stretches: Flexible hamstrings are essential for maintaining balance and control while skiing. Perform static stretches like seated or standing forward bends and lunges with a forward lean to target and improve hamstring flexibility.
  4. Quad Stretches: The quadriceps play a significant role in skiing, and stretching them is essential for proper biomechanics and preventing muscle imbalances. Perform static stretches like standing quad stretches or lying quadriceps stretches to increase quad flexibility.
  5. Shoulder and Upper Body Stretches: Flexible shoulders and upper body promote proper posture and balance while skiing. Incorporate stretches for your shoulders, chest, and back, such as doorway stretches, arm crossovers, and shoulder circles, to improve upper body mobility.
  6. Ankle Circles and Mobility Exercises: Flexible ankles are crucial for maintaining balance and adapting to uneven terrain. Perform ankle circles and mobility exercises like calf raises with ankle dorsiflexion to enhance ankle flexibility and mobility.
  7. Yoga or Pilates: Yoga and Pilates are excellent disciplines for improving overall flexibility, core strength, and balance. Practicing yoga poses like Warrior II, Downward Dog, and Tree Pose, or Pilates exercises like the Hundred and the Single Leg Stretch, can help increase your overall flexibility and mobility.

Incorporate these flexibility and mobility exercises into your warm-up routine before skiing and into your post-workout stretching routine. Aim to hold each stretch for 15-30 seconds, focusing on gradually increasing your range of motion over time.


Remember to listen to your body and never push yourself into pain or discomfort during stretching exercises. Flexibility gains take time, so be patient and consistent with your stretching routine.


By including these flexibility and mobility exercises in your training routine, you’ll enhance your range of motion, improve your balance, and reduce the risk of muscle imbalances and injuries while heli-skiing. These exercises will allow you to move freely and confidently tackle the challenges of varied terrain.


Safety Considerations for Heli-Skiing

Heli-skiing offers an exhilarating and adventurous experience, but it’s essential to prioritize safety to ensure a positive and enjoyable adventure. Here are some important safety considerations to keep in mind before embarking on a heli-skiing trip:

  1. Certified Guides and Operators: Choose a certified heli-skiing operator with experienced guides. Research the company’s safety record, read reviews, and inquire about the guide’s qualifications and training. A reputable operator will prioritize safety and have extensive knowledge of the terrain, weather conditions, and avalanche safety protocols.
  2. Avalanche Safety: Avalanche awareness and education are crucial for heli-skiing. Be knowledgeable about the signs of avalanche conditions and familiarize yourself with basic avalanche safety equipment, including a transceiver, probe, and shovel. Consider taking an avalanche safety course to enhance your understanding and skills in assessing avalanche risks.
  3. Weather Conditions: Stay informed about weather conditions before and during your heli-skiing adventure. Unpredictable weather can affect visibility, snow stability, and helicopter operations. Trust your guides’ judgment regarding weather-related decisions, as they prioritize your safety above all else.
  4. Equipment Check: Regularly inspect and maintain your ski equipment, ensuring it is in good working condition. Check the bindings, edges, and base of your skis or snowboard. Ensure your avalanche safety equipment is functioning properly, and store it in an easily accessible location.
  5. Communication and Emergency Plan: Establish clear communication methods with your guide and fellow skiers. Familiarize yourself with the emergency protocols and procedures, including communication channels, rendezvous points, and the use of radios or other communication devices. Follow the guide’s instructions in the event of an emergency or unexpected situation.
  6. Personal Preparedness: Be physically and mentally prepared for heli-skiing. Ensure you have the required fitness level, skills, and experience to tackle the terrain and conditions. Inform your guides of any health conditions or concerns that may affect your ability to ski safely. Make sure to bring sufficient food, water, and extra layers to stay properly nourished and protected from the elements.
  7. Safety Gear: Always carry and properly use the necessary safety gear, including an avalanche transceiver, probe, and shovel. Familiarize yourself with how to operate and use these items effectively. Regularly check your equipment for functionality, and replace or repair any damaged gear before your trip.
  8. Listen to the Guides: Trust and follow the instructions and advice of your experienced guides. They have extensive knowledge of the area, weather conditions, and potential risks. Pay attention during safety briefings, listen to their guidance on skiing techniques, and adhere to any decisions made regarding route changes or terrain choices.
  9. Group Dynamics: Be aware of the group dynamics and communicate openly with your fellow skiers. Stay together as a group and look out for one another. Share information and concerns, and be willing to adjust plans or routes for the safety and well-being of everyone in the group.

Remember, safety should be the top priority during heli-skiing. Always err on the side of caution, and never hesitate to voice any concerns or ask questions. By following these safety considerations, you’ll be well-prepared to enjoy the incredible adventure of heli-skiing while minimizing risks and ensuring a memorable experience.



Heli-skiing is an adrenaline-fueled adventure that offers skiers the opportunity to explore remote and untouched mountain slopes, providing an unparalleled skiing experience. To fully enjoy this extraordinary adventure, it’s essential to prepare both physically and mentally and prioritize safety at all times.


By following the tips and exercises outlined in this article, you will be well-equipped for your heli-skiing adventure. Assess your skill level honestly, take lessons if needed, and invest in the right gear suited for off-piste skiing. Engage in fitness and strength training exercises to build the necessary endurance and muscle strength, focusing on cardiovascular exercises, leg and lower body workouts, core and balance exercises, as well as flexibility and mobility training.


Always prioritize safety by choosing certified operators and experienced guides who prioritize avalanche safety and adhere to safety protocols. Maintain your equipment and be aware of weather conditions, communicating effectively with your guides and fellow skiers. Stay alert, listen to your body, and adapt to the terrain and conditions accordingly.


Heli-skiing presents thrilling challenges and rewards, but it’s crucial to approach it with respect and preparation. With the right mindset, proper training, and adherence to safety considerations, you’ll be able to fully embrace the exhilaration and freedom of heli-skiing.


Remember, heli-skiing is not just a physical activity, but a journey into uncharted territory. It’s an opportunity to connect with nature, challenge yourself, and create lasting memories. So, lace up your boots, strap on your gear, and get ready to soar to new heights on your next heli-skiing adventure.