Outdoor Storytellers – Heli-Dan

It’s the night before we’re leaving for a heli-skiing trip. We are in the Methow River Valley and, looking at the clock right now, its 9:20 p.m. We have to be at the barn to meet the helicopter at 7:30 in the morning.

It’s been snowing constantly for the last four or five days and we’re midway through the season, so there’s got to be a ton of snow up there. I have no idea what it’s going to look like. I don’t even know what mountains we’re going to yet.

I won’t know until we go through the debriefing in the morning.

The only way you are going to be able to experience riding in conditions like that is getting in a helicopter, having it drop you off on top of a ridgeline or a mountain and riding in that snow. And you’re never going to get that experience anywhere else.

This was snow that noone had ridden all season. There was no compaction at all. It’s just fluff. Just absolute fluff.

I just went wrong on an edge and I went over and over and over. And you can see it in the tape. Because when it stops, you see a tree that’s going horizontally and obviously I fell.

The thing that sticks out the most to me from the entire trip is that Chase never got to ride. And it’s not that he didn’t want to. He couldn’t because I wouldn’t let him. We needed to get camera shots of the helicopter landing and the helicopter going different ways and everything that was going on just so that you at home can see it. 

So instead of seeing Chase cutting down virgin trails, you see him sitting on mountaintops, riding around in the helicopter with Seamus, sitting around at the landing zones and other forms of waiting.

He had a snowboard with him, mind you, and he never got to ride.

Seamus was somebody that you, in talking with him for just a few minutes, could tell was a wonderful person to meet and an unbelievable talent in a helicopter. It was amazing.

The bottom line is that if there’s something you want to try that you haven’t, you need to go do it. Because in experiencing that, you experience life and you experience things that you’ve been waiting on.

And we made Chase wait that whole day. And so the next time we go. Chase gets to ride. That’s the deal.