The mountains of Switzerland are among the most popular places on the planet among winter sports enthusiasts, and for good reason. Here, visitors are able to enjoy spectacular scenery, excellent levels of snow cover and world-class hospitality, with plenty of luxury hotels and apres-ski bars and restaurants on hand to enjoy. Such popularity means, of course, that some of the best-loved slopes can get crowded, especially at the height of the season, while, for some experienced skiers, getting up and down the main runs of the big resorts can be a little too easy. This is where heli-skiing comes into its own.
Quite simply, booking a ride on a helicopter means you can get high up an untracked mountain and enjoy an unobstructed ride down pristine slopes, all the while taking in breathtaking views of the Alpine peaks and valleys around you. Heli-ski tours are, of course, far more costly than simply buying a lift pass and joining hundreds of others on a crowded slope. The good news, however, is that, booking as part of a group can bring the price down significantly, giving you and your friends access to some of the most beautiful and untouched parts of the Swiss Alps.
Just some of the most popular spots among heli-ski enthusiasts include Wildhorn, a 3,247 metre peak lying between Valais and Bern and, above all, Petit Combin, a peak almost 3,700 metres high from which it’s possible to ride down untouched slopes to the picturesque village of Fionnay. As well as challenging downhill off-piste rides, heli-skiing also gives visitors to this part of Switzerland to get high up into the mountains and enjoy cross-country skiing, meaning they can escape the crowds, soak in the stunning views across the Alpine valleys and potentially even spot the native wildlife.
For instance, the run along the ridge of the spectacular Trient Glacier, also just a short distance from Bern, is ideal for skimming the ridges and taking in the views before heading downhill to the quaint village of Champex, though, as with all heli-skiing excursions, having an experienced guide there is compulsory.