Jen’s Hakuba Heli-Skiing Experience
Jen made her first foray into the exciting world of heli-skiing with Tsugiake Kogen in the Hakuba Valley and shared the best moments of her trip with us.
Is heli-skiing the ultimate skiing experience?
Yes I believe heli-skiing is the ultimate skiing experience (but I don't believe Hakuba was the ultimate venue for me to do it - not as long, steep or as deep powder as we would have liked).
Do you have to be an expert to do it?
No you don't have to be an expert to do it in Hakuba - it is an experience you could do as a family of intermediate skiers. In most places you need to be much more advanced.
Was it as fun as it looked?
It was as much fun as it looked - beautiful weather and views, out in the Japanese mountains with wonderful people, fresh tracks for us all.
Was the helicopter flight exciting or frightening?
I found the helicopter flight exciting as I had never been in a helicopter before. It wasn't as exciting for others who had done it - although the views were stunning. It may be frightening for people with a fear of heights or flying.
How amazing was the view from the mountaintop?
Incredible views from the mountain top and whilst in the helicopter and skiing.
Is Hakuba the best place to try heli-skiing for the first time?
Yes I believe Hakuba is a great place for your first heli-ski as it is intermediate, not too cold, safe and beautiful. It's is only a short heli ride if you have a fear of flying.
How did it compare to skiing at the resort?
It's a great opportunity to ski out of the resort safely. It is very affordable in Hakuba, only $140 AUD a trip ( not much different to an Australian lift ticket!) You ski back down into a resort (Tsugiake Kogen) - where you can ski for the rest of the day if you choose.
Was it an all-day trip or just a few hours?
The trip was just a couple of hours. Flight, 20 minute hike to 2200m (but you could hike another hour up another peak if you wanted to start higher) and a 14km ski back down (stopping for a few photos).
What was the name of the heli-skiing operator?
Tsugiake Kogen in the Hakuba Valley run this trip. Inquiries can be made from the Tsugiake Kogen Tourist Association on 0261832515.
What were the staff and guides like?
Staff were very good and lots of them but had very limited English.
What was your group like?
We didn't stay with the 2 other Japanese on our flight (language barriers contribute to that). However, our group with Gary and Anthony were great and we enjoyed this time together a lot. We created some very good memories together. Gary and Anthony had just celebrated their birthdays (57 & 60) so a heli ski was part of both their bucket lists.
Were there any fun surprises on your heli-skiing trip?
No real surprises except the quality of the weather and the sensational views.
Was it a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity? Or will you definitely do it again?
I would definitely like to do this again many times - preferably longer, steeper and more fresh powder in the many locations worldwide that offer this experience. I'd happily take my kids (who are 9 & 11 and strong skiers) on this adventure again.
Going heli-skiing this coming season? Let us know what you're up to on the Pure Brandz Facebook page!