Pedaling up, the ol’ hike-a-bike, shuttling and riding the lift at the bike park are all perfectly fine ways to get yourself to the top of your descent, but there’s still a much better option out there.
Nothing truly compares to the experience of heli biking. It might come from a chapter in your book of wild fantasies, but strapping your bike to a heli with a few of your friends is far more attainable than it might seem. Renting the bird is bit more than a day pass to the bike park, but there’s no chance you’ll regret it afterwards. The biggest barrier to making this dream a reality is finding a helicopter operation that’s set up to take a load of bikes. Where to go:
You might remember this Kiwi adventure mecca from our Endless Winter piece. Well, it’s not just a wintertime destination. Fat Tyre Adventures out of Queenstown can take you on any level of ride you desire in the many mountains surrounding the town. This is a particularly nice option that’s well established and caters to all skill levels.
For those of you who don’t know Revelstoke, it’s a lot like Whistler, BC, just a bit more inland, a bit less crowded and the mountains might even be a bit bigger. A stop at Selkirk Tangiers Heli Skiing in the summertime will get you, your bikes and your buddies into some amazing alpine terrain.
Chopper ahead. Photo: Marcus Riga
This South African biking destination is primarily a bike park, but for those looking to get even more adventurous, Rockslide Heli Biking runs a well-established heli scene out of the area. And if you want to test your skill against the best DH riders in the world on one of the best tracks in the world, Pietermaritzburg is just down the road. Ride the same lines on that infamous red clay that the UCI DH series races.
New Zealand really has it going on in terms of heli biking. There’s a pretty well established industry there that offers a huge variety of rides. Yes, it’s true that Queenstown has its own heli operation, but Wanaka might take the cake. It’s probably best to head down there and check out all the different heli services, but when you’re in Wanaka, Wanaka Bike Tours has you covered.
If you don’t take the time for the glory of your effortless shuttle to the top of a mountain, you’re missing the point. Photo: Wanaka Bike Tours
The Whistler Bike Park’s Top of the World trail is pretty close to a heli drop on its own, but if you want to really get out of town and skip the crowds, look no further than Blackcomb Aviation or Tyax Adventures. Blackcomb Aviation will drop you on one of several well-established heli accessible routes, and Tyax will take you deep into the Chilcotins to some of the best singletrack in the world. Ok, we lied, Tyax will take you via floatplane, not a heli, but it’s just as good and costs less to boot.
Say what? You’ve probably never heard of Pyatigorsk, but put this place on your radar. Russian Mountain Holidays runs a remote heli operation up there that focuses on climbing, skiing and videography. That last part is particularly rad, as they’ll capture your adventure for you with very polished results. They’re the first company to make heli bike trips in Russia and would probably entertain just about any harebrained heli-accessed adventure idea you might have. Just put up the money, bring the gear and they’ll be right there with you.
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