TOP HELI SKI DESTINATIONS 2018 “Off the beaten track”
HELI SKI REPORT // “Off the beaten track” // Taking powder skiing to a another level!
The ultimate powder skiing experience, escape the crowded lifts and explore breathtaking wilderness of off-piste skiing excursions. Cut through knee-deep powder to the helicopter waiting at the bottom of each run to whisk you up again to the top of another magnificent powder filled peak. Only thing left to do is choose the next destination to do it all over again.
Florian Kohlbecker, founder of Black Forest Skis, has been a lover of great heights and paving the way for new heli-ski destinations, he has toured some of the world’s top heli ski destinations, some undiscovered, to find the ultimate terrain to test the 2018 Black Forest Collection of All Mountain and Powder Skis.
Every heli ski destination is vastly different from the next, Black Forest Skis brings you the ‘101’ on each of our four favourite ‘off the beaten track’ Heli-Ski destination, to make this powder dream a reality and help you to choose which destination is best for you!
1. Mestia, Georgia
• longest run is 2.3km
• closest public ski resorts: Tetnuldi, Uschba (connecting from Tbilisi by plane, or a 6 hour bus ride from Batumi (which happens to be the most popular and easier connection).
• closest airport: Natakhtari, Kutaisi
Intensive low pressure systems build up over the Black Sea and result in massive snowfalls in this mountain region, with around 20 meters of snow per year the western end of the Lower Caucasus guarantees all level of off piste riders perfect powder conditions.
The peaks reach more than 3,000 meters, the mountains are deeply covered in snow from the start of November. The diversity of terrain of this magnificent ski region, just at the very edge of Europe, is by far the best Heli Ski Destination with perfect snow conditions, very nice accommodation and most intense endless glacier skiing.
The 101 on Mestia, Georgia heli skiing:
- You are surrounded by Glaciers, mountains, no one around, endless views, complete white wilderness among the clouds and beautiful ‘tree skiing’ terrain. The terrain is more than 1600 square kilometres and the runs stretch to all directions with every possible degree of inclination.
- Heliskiing consists of a 20 minute flight into the depths of the Caucasus mountains in the Khulo valley. You cannot ski down to base camp, the helicopter collects you and takes you back down.
- One of the highest heli ski regions over, 4,300m – ski the 2 highest heli ski mountains 4,858 Tetnuldi and 4,737m Uschba mountains.
- The highest mountain of Europe can be viewed from the top of the heli ski re – The Elbrus 5,642m.
- After skiing many places this is my favourite and most recommended place to visit despite the 6 hour bus ride OR 1 hour helicopter flight to base camp.
- The accommodation has all the home comforts, big rooms with breathtaking views, great local food, evening drinks by the open fire with the group.
- The helicopter is parked right next to the accommodation. Austrian helicopter company with pilots from Alps, provides piece of mind and the highest safety standards.
- Small, exclusive groups with 1 guide for 4 guests, each experience and level of riding tailored to the group.
- On the first morning there will be a safety briefing and practical test to make you comfortable with the Standards in heliskiing. All safety equipment is provided by the company.
There is only one company organising Heli-Skiing in Georgia – check out
2. Kamchatka, Russia
Longest heli ski run: over 2,000 altitude metres
• Closest ski resorts in the region not to be missed: Kamchatka Olympic Ski Resort (Avachinskiy ski complex) – 13.8km of slopes / 18 ski lifts; Ski the Petropavlovsk ski station with view of the submarine harbour
• Nearest airport: Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky
Florian Kohlbecker and Flory Kern were the first western europeans to take a ME-8 Helicopter and explore the region. In 2002. The first heliskiers. This is the top destination for scenery and wildlife, experience views of live volcanoes, ski down to frozen rivers with seals and sea lions and of course not to forget, local Russian hospitality, natural underground geyser spas and nightlife.
101 on Heli Skiing in Kamchatka, Russia.
- It was a military, restricted zone until end of the 90’s, forbidden to travel there.
- The unmissable natural scenery – surrounded by volcanoes from the ring of fire (tectonic plate line from north
- You can ski down from the highest volcanoes of 4,000M to the frozen beaches and watch sea lions and seals.
- Valley of the geysiers, home to many public spas. After a hard day skiing you can have a rest in the hot springs and rivers across the landside.
- You can look into the burning volcanoes and ski through vast off piste forest ski runs.
- The real Russian hospitality and nightlife in Petropavlovsk.
- The best seafood as the Kamchatka crab, fresh fish roe, caviar and vodka.
- The accommodation is very simple and basic, nothing special to be expected.
- You must check if you need a visa to Russia before you book.
3. Himalayas, Kashmir
• Total length of slopes – over 3000 vertical meters of skiable terrain
• Ski resorts in Kashmir: Gulmarg ski resort; the Khyber Himalayan Resort
• Closest airport: Srinagar domestic airport; New Delhi International Airport (connection)
You are in the highest mountain in the world, there is no higher peak, immersed into the local culture, you ski very close to the equator, the weather conditions are warm and the snow gets very heavy in the spring time and wet. The local scenery and culture is truly unique in Kashmire, the food, the people and culture. Visit Kashmir with an open mind and an open heart and you will be welcomed with open arms.
- The highest heli skiing out of the 4 regions visited over 5,000m – the SA315B Lama helicopter allowed us to fly higher than the average altitude.
- Experience unimaginable views of seas, saffron fields, ancient temples, incredible tree skiing through protected forests of towering Himalayan Cedars as tall as 60m.
- You can see the highest mountains in the world, the “broad peek” 8,051 metre high mountain – from base camp.
- All the highest mountains in the world are based in the Himalayas – Mount Everest, K2, Kangchendzönga, Lhotse, Makalu, Cho Oyu, Dhaulagiri I, Manaslu, Nanga Parbat, Annapurna I, Hidden Peak, Broad Peak, Gasherbrum II und Shishapangma.
- The Kashmiri food is incredible – fusion of spices.
- Be immersed in the culture, buy the local Kashmir scarves and art.
4. Alborz, Iran
• Length of slopes: longest run in the world accesable by the cabin in Teheran. Great experience.
• Closest resorts: Dizin ski resort; Shemshak Ski resort & complex
• Closest airport: Payam international airport; Mehrabad international airport
• Area called: Dizin, Shemshak, Tochal
Florian Kohlbecker and Flory Kern were the first people to heliski the last 25+ years in Iran. Their trip started in February 2017. They went on an exploratory trip, in order to check the mountains, for commercial heli ski holidays for Flory Kerns Clients.
When talking about Iran, we do not think about skiing, mountains or snow right away. Negative reports about this beautiful country are constantly in the news. However, everyone who has been to Iran before only has positive things to tell about the people, the spectacular nature, the wild mountains and yes: the safety in the Country. In March 2017 we had our first pioneer heliski trip to Iran and once again we dared to make that challenge. But challenge is probably the wrong word: the right contacts, the right people and a professional helicopter company made this trip a highlight! That is also the reason why Flory Kern carries out the trip again in 2018 with a group of eager Heli-Skers.
The 101 on Alborz, Iran
- Scenery of the Alborz mountains and the charm of the old ski resorts created in the 70’s, built under the regime of the Schah of Persia. He wanted to host the Olympic Games and even the highest casino project in the world half finished, can be seen at 4000m.
- Meeting the local people, the hospitality is really something to look forward to.
- Being immersed in the existing ancient persian culture.
- Tehran is the Metropolis of 15 million, great Iranian cuisine and plenty of rooftop bars.
- Travel one of the world’s longest gondolas 1800-3900m and ski runs over 2000m.
- The first public heli-ski trips to Iran will run in 2018.
- Kaisha Fandaria, an experienced pilot takes groups to the most beautiful runs above 4000 meters with a brand new Eurocopter AS 350.
- Accommodation is centrally located in the great ski resort of Dizin.
- In the North, between the capital of Teherand and the Caspian Sea, the Elburs Mountains are located with its highest peak Damavand at 5604 Meters and several other mountains higher than 4000 meters. The Elburs Mountains are deeply covered with snow from November until May. Low pressure areas come in from the Caspian Sea and result in snowfalls at the northern dispositions of the mountains.
- Most of the flights arrive at Khomeini Airport early in the mornings. It takes around 2 hours to reach your destination Dizin from the airport with a minibus.
- The last ski run of the day ends in a small local mountain village, where the locals welcome you in their typical, friendly way: with tea, cookies and conversations with hands and feet.
Check Out – http://www.flory-kern.de/heliskiing for the top heli-ski excursions for 2018. Make sure to book early as spaces are limited.