During my life as a skier I’ve been very lucky to experience many diverse modes of transportation. I’ve always felt that the more challenging the path, the best adventures and the best stories follow. There’s nothing like a cup of coffee and a quick heli bump to jumpstart your day.
Below are 10 ways I’ve traveled from point A to point B in the constant search for good turns.
1. Heli Skiing
It’s hard not love heli skiing. The ability to get on top of big lines quickly and precisely is truly amazing. You don’t always get perfect conditions to ski any line you want, but when everything does come together, you know it will be a day to remember.
2. Burro Assisted
In the spring of 2014 I went to Peru to attempt to ski high elevation peaks and these burrows made our way into base camp a breeze. The really fun part was riding them out…
There’s nothing quite like a good day shredding your local resort. This is still one of my favourite ways to ride. You get tons of vert and it’s really low stress having the whole mountain avalanche controlled. The only stress is the race to beat your buddy to your favorite line so you can brag about it at apres.
In June of 2014 we went to Svalbard, Norway and took a sailboat into the Fjords to access some rad terrain. The best part about the boat is that you are literally sailing around in your temporary home checking out lines and where you want to ski. Besides some seasickness, it was the most comfortable way I’ve ever experienced scoping multiple valleys and lines. We literally skied the lines in the background of this photo.
I wish there were more areas you could kayak to your lines. It was so efficient paddling across the lake in Portillo and a totally different workout than touring so could really get a lot out of a day. However, getting in and out of the boat for us rookie kayakers was the real sketchy part and easy way to end your day.
Touring has to be the most affordable, most efficient and most relaxing way to get around the mountains. I love all the decision-making and how you really get to know the area, snow conditions and stability. Touring is something I hope to do well into the later years of my life.
7. Bike access skiing
In the spring and early fall, starting off on your bike can be a great way to get to the snow line. The best part is when you get back to your bike it’s a coast all the way home. Greg L’Heureux during the crux of a bike mission in Whistler BC.
When you can’t jump on your bike to get to the snow hiking is usually the best other option. I love the hike in to any area, but the hike out is always the killer. When you don’t hike very often you forget how tiring hiking down is especially with all your ski gear on your back.
Cat-skiing is definitely another really relaxing way to get some amazing turns. There’s something about the hum in those things that can put anyone to sleep in between runs.
When I started sled skiing 10 years ago it was a whole different experience then it is now. The new sleds have allowed people to learn to ride fairly well in a few days, which used to take most people a full year to access the same terrain. Sledding is such a fun sport so usually getting in and out is just as fun as the actual skiing.
James Heim is a long time Mountain Hardwear athlete who has been shredding literally since birth. He is driven by a passion for “being out in the mountains, exploring new zones and skiing as many new lines as possible.” This is more or less what his life is like: