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HELI-SKIING IN CANADA: SAFETY RISES - James Cove, PlanetSKI Editor
Monday August 26, 2019 - Email this article to a friend

Off piste is dangerous. Using a helicopter to get to the wild stuff in Canada could be more so, but it's getting safer.

 

 

 

 

The findings come in a new report from Simon Fraser University.

"The report found that the risk of dying in avalanches has come down dramatically," said safety expert, Pascal Haegeli.

The researchers gathered the data set from a number of different sources, including HeliCat Canada (the trade organisation for the helicopter- and snowcat-skiing industry), individual operations, the Canadian avalanche accident database, the BC Coroners Service and WorkSafe BC.

The study draws on 713 incidents that resulted in injuries or fatalities among guests or guides during a total of 3,258,000 skier days from the 1970 to 2016 winter season.

While the risk of death from avalanches decreased over the study period, the study found that avalanches remain the largest contributor to overall risk of death at 77%.

This was followed by tree wells and other non-avalanche-related snow immersions.

The report found there were about 85 fatalities per million skier days in the 1970s, that figure has decreased to about 10 per million skier days from 2010 to 2016.

The decrease, explained Haegeli, owes to improved risk-management procedures among operators, better rescue technology, and improved "avalanche awareness."

Helicopter skiing, over the duration of the study, was found to be slightly more dangerous, with 19.4 deaths per million skier days compared to 16.2 with cat skiing.

PlanetSKI last heliskied in Canada back in 2016 as we passed through Revelstole in British Columbia on an RV trip.

Revelstoke, British Columbia, CanadaHeli heaven

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Revelstoke, British Columbia, CanadaRevelstoke, British Columbia, Canada

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

See here for this related and in-depth story on skiing in Canada for next winter.

Currently there is no single-location reporting system in place for the Canada heli-skiing industry and the report calls for one.

A move supported by the operators.

For the Spirit of the Mountains - PlanetSKI: Number One for ski news

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