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:
HeliCat Canada Association