I first started skiing with my family when I was 5 years old on Cairngorm mountain, my parents and my brother Martin who was 6 at the time also had never skied before. We were living in Edinburgh at the time so also started skiing at Hillend dry ski slope.
When I started skiing in Scotland Cairngorm mountain did not have a piste machine, so everything was kind of off-piste! But I remember at about 9 years old hiking with my brother to drop into some of the Corries (back-bowls) that sit either side of the ski area, we would jump the cornice at the top.
If you can hook up with someone more experienced than you, or if not then hire a guide. They will not only teach you the right safety procedures but also help with technique tips that will make things easier when you are skiing the variable conditions off-piste.
I enjoy the feeling to floating you get when skiing in deep powder, the adrenaline rush of skiing a really steep slope, and the solitude of the mountains you get when you travel away from the lift system.
I did not have a chance to go heliskiing when I was ski racing, in fact the only times I ended up in a helicopter was when I had injured myself on the race course! So I heliskied for the first time when I was 32 in Gressoney Italy, it’s part of the Monte Rosa ski area and has incredible heli-drops at over 4000m.
I did not need any help in decided that is for sure! Yes I enjoy ski-touring and skinning up into the back-country for hours, but the ease of being able just to jump into a helicopter and fly up is fantastic.
The best places that I have heliskied are Canada and Chile.
I have not heliskied in Alaska yet, it has some of the World’s most challenging terrain.
Be careful because you may get addicted, it is a lot of fun!