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Any Thoughts?

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Food for thought, for sure.


My background before flying was as an avalanche tech and ski patroller, so I'm of two minds about this.


I think it's great that a group of competent skiers (or hikers, climbers, mountain bikers or what have you) can divvy up a 0.3 between them all for not too much out of each pocket. Adventure tourism is a growing market, and as a pilot I'd love to spend my career in an environment that could support this kind of flying.


There is a bit of a precedent set, too. I don't think heli drops are anything new; I have several friends who have hired a machine for both ski touring trips and DH mountain bike drops. By and large, they are skilled and competent in their disciplines (many are ski guides or pro patrollers out on their own time), and are well prepared to take care of themselves and accept the consequences of their actions in the backcountry. By the same token, many ski hills also afford 'easy access' to the backcountry in the form of one-ride ski passes - these generally aren't featured in their brochure, but are more of an open secret for the savvy ski tourer to get themselves into the backcountry a little quicker.


Both scenarios work on the tacit understanding that once you've left the helicopter or gone beyond the ski area boundary, you're on your own, and responsible for yourself.


However, what worries me is how easy it is for the less-than-competent to swipe a credit card and an hour later find themselves in a situation that is way beyond the scope of their abilities. Even in a group of self-proclaimed experts, there's always potential for things to go bad, which brings us to the meat of the argument, and that's...


Who is liable when things go wrong? Common sense dictates that folks out in the woods should take care of themselves, but time and again we read about a large scale and multi-agency rescue effort - paid for by all of us - for a sledder or skier that's lost or injured (or worse) in the backcountry.


On a slightly related note - there was a news story a while back about a woman whose husband died in a heli-ski accident. She filed a suit against the late skier's assigned ski buddy for not doing enough to prevent her husband from falling in a tree well and suffocating. I doubt the lawsuit will go much further, but it's a frightening precedent if it does.


Presumably the same litigious attitude could have a profound effect on a heli operator that just wants to pick up the odd revenue hour from keen clients. An easy solution would be to have clients sign an clearly-worded waiver, but the risk managers and insurance adjusters I've worked with over the years tell me waivers actually don't carry much clout in court.


Good discussion - keep it going!


- Darren

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"30 minutes to warm up the bird ?"


Really ? :huh:

We ALWAYS do 30 minute warm up flights into the mountain during heli ski season. It's not like the paying guests are awake and expect us to be flying for them exclusivly!


In other news; were going bankrupt.


Like Flingwinger said, it's ski-bum porn.

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"if someone dies I will stop dropping" I wonder if that is in his sops? There was a situation in Pemberton prolly around 20 years ago where someone did die in avalanche, it was not the helicopter company's fault but they were still mired in the shytestorm that surrounded it. I really don't think the heli company can do much to prevent stupidy but they need to ensure they are authorized to take per seat paying customers and the proper insurance is in place. We used to take paragliders and such up to drop off, not a big deal what people do after you drop them off but the public really needs to understand that they are not covered under any insurance and are completely responsible for their own safety once out of the helicopter. Where as most legit heli-ski ops will look after you to a point.

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