Heliskiing with Purcell is real fun. We had the pleasure to ride with them in February 2017.
Who are they?
Purcell Heliskiing is a family driven company. The senior boss, Rudi Gertsch, was born in Switzerland and emigrated to Canada in the late 60s. So the introduction can be held in german, too, if necessary. The whole team shares a love for skiing and the mountains and does its best to make it a great experience for the customer.
What do they offer?
Purcell is specialized in day heliskiing. So what we did was to book 2 separate days. The advantage was that for the second day we could skip the introduction and the material selection.
What do you need to bring?
Not much. They lend you the skis and the safety equipment. They have really fat powder skis and some snowboards – and you really need fat skis there.
How do you get there?
It is located in Golden. If you have to drive there in the morning calculate some extra time in order to be able to react to surprises. We went there from Banff on the Highway 1 and on the second day it was closed because it got hit by an avalanche. That gave us an extra 100km! ride via Radium Hotsprings to get there – luckily in time (more or less).
Do they group well?
Yes. Anyway you have to wait for the helicopter so you’re not in a hurry. Which terrain you can ski depends on the weather condition. If you really want to do steep stuff it might make sense to go towards the end of the season and ask for it in advance.
How many guides go with you?
We had a very good ratio – 9 guests, 3 guides. One to show you the way, one to secure difficult points – not many there anyway – and one that goes last to pick up those who fall.
Is the helicopter very big and spacious?
No. There’s a lot of contact with your colleagues – if you are very tall even more. But it’s okay – when the helicopter starts and everything starts to shake or when it flies a narrow curve it’s an advantage.
Is it expensive?
Is it worth it?
If you love freeriding, tree skiing and powder – yes.