The Ultimate Luxury Adventure Experience

Explorer superyachts are capable of taking you where other yachts can’t and many of them are being used as bases for the relatively new, adrenaline-pumping past-time of heli-skiing.

Heli-skiing pits you against some of the most thrilling runs you could ever experience. You’ll almost always be carving up fresh snow, surrounded by dramatic scenery and a truly encompassing sense of solitude.

Being transported to the top of your perfect run on a helicopter provides the ultimate off-piste skiing experience and sometimes taking off from a superyacht is literally the only way to get to some of the more remote heli-skiing destinations.

With so many yachts available and a whole planet filled with heli-skiing destinations just waiting for you to explore, it’s hard to know which explorer superyacht to use and where to go.

Take a look at this selection of the most desirable superyachts to base your heli-skiing exploits, and our pick of the best areas to feel the rush of cold air upon your face and the soft crunch of fresh snow under your skis.

Top explorer superyachts for heli-skiing

Planet Nine

Admiral Yachts

  • – 73 metres
  • – 12 guests in 9 suites, 20 crew
  • – MD600 Explorer helicopter
  • – 6,000 nautical miles

An expert crew that includes a masseuse, helicopter pilot and fantastic head chef will have you feeling refreshed and ready in between skiing sessions. There are many other amenities and experiences to keep you very well entertained aboard Planet Nine, her observation lounge is a highlight and certainly worth a visit for spectacular sea-level views of what seems like temptingly close ice-capped mountains.

Rest your legs and take an elevator to the 278-square-metre full-deck owner’s suite, which features dressing rooms, a private saloon, study and terrace. The lower decks of Planet Nine are taken up by comfortable, contemporary guest suites, a cinema room and beach club. Sought after British designer Tim Heywood is behind Planet Nine’s functionally chic delineation and clever layout.

Cloudbreak

Abeking & Rasmussen

  • – 75 metres
  • – 12 guests in 6 suites, 22 crew
  • – Custom Bell 429 Global Ranger Helicopter
  • – 8,750 nautical mile range

Built for a young owner who wanted to make the most out of their time onboard and enjoy a spot of heli-skiing, Cloudbreak doubles as a floating ski lodge with its dedicated ski room. Completing adrenaline-pumping descents is hard work, but Cloudbreak’s capacity to not only get you there but to also do it in style and ultimate luxury is unmatched.

Named after a legendary Fijian surf break, the youthful exuberance of the vessel is displayed through the inclusion of special design features such as a daybed and a very well-equipped gym, right next to a sauna and massage facilities in the expansive beach club.

La Datcha

Damen Yachting

  • – 77 metres
  • – 12 guests, 6 suites, 25 crew
  • – Storage for 2 helicopters & personal submersible
  • – 6,000 nautical mile range

Heli-skiing expeditions almost always require two helicopters because in the remote locations these expeditions frequent, there’s no search and rescue in the case of an accident. Typically a second vessel will be brought along in order to provide this additional support, but in the case of Damen Yachting’s 2020 delivery La Datcha, there’s space for two helicopters to be stored onboard and a fully certified helipad.

The vessel has already made trips to the Russian east coast and earlier this year it was providing guests with unforgettable heli-skiing experiences in Antarctica. She’s an excellent example of a true explorer yacht, fitted with a heated ski room and decompression chamber for scuba diving. If you don’t want to get wet, La Datcha also has an onboard personal submersible that has been used for diving the wrecks of Papua New Guinea and the Antarctic seabed.

Legend

IHC Verschure

  • – 77 metres
  • – 22 guests, 11 suites
  • – Ice-breaking hull
  • – 7,640 nautical mile range
  • – EC 135 helicopter & Robinson Light Helicopter

An extensive range of 7,640 nautical miles and ice-breaker certification make Legend perfect for getting up close to the penguins and seals. Mountain faces blanketed in untouched white powder, beckon the avid skier to smooth runs and death-defying drops. Her crew of 28 brings a wealth of experience in taking guests from across the globe on thrilling adventures. So, if you’re looking for a uniquely well-planned and thoroughly well-executed expedition, look no further.

Legend is perfect for large groups, passage to and from your heli-skiing destination is made very comfortable by the addition of an onboard sauna, beauty parlour and 17-person Jacuzzi. Recipient of the Best Rebuild Project award at the 2017 World Superyacht Awards, her beautiful interiors feature fully equipped bars, a piano, a fireplace, formal dining for 22, a cinema, a massage room and a full gym.

Bold

Silveryachts

  • – 85 metres
  • – 12 guests, 8 suites
  • – AW109S helicopter
  • – Twin MTU 3,700 horsepower engines

Bold can be spotted in turquoise bays and lagoons, her inflatable raft of water toys splayed out behind a spacious stern beach club. Guests can go swimming, sailing, snorkelling or exploring the tropical white sandy beaches of the Maldives with ease, her minuscule draft allowing them to get up close and personal to a range of idyllic locations. But, as any expedition veteran can quickly tell, she is more than capable of serving as a base for some heart-stopping heli-skiing.

Looking like a cross between a navy destroyer and a billionaire pleasure boat, Bold’s striking exterior is the work of famed Norwegian superyacht designer, Espen Øino. A very long waterline and efficient hull design give the vessel an impressive range. And not only can she reach remote locations like Antarctica in well-designed comfort, her greenhouse gas emissions are also far fewer than on wider-bodied, less efficient superyachts.

Octopus

Lürssen

  • – 126 metres
  • – 12 guests in 13 staterooms
  • – MBB/Kawasaki BK117 D-2 & C-2 helicopters
  • – 12,500 nautical mile range

Refitted in 2021, Octopus is one of the most formidable explorer yachts ever made and boasts incredible interiors by Jonathan Quinn Barnett. Despite the vessel’s size and voluminous interior spaces, charterers have described their stay on Octopus as “cosy” and judging by the simple yet elegant saloons, suites and outdoor areas, it’s not hard to see why.

Octopus is often described as the original explorer yacht and, in terms of capability, is still considered one of the most technologically advanced superyachts in existence. Her floating tender garage transom is one of the most iconic pieces of naval architecture in the luxury yachting world and sets a high standard for builders to this day. She is designed to safely launch its two helicopters, which are both stored in a hangar forward of the helipad.

An underwater observation lounge, DJ station and grand piano make her perfect for groups of friends, while children and nanny cabins, a wellness room and spa mean that family groups are well taken care of. Of course, when owned by late Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, she was responsible for many shipwreck discoveries and has a fully equipped underwater Remote Observation Vehicle control room to drive a robot used to explore the seabed.

The best superyacht heli-skiing locations

Antarctic Peninsula, Antarctica

If you can get your head around the fact that you’re skiing on completely untouched descents in the last true frontier on Earth, then skiing in Antarctica offers an unforgettable experience full of pleasant surprises. Experienced guides are essential and will quickly have you skiing down mountain faces as smooth as a blank canvas.

Skiers are able to carve all the way down to the waterline and be greeted by the local wildlife. Antarctic seals and penguins are unused to human contact and are surprisingly placid.

Heli-skiing Antarctica from a superyacht
The constantly changing slopes of the Antarctic Peninsula are excellent for heli-skiing | Source: Ski Antarctica

Monte Bianco, Italy

In close proximity to the Mediterranean, the Italian Alps provide plenty of thrills and spills. Although it’s illegal to heli-ski on the French side of one of the well-known Monte Blanc, the Italian side is open season for those looking for fresh, off-piste powder.

The main advantage to heli-skiing in this location is the convenience of being able to anchor your vessel off the Italian coast, making it easy to find a refuelling helipad or support for your heli-skiing expedition.

Heli-ski Monte Bianco
Heli-skiing is illegal on the French side of Mont Blanc, but not on the Italian side, called Monte Bianco | Source: Heliski Alpes

Monte Rosa, Switzerland

Just over the border, Monte Rosa offers a huge variety of slopes with varying degrees of difficulty. Experienced skiers will love the couloirs and deep snow, while there are more gentle descents for beginners.

The helicopter ride to and from Monte Rosa offers glorious views of the Matterhorn and town, so be sure to take a good camera with plenty of battery.

Heli-skiing Monte Rosa, Switzerland
Scenic Switzerland is a good option for heli-skiing | Source: Monterosa Experience

Mount Cook, New Zealand

Some holidaymakers chase the sun, but New Zealand offers skiing enthusiasts the opportunity to enjoy some heli-skiing when the northern hemisphere’s summer rolls around.

Mount Cook has been the site of heli-skiing adventures since the 1960s and boasts a massive area of possible runs, some 1,500 square kilometres, in fact.

Mount Cook, New Zealand is a great place to heli-ski
New Zealand is a great heli-skiing destination during the northern hemisphere summer | Source: Mountainwatch Travel

Chugach Range, USA

An average snowfall of 15 metres and relatively low elevation makes the Chugach Range near Valdez perfect for a superyacht-based heli-skiing adventure. The stunning views, varied terrain and amalgamation of several glaciers make this part of the US an excellent place for outdoor adventure.

Untamed Alaska provides a stunning backdrop for smooth runs through untouched slopes, but be sure to bring some warm skiing gear as temperatures plunge to a chilly -25 degrees in the winter.

Chugach Range, USA is a great place to heli-ski from a superyacht
Alaska provides unforgettable glacial scenery as well as very good heli-skiing | Source: Chugach Powder Guides

Shiribetsu-Dake, Japan

Japan’s northern island of Hokkaido is famed for its numerous ski resorts and fine, dry powder, making it the perfect location for a helicopter to drop you at the top of a long, steep run. Best left to more advanced skiers, Shiribetsu-Dake is in fact a dormant volcano and provides open powder lines and breathtaking views.

Receiving as much as 18 metres of snowfall every year, it’s not hard to see why Hokkaido has a reputation for some of the best skiing in the world.

Shiribetsu-Dake, Japan is a great place to heli-ski from a superyacht
Hokkaido, Japan enjoys some of the heaviest snowfalls in the world | Source: Hokkaido Backcountry Club

Heli-skiing provides you with the ride of your life, but many adrenaline junkies like to push the envelope even further. These are the fastest experiences money can buy.

This article originally appeared on Fancy and do not necessarily represent the views of australiaexploring.com

About the author

Ozzie

Hi! I’m Ozzie!

Before joining Australia Exploring, I was a writer at Tripadvisor.

I'm looking for the best posts for you about travel adventures in Australia and around the world. This website has the purpose to inspire you to travel… travel more and better. I hope it can help you explore the world a little bit better.

I graduated from the University of Sydney. I live in California with my wife and two children.

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