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heli-havok

Heli Ski/ Winter Mountain Ops...

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One thing I might add would be to treat your "last lift" time as an unbreakable rule. Consider it as a " if everything s**t the bed right now (i.e. size 3 avalanche with multiple burials), I am confident that I would have enough time to properly carry out a rescue. By this I mean you will need to act as the central cog in an incredible complex and dynamic situation. Emotions will be on high, responders can experience shock, digging avalanche debris is like digging concrete, your aircraft may need to play multiple roles as "responder", taxi cab for additional rescuers, and medivac transport for critically injured. Don't forget that they'll all want a ride home to the lodge at the end of it all too. From my experience, thats a lot to pile into any "end of the day" scenario. Very little goes "exactly to plan" so extra daylight is always nice to have.

 

By the way, I don't mean to imply that we don't work with professionals; 99.9% of the guides I have flown with in my time are totally "on it". It's just the fact that we are dealing with human beings, and when dealing with human beings, especially in highly stressful situations, you want to have your ducks in a row so to speak. Consider the fact that on a "blue-bird" day this type of occurrence is going ratchet up your stress-level and workload considerably! So when you factor in fading daylight, or any kind of weather which is less than stellar, you now have your hands very very full. Again you do not want to find yourself pushing daylight in any heliski scenario. You will find that most guides have considered this scenario also and will be duly respectful of this limitation of time and daylight, however as with any area in life, there are some people out there that like to push the rules more than others. Overall, if you plan on heliskiing as a long term gig, you will need to set yourself some limitations right from the start. Some guides will push to see how far you'll go (weather, landing spots, etc.) and it is your job to let them know you are serious about the limits you've set right from the start. Just like the fact that you're serious about the limit they set for themselves as "last lift".

 

Good luck and have fun!

 

Ben

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