Off the slopes — at the table

As the snow-line recedes, winter jackets and pants get washed and stored away while storage wax is applied to ski bases before their hibernation season begins. Skis are replaced with mountain bikes and golf clubs, and winter wear is switched out for shorts and t-shirts.

But while the majority of the population is focusing on all things summer, the world of winter still remains front and centre for HeliCat Canada (HCC).

As the trade association for the industry, HCC makes it a priority to support research programs, lead the education around current trends in safety and risk management, and overall to promote the continual improvement of the industry.

There were several key successes through the 2016-17 season and HCC is continuing to strengthen its relationship with stakeholders and government on a variety of important issues.


HeliCat has been working with government officials for more than a decade to establish best practices and procedures for outdoor operators to minimize their impact on species-at-risk. Conversations with government are intended to offer industry insight and perspective, to find collaborative ways to work together to protect species-at-risk. In February 2017, the BC Government announced a significant cash injection into a comprehensive caribou recovery plan — $27 million over three years. HeliCat looks forward to continuing the conversations and supporting this project.  

Land tenures

HeliCat operator tenures overlay close to 10 per cent of the provincial land area; this terrain playing a vital role in BC’s ability to provide internationally renowned helicopter and snowcat skiing. This means there is an ongoing need for thoughtful and detailed conversations with government officials and other stakeholders on the land base. HCC continues to advocate for collaborative work between our sector, government, and many other stakeholders. Working together towards sustainable land-use and socio-economic benefits for all is a top priority.

Socio-economic impact

The HeliCat industry hosts more than 110,000 skier days each year, representing more than 10 per cent of the $1.2 billion adventure tourism industry in BC. HCC’s 2016 socio-economic impact assessment also pointed out how the industry is drawing international clientele to rural areas of the province. The association will continue to update those numbers and work closely with government and tourism officials to promote positive benefits and win-win solutions for all.

Ongoing efforts by HeliCat Canada to stay connected and engaged with government, stakeholders and to support the continual improvement of the industry gives operations the confidence they need to focus on providing the ultimate, safe guest experience when the snow starts flying and ski season kicks off for 2018-19.

-HeliCat Canada

HeliCat industry a major player in BC’s rural economy

REVELSTOKE, BC — As the ski industry hits peak season, a new report released by HeliCat Canada shows the helicopter and snowcat skiing industry in British Columbia is a major force in BC’s rural economy.

According to the 2016 HeliCat Canada socio-economic impact assessment, the HeliCat industry hosts more than 110,000 skier days each year, with a three per cent average annual growth between 2013-2015. The 41 operators in the industry represent more than 10 per cent of the $1.2 billion adventure tourism industry in BC.

“Helicopter and snowcat skiing is a globally-unique tourism product for BC,” explains Ian Tomm, Executive Director of HeliCat Canada. “Close to 75 per cent of our guests are international clientele that we bring to rural areas of the province where they spend money and support local businesses.”

The study also explored the impact of the HeliCat industry on avalanche safety and education. All operators contribute to a daily information exchange where they share snow observations and conditions with all other ski operators. This information makes up the majority of the data used to create public avalanche bulletins.

“We have been involved in many highway, public backcountry and commercial backcountry rescue or first aid operations. The fact that we have helicopters available in close proximity to these activities can often be life-saving,” explained one operator in the socio-economic survey.

The study also drew attention to some of the biggest concerns of HeliCat operators and the public, surrounding sustainability of operations and cooperative land use. HeliCat Canada continues to advocate for members on those priorities and has made them a primary focus in its 2020 Strategic Plan.

To read the full socio-economic report, click here.



For more information, please contact:

Ian Tomm
Executive Director
HeliCat Canada Association
Phone: 250.837.5770


HeliCat Canada strengthens relationship with US counterpart

REVELSTOKE, BC — HeliCat Canada is taking steps to strengthen the collaboration with their colleagues south of the border through a memorandum of understanding with Heli-Ski US (HSUS).

Heliskiing operations in both Canada and the United States face similar challenges when it comes to land management, occupational health and safety and legal and mountain safety. The new agreement is designed to strengthen the communications and collaboration between the two organizations.

"Our operations have always explored ways of working together towards common goals," says Ian Tomm, Executive Director of HeliCat Canada. "This MOU is the next step in our partnership and sets us up for a professional exchange of information and sharing of best practices between operations."

More than 40 operators are represented between HeliCat Canada and HSUS. The MOU looks at establishing trans-border, North American Best Practices focused on safety and emergency response preparedness.

“This agreement brings together the two strongest helicopter skiing/snowboarding organizations on the planet to exchange guides and best practices,” says Kevin Quinn, President of HSUS. “By doing so, we will enhance the safety and professionalism of member firms on both sides of the border, benefiting all members of the skiing and snowboarding community.

This is the second MOU signed between the two organizations. The first two-year agreement signed in 2013, focused on the sharing of operational guidelines.

The new MOU is effective immediately and designed to renew automatically each year unless one party requests differently.


For more information, please contact:

Ian Tomm
Executive Director
HeliCat Canada Association
Phone: 403.837.5770