Here's an old post from a very experienced Ski Pilot, very good Info.
I put this together as a basic information package on heliskiing. It's not everything that you need to know, but it's a start. In the past some have ripped it apart, I suppose that's to be expected on the internet. Take from it what you can. If anybody has something to add to it, please do. "4961" There are several things to consider before a days work heli-skiing. The following are just a few: 1) Weather: 1) Your personal level of training and visibility limitations (are you half mile rated?) 2) What are the temperature and the due point, and how will it effect your day? 3) Fog and cloud in relationship to imbedded snow. 4) Is there going to be any icing, where and at what level? 5) What is the weather trend for the day? How will it affect you? 6) Find the wind direction and the speed. 7) Use the WAT chart for the 212. For the Astar, will you be torque limited or NG? Power management is critical in mountain flying, do everything that you can to insure that you will have sufficient power to provide safe approaches. This being said the weather is usually the largest contributing factor in heliskiing mishaps. Arm yourself with all the information that you can. Use the discreet radio to get information on the weather in other places in the tenure. “Operation white thong” is a humorous way of getting the point across that the weather is unacceptable for continued operations. Pull out and go home. If you’re flying more than one group, anticipate how long it’s going to take you to pull out all of your groups compared to how the weather is degrading. If need be, shuttle groups to a place that can be used as a staging area as you pull the other groups out of the hills. 2) Mountain Flying: a) The recci, gather information on: 1) Wind speed and direction; find the line of demarcation, both good and bad air. 2) Available references at the landing area. As well as available reference for an aborted landing. 3) Terrain, slope and obstacles. Use and eye level pass, where is the tail going to go? Is the spot level? How deep is the snow? Will the blades clear the reference once the nose sinks in? 4) Approach and departure paths. On Approach be sure to always: 1) Plan your approach paths using your best reference, including your abort. 2) Plan your approach so that you remain un-committed for as long as possible. 3) Leave yourself an out until the last possible moment. 4) Complete a power check before you’re committed to the spot. 5) Plan a level touch down, no sideways movement. 6) Avoid a large run on landing. Never: 1) Loose sight of your reference, sliding past your stake or rock. Be sure to have control of your rate of closure. 2) Flair at touchdown, you will put the tail into the snow. 3) Commit to the spot before it is necessary. 4) Assume the wind at the landing area. c) Departures: 1) Vertical take off to clear out of the snowball from the rotor wash, also to clear the tail rotor from the clients. 2) Do a power check before committing to a take off; be sure that the skids are free from the snow. Don’t assume that you have the power. 3) Maintain your reference at all costs. 4) Getting a full group off the bottom of the hill can be the most challenging piece of flying that a pilot will do during a days heliskiing. Picking up at the base of a glacier with level terrain behind is a maneuver that will take lots of power. Be sure, if not, split the group. 3) Reference Management: a) Always maintain your reference. If this is becoming difficult then maybe its time to get out of that area. Always turn towards your reference; never give it away until you have a fix on your next reference. c) Remember that scale can be very difficult to judge. Be sure of the size of the object that you are, half buried steak, or a tree (is it big or small) think about how the illusion will affect your rate of closure. d) It is harder to go downhill than uphill. Don’t get suckered into going for the landing when the vis is poor. Once you are there, your only half way. Once you’re off the landing in poor visibility, control your ground speed. Diving for the valley in bad weather is a recipe for disaster. e) Have the demisting on before the clients get in the machine. 4) Operations: a) Always maintain good communications with whom ever is flight watching. Staking new landings with clients on board will be done (as all things) at the pilots discretion, and saved for sunny days and favorable winds. c) Your job is to fly the helicopter and decide where and when it is safe to fly and land, not the guides! d) Don’t park the helicopter in an area that is exposed to avalanche. e) If you are uncomfortable, or unsure, don’t do it. Error on the side of safety every time. 5) Customer Pressure: a) The most common heliski accidents are lack of sufficient power to land or take off and loss of visual reference, the question is what happened? Why did this experienced pilot find himself in that position? Guides are not pilots, and have no say in aviation related decision making. Red flag phrases; “We can always get in there” “The last guy had no problem” “The rest of the groups are staying out” “It was fine a couple days ago” RECOGNIZE BAD ADVICE. c) Other peoples decision making should not affect yours. Very small difference in weather, loading, comfort levels, experience can make the difference between go and no-go. Make your own calls and stick by them. d) Make good safety calls, no matter what the customer says. We will back you up, every time. Heliskiing is no different than any other type of flying, our limits stay the same. e) One half mile flight visibility, clear of cloud at all times. Max gross weight or below, always. Remain within the c of g envelope during all stages of your flight. Remain clear of icing. If you are unsure, don’t do it.