My hobby: heliskiing
Interview with Petra Kitzberger
You’re a true heliskiing fan and have already been on many trips. How often have you been heliskiing and how did you get into it in the first place?
Yes, that’s true, I’ve already been heliskiing seven times in total. My husband went heliskiing with a few friends and had such a great time that I also really wanted to experience that feeling. That came about in 2010 and we’ve been “addicted” since then.
Can you still remember your first time in a helicopter –what was it like for you?
It was incredibly wonderful. I was so excited when the helicopter arrived at the heliport and collected us. The flight is really impressive when you see the mountains from a completely new perspective. And then this tingling all over your body when you jump out of the helicopter up on the peak and see this panorama of the mountains covered in deep snow. I still get goosebumps when I think about the first time up there.
Where have you been flying and have enjoyed phenomenal descents?
I’ve been to Canada, to Zermatt and on the Arlberg once.
Last year you went to Zermatt after having been to Canada the past few years. How was your holiday there, and can you recommend the destination for heliskiing beginners?
What is different in Zermatt compared with Canada?
In Zermatt, you have one flight per day, but an incredible backdrop with so many four-thousanders surrounding you. In Canada, the descents are shorter, but the helicopter waits for you down at the bottom and then you fly up to the next peak–several times a day.The snow in Zermatt is different and can’t be compared with the powder-like icing sugarin Canada, which is very airy and makes perfect sprays possible.
Who do you go with on heliskiing trips?
Always with my husband, we do every sport together. This makes the experience twice as wonderful. Our daughter also came with us recently to Canada and Zermatt, and seems to have caught the bug too. So, it was three times as wonderful.
So what does a day of heliskiing look like? How many flights can you manage in a day?
How do you prepare for the heliskiing, since it’s very strenuous physically?
I train regularly all year long. If I’ve booked a trip, I train in a targeted way three to four times a week for four months before hand. Balance, strength and endurance. That means that I am always very well prepared–the rest is technique.
What other challenges does heliskiing pose?
You should have some experience in powder and be able to ski well in any snow conditions, otherwise it’s a fight and a strain for both yourself and the group. And you should not be afraid of heights or of flying.
Do you already have plans for where you want to go next? What’s on your bucket list?
Livigno in Italy is on my list. And I’m sure we’ll fly to Canada again–that’s where our favourite guide is, after all.