In the last few years, the seekers of true luxury in the snow sphere have started moving away from the big-name resorts, the overrun fancy hotel rooms and even the expect-to-find destinations - something else has come into play and that is entry to remote slopes that are just inaccessible to the average snow addict. Helicopters have made this desire more popular, and with a few exclusive destinations in the world, heli-snowboarding is making serious tracks.
Danielle Stynes, the managing director of SwisSKIsafari.com describes this in-the-back-of-beyond trend as the ultimate desire of snow connoisseurs who don't want "to see a crowded lift at all during their trip". One of her latest trips is aimed at these snow buffs: a private chalet in a small alpine village crowned by off-piste door to door snowboarding and, of course, heli-drops at the highest peaks of the mountains.
Although helicopters weren't part of the sport from its first official bellow in the 1960s, the idea of being able to take your fibreglass and polyethylene board to the top of the mountain where nobody else has access to simply by hopping on to a helicopter wasn't far fetched at all. The pioneers of heli-snowboarding, Canadian Mountain Holidays (CMH), introduced a small helicopter to the mountains of western Canada and has over 50 years attracted the buffs of unblemished powder snow while building lodges and adding more sophisticated helicopters.
"As the founder, Hans Gmoser, had first pick of the best areas to ski in British Columbia, we now have over 3.1 million acres [1.3 million hectares] of skiable terrain - the largest in the world," says Jeremy Roche, CMH director of marketing and retail.
Even Richard Branson, Virgin's magic sovereign, spent a season at the CMH Valemount Lodge in the Columbia Mountains with family and friends. According to Branson's Virgin blog, the lot of them were "privileged to experience some of the most beautiful conditions we've ever skied in".
For your interest, here are the websites of CMH and SwisSKIsafari.
CMH Heli-Skiing - Take Flight (through the Rocky Mountains of British Columbia):