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Heli skiing in Kamchatka, Russia
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Heli skiing in Kamchatka

In the far east of Russia, situated between the Okhotsk Sea to the West and the Bering Sea to the east, the Kamchatka Peninsula is a remote and isolated land that is the size of Germany, Austria and Switzerland combined with a population of just 377,900 - 250,000 of whom live in the capital Petropavlovsk.

At 4,750 metres, Kljutschevskayay is the highest of the peninsula's 200 volcanoes, 29 of which are active - making it the greatest concentration of volcanoes found anywhere on earth. Its significance as a strategic military base, its low population density, few roads and lack of large-scale development have left the vast majority of the peninsula untainted by human hands and it is now globally recognized as an area of highly significant biodiversity.

The Heliskiing

Heli-skiing in Kamchatka is about adventure in a wild and untouched land and is most suited to those who actively seek this kind of experience. Although it often is, heli skiing in Kamchatka is not always about skiing endless slopes of bottomless powder. Good powder is common but one should expect a normal week to throw most types of snow conditions imaginable, from superb spring snow, to sun and wind crust, rimed boiler plate and everything in between.

Averaging around 1,300 vertical metres and up to OVER 3,000 metres, the runs here are long - very long. Many are typified by low gradient run outs that go for miles and miles allowing you to sit back and let the skis run while you try to take in the immensity of your surroundings.

The scenery is like nothing on this earth and at times so dramatic that it is impossible not to stop every couple of turns trying to take it all in. The terrain is very varied from one area to another with some good tree skiing at lower elevations, big volcanic faces, long steep couloirs, wide open bowls, and long, mellow cruisers.

Lodging

At the start of the 2009 season we moved the operations base from the Hotel Petropavlovsk in the centre of town, to the hotel Antarius in Paratunka - the hot spring valley. This move has greatly improved the overall heli-ski experience, one of the main advantages being that we can now land right outside the hotel, avoiding the 30 minute drive to the heliport.

The hotel has good facilities, massage is available and there are natural hot springs and a sauna on the doorstep. Communication facilities are good making it entirely practical to keep up with work if need be. The food maybe a little repetitive but is reasonably good - a regular highlight being the prized, Kamchatka King Crab washed down with lashings of ice cold vodka! Service is as you would expect from a hotel in Russia that has only just had its first western guests. It is not what you would expect from a similar hotel in the west...but things are improving steadily.

If you fancy something cleansing and a little different you can pop into town for a bit of "deep purgation procedure" or perhaps a couple of dance moves at one of Kamchatka's legendary night clubs.

Helicopters & Safety

The extremely powerful, Russian built M18 helicopters are the standard machine used in Kamchatka. The helicopters are particularly well suited to the local heli-skiing terrain and are rigorously serviced and maintained according to international maintenance procedures. Both pilots and engineers are highly experienced well-trained and qualified professionals. Each group of skiers or boarders is accompanied by a U.I.A.G.M certified European guide as well as a highly experienced Russian guide. Although the Russians may not hold the same level of certification as the European ones, their local knowledge and communication with the pilots is essential. All of the guides have a great deal of heli-skiing experience and all guests are supplied with ABS avalanche air bags, shovel and probe.

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Why Heli Ski Here?

  • Possibly THE most unique heli-ski experiences available today.
  • Unexplored terrain in one of the wildest and most remote heli-ski destinations in the world
  • All of our heli-ski trips to Kamchatka operate with just one group per helicopter
  • Long, long descents with mind-blowing views of the Bering Sea and the surrounding volcanos.
  • Ski / Ride to the beach, into the craters of volcanoes and to remote hot springs.