"Do I need to be an expert skier to go Heli-skiing?" We often get this question from customers and even though we can answer it with a clear "No", words are sometimes not enough. So, when last year’s Heli-skiing prize went to Seth LeBron Hall, who had never skied in his life before, we thought to ourselves: challenge accepted! One call to our friends at Treble Cone was enough to get them on board and Seth’s journey began. Six weeks of intense training later he boarded a chopper and made his way up to the untouched terrain of New Zealand’s Southern Alps.
Check out our video to follow him all the way from the magic carpet to the helicopter! Sometimes all it takes for a once-in-a-lifetime experience is a great teacher, an experienced guide and the confidence to give something a go!
From Zero to Hero!
Last year’s industry night in Wanaka was supposed to be like every other year. A bit of networking, a few words on the plans for the season, introduction of the new staff, everything seemed to be going as planned. Towards the end of the night it was time for our pilot Nigel to pick the winner of our big annual prize. When Nigel held up the name of the person who was entitled to a day of heli-skiing, the room fell silent for a second. Seth Lebron Hall was written on the little card. Seth Lebron Hall, the only person in the whole room who had never been on skis in his entire life. Seth laughed nervously, his mates cheered, some faces had an envious expression and in the back of the room, Harris Mountains Heli-Ski (HMH) manager Hugh and operations manager Roger looked at each other in silent distress. What now?
An idea is born...
After a few days this distress had been replaced with enthusiastic excitement. We thought, "we get asked so often if you need to be a pro skier to go heli-skiing. Even though we always say ‘No’, many people don’t believe us. The fact that Seth had won the prize and was willing to put a lot of effort in to make it happen seemed like a great chance to show that heli-skiing is actually for all kinds of levels”. The idea now was to transform Seth from a non-skier into a capable heli-skier within one winter. There could only be one partner in this ambitious project, Treble Cone (TC). “HMH and TC have been working together for many years, in all kinds of projects. We knew straight away that we had to get them on board if we wanted to make this work.” Treble Cones’s Sales Manager, Dayrel Williams says they didn’t hesitate for a moment. “We were stoked to be part of this idea. We always try and convince people of how much they can achieve in very little time if they have a good instructor, what could show that better than transforming a non-skier into a heli-skier in one season?”
A man, a challenge!
In the meantime, the lucky winner himself had gone through all sorts of emotions. “First of all, I was stoked. I had never won anything and it was an amazing prize. Then I got a bit annoyed because people kept asking me who I would give the prize to as they obviously didn’t think I would be able to go myself. I had been in Wanaka for a few months and my friends kept making fun of me because I came to a winter sports mecca without being able to ski myself”, says Seth. So HMH’s proposition fell on fertile grounds and he decided to take on the challenge. The first lessons were hard. “I practiced on the magic carpet together with some 4 and 5 year olds who were clearly better than me and I couldn’t even remotely think of taking a heli and going into untracked terrain.” But with the patient help and support of his instructor Lowri, Seth managed to become more and more confident on his skis. “At some point it just clicked in my head and I started to understand how I was supposed to move and balance.”
The big day...
When the big day arrived he was nervous nevertheless. “When we got off the heli for the first time and stood on top of the mountain with nothing but snow and rocks around us, I thought I would never get down there. But then I just did it”, says Seth. With the help of HMH guide Hugh and a team of TC instructors he managed to not only do one, not two but three runs that day. And all of it without one single crash. “It was an amazing experience and I hope it shows people who are unsure whether they can go Heli-skiing that it is absolutely possible. I am so thankful for the support and help of everyone at TC and HMH, it was truly one of the best things I have ever done.”
So, whats your excuse? Click here to book a Heli-ski trip of a lifetime!