Safety is the bottom line at Kenai Heli Ski! From what we fly, to where we ski, to how we ski, safety underpins every decision we make in the field, and on the ground. And luckily for you, fun is our second priority, so plan on a safe, fun week with Kenai Heli Ski!
Providing a safe skiing experience is our number one job. We incorporate management and mitigation techniques from the outdoor industry, aviation, and military to ensure we use the best tools available in our decision-making. We’ve created a culture of safety that colors everything we do.
Our guides are not only experienced, but highly trained as well. Every guide has medical training that is equivalent to professional ski patrollers (OEC), and most of our guides are EMTs. Our guides take pride in their profession and seek the highest levels of nationally and internationally recognized trainings and certifications. Many also work year round as mountain and river guides, and are accustomed to making guests feel comfortable in uncomfortable, and unfamiliar surroundings. All of the guides have advanced avalanche training certifications and course completions through the Canadian Avalanche Association or the American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education and many are also instructors for these organizations. Our guides are also trained or certified as ski guides with the American Mountain Guides Association and/or the Canadian Ski Guide Association. We are professionals who have worked (and still do) as ski patrollers, ski instructors, forecasters, guides, and on professional mountain rescue groups. We are trained to mitigate risk in the field, and successfully handle any situation that may arise. Guest safety is our number one priority.
Kenai Heli Ski is dedicated to providing the most cutting edge safety standards in the industry. We require that all guests and guides use avalanche airbag backpacks (we do not charge for avalanche airbags, all safety gear is included in all of our packages). We will also provide each guest with a harness, avalanche transceiver, shovel, and probe. Along with the gear we provide instruction in the competent and efficient use of our safety equipment, and the latest applied avalanche risk management techniques.
Training doesn’t stop after the first safety briefing; our guides will keep you informed about weather, terrain hazards, safety in and around the helicopters, skiing protocols, snow stability, and avalanche hazard. Plan on being part of a team throughout the week, and being a part of group safety.
All guests will take part in our general orientation to help acquaint you with what to expect during your stay. We will then do a hands on approach on avalanche hazard, safety, gear, and rescue, as well as mountain and skiing protocols. An aircraft briefing will cover what you need to know about travelling in and around the aircraft.
Training does not end here. Each day you will receive a weather report, plan for the day, and partake in trailhead procedures. Snow and weather conditions help determine where we ski, the terrain often dictates how we move through it. Your guide will be in constant communication with you on where we are going, how we will go about it, and what hazards you need to be aware of, and avoid.
Kenai Heli Ski operates a dedicated snow safety program. Our guides are professionals and will take field observations throughout each day, perform snowpack tests, and monitor up to the minute weather conditions, all so that we can evaluate and forecast snow stability and avalanche hazard. This helps us choose safe runs…and it lets us find the best snow too.
There will be many times where your guide will be performing snowpack tests to gather data and evidence. This helps to make well informed decisions regarding the avalanche hazard evaluation, snow conditions, snow stability, and risk assessment.
Avalanches are a concern for all of us. We take avalanche safety, mountain safety, and aircraft safety very seriously. We want our guests to have a safe, and enjoyable experience. We apply the latest avalanche risk management techniques and forecasting procedures, as well as practice established safe skiing and group management techniques, avoidance, and good decision making. We ask our guests to respect the decision making process, and all decisions that are made for safety. Kenai Heli Ski will not compromise on this. Please remember there is always inherent risks involved when skiing, even when all risk control measures are in place.
Skiing the Steeps
Alaska has gained a reputation for some of the best steep skiing in the world. Our goal is to provide you with a once in a lifetime powder skiing experience and provide the ability for skiers to challenge themselves. However, skiing the steep lines requires the right combination of weather, snowpack stability, snow quality, skiing ability, and teamwork. When conditions permit, and guests have established confidence and trust with their guide, the opportunity to work into steeper and exposed terrain can be permitted.