You want to draw the perfect line in the fresh powder snow, far away from the hustle and bustle of the ski resorts, but without an arduous ascent? Heliskiing makes it possible. With a helicopter, you get away from the slopes and up to lonely peaks. At the top, untouched deep-snow slopes await enthusiastic freeriders. If you want to experience this extraordinary experience in Austria, you have only one choice: Lech Zürs am Arlberg.
An exclusive adventure
The mix of lonely nature, finest powder and adrenalin make heliskiing an extraordinary skiing experience. The journey alone is spectacular. In small groups, a helicopter drops the skiers and snowboarders off in the middle of the untouched mountain world. Once the pilot is gone, the first thing to do is to enjoy the silence and the magnificent panorama before the freeriders plunge into the wide deep-snow slopes.
The offer is particularly large in Canada. But you don't have to cross the Atlantic Ocean to experience heliskiing. Also in the Alps there are numerous possibilities. In Austria, however, the offer is quite limited.
Heliskiing at Ski Arlberg
Lech Zürs is the only place in Austria where heliskiing is possible. However, those interested have two different destinations to choose from: the 2,652-metre-high Mehlsack peak and the Schneetäli at 2,450 metres. The departure point for both peaks is either the Flexenpass near Zürs or the Kriegerhorn near Lech. The latter is located in the skiing area. To start here you need a ski pass.
The Mehlsack is only suitable for experienced freeriders. Downhill variants are available here, for example in the direction of Älpele. In spring the sunny slopes of the firn downhill run to Lake Spullersee are particularly popular. The ski guide will help you choose the best variant.
The Schneetal-Orgelscharte makes it clear that you don't have to be a freeride professional to go heliskiing. Here, also skiers with intermediate skills can enjoy fantastic firn runs. Nevertheless, a certain amount of experience on skis or snowboard is also required here. Heliskiing is not for beginners. From the landing point below the Orgelscharte the downhill run starts into the Schneetal as far as behind Zug.
Spontaneity and budget required
Heliskiing excursions at Ski Arlberg can be booked directly with the ski schools. They also provide the necessary ski guide, without whom heliskiing is not permitted. However, the exclusive powder adventure is not really cheap. The packages cost between 490 and 550 euros per flight and are offered for a maximum of four people, i.e. three passengers and a guide. The mountain guide is not yet included in the price.
Whether heliskiing is possible depends on the weather, snow conditions and the availability of ski guides. Therefore, dates cannot be booked long in advance but only at short notice. There are no flights on weekends and public holidays.
Other heliskiing locations in the Alps
Lech Zürs may be the only heliskiing spot in Austria, but in the other Alpine countries there is also the possibility to be taken by helicopter to the deep snow paradise.
There are numerous heliskiing offers in Switzerland, for example in Zermatt, Gstaad, Jungfrau Region or St. Moritz. Helicopters are also used in Italy for skiing. In the Aosta Valley, the Courmayeur ski region, nestled in the Mont Blanc massif, offers heliskiing excursions to the famous Vallée Blanche freeride run to Chamonix. The area around the Monte Rosa also invites you to heliski from Gressoney.
In Germany and France, heliskiing is not permitted due to environmental regulations. Therefore the Arlberg is the only heliski spot in Austria. Some French ski resorts circumvent this ban by offering flights to the adjacent Italian side, from where the descent then leads back to the French territory.