We take heli-skiing, the new skiing trend, on our radar, where superyachts and helicopters come together and host their adrenaline-loving guests in ultra-luxurious conditions.
Superyacht and helicopter… There is what you can look for in the name of luxury in a ski holiday where these two vehicles come together and serve their guests. How so? With the superyacht you anchor at the points in the polar regions and by helicopter you ski on the tracks where no one has set foot before. Then, you enjoy the luxury on your cozy superyacht. Dreamy but real!
The demands of the super-rich, who make up a small part of the world, know no bounds. The extraordinary demands of the new generation, especially the adventure-loving “start-up” rich, are changing the shape of luxury tourism in the world. One of these is heli-skiing, a new skiing trend where superyachts and helicopters come together and host adrenaline-loving guests in ultra-luxurious conditions. As the name suggests, heli-skiing is now a popular destination for ski lovers who are bored of sharing the same landing with crowds in Aspen or Chamonix and seek more adrenaline. new curiosity. In fact, heli-skiing has long been a popular experience. It started in the 1960s and has become more common in recent years. In this experience, ski enthusiasts take a special helicopter to the slopes on the tops of the mountains and therefore no one can reach, and from there they leave themselves on the soft snow. Our Kaçkar Mountains are among the popular heli-skiing routes of the world, stretching from Japan to Alaska.
The heli-skiing trend, which has been popular for a while, may not have been satisfying enough for some people who want to increase the pleasure of work, as a superyacht has been included in the business in recent years. Therefore, it was the super-rich, who sought different adventures and had plenty of money to spend, that led to the emergence of this trend. This new trend started like this: this small but extremely powerful segment, which is the source of income for the superyacht industry, searched for a different route some time ago after scrutinizing every corner of the warm waters of the Mediterranean and the Caribbean.
Especially the new generation of high society, who have a very different understanding of luxury than their predecessors, expressed that they want to see extraordinary routes to superyacht designers and manufacturers, but they do not want to give up their comfort while doing this. In fact, the route in the minds of this new generation of super-rich was clear: the Poles. This demand has led the superyacht industry to turn to the production of explorer type boats suitable for the harsh weather and sea conditions of the polar conditions. As a result, a significant portion of the superyachts that have landed in the water in recent years have been exploratory type superyachts that stand as solid as a rock in the harshest sea conditions and even advance by breaking through the ice. Some superyacht owners have even bought old icebreakers, the toughest ships on the sea, and nearly rebuilt them into a luxury superyacht.
One of the Trend’s Leading Superyachts: Cloudbreak
Now, not only scientists, but anyone with enough money can access the Arctic regions. This crowd, who took action to see this least untouched region of the world before the glaciers melted, is perhaps having the most exciting experience of their lives. The emergence of the superyacht heli-skiing trend came as a continuation of this chain. One of the pioneers of the superyacht heli-skiing trend was the award-winning yacht Cloudbreak.
One of the models that won an award at the World Superyacht Awards in 2017, the 75-meter-long Cloudbreak was produced in 2016 for comfortable cruising in the challenging waters of the Arctic, in line with the wishes of the adventurous owner. However, the owner of Cloudbreak was a total adrenaline junkie. A helipad was added to Cloudbreak when the owner became a ski enthusiast and wanted to enjoy the freedom on pristine landings. Thus, the owner of this impressive superyacht reached the untouched peaks of the Arctic region and started skiing there as he aimed. And he decided to share this pleasure with those who want to have the same experience. Cloudbreak is also a charter boat. Therefore, it can be rented by those who want to experience this excitement. Able to accommodate 12 guests in seven cabins, Cloudbreak features a lounge with fireplace, open-air pool, gym and spa. Cloudbreak takes its guests to the wilderness of Alaska and gives them the experience of a lifetime.
This idea, which emerged with Cloudbreak, attracted great interest in the world jet society, and a new market was born in the luxury tourism sector. Special superyacht tours have started to be organized for customers who are ski enthusiasts and want to experience adventures on untouched peaks. Since the target audience is not very large, the number of companies that organize heli-skiing tours with superyachts is too few to exceed the fingers of one hand. One of the most important of these companies is Eyos Expeditions, which carries out superyacht tours to ambitious extraordinary routes from Papua New Guinea to Madagascar and raises the bar in the luxury travel sector.
Veteran Icebreaker Transformed into Superyacht
Eyos Expeditons conducts its heli-skiing tours in Greenland, which lies between the Arctic and Atlantic oceans. The superyacht on which he made the tour is very special. The superyacht named Nansen Explorer is actually a former veteran of the arctic seas. The purpose of the Nansen Explorer, which was built in Finland in 1983, was to bring the scientists who participated in the research to be carried out by the Russian government in the Poles to the region. Nansen Explorer, which served scientists for a while, was later converted into a casino ship traveling between Japan and Russia. The Nansen Explorer was purchased by a Norwegian company in 2002 and was used by the Svalbard government for research in the Arctic again. The successful history of the Nansen Explorer impressed Eyos Expedition, which at the time was looking for a superyacht suitable for heli-skiing tours, so the company decided to purchase this veteran boat to bring its project to life.
Audun Lie Dahl, CEO of Eyos Expeditions, explains his decision to purchase the Nansen Explorer: “We knew from its history that the Nansen Explorer, which is very resistant to glaciers and rough seas, is well suited to meet our new goal. And of course, most importantly, there was a helipad on it. In other words, it was a yacht that fully suited our purpose. So we decided to buy it and, after a long refit process, we turned the expedition ship Nansen Explorer, which had a capacity of 80 people, into a luxury 12-person superyacht.”
Seven of the 12 cabins on the Nansen Explorer, Eyos Expeditions’ expedition boat, are very luxurious. These cabins are covered with glass from floor to ceiling and have a magnificent view. Therefore, those who prefer luxury cabins can watch whales, giant glaciers and wildlife in the warm air of the interior without going on deck in the freezing weather of the Arctic.
When guests want to ski, Nansen Explorer’s helicopter comes into play. The guests get on the helicopter with their ski teams and are taken to the predetermined ski slopes according to different levels. Of course, these tracks are very different from those in the Swiss Alps or the ski resorts of France. Extremely untouched and wild as no one has set foot before. So just for those who love adrenaline. After enjoying these pristine runways, the guests are again taken by helicopter to the superyacht. In this process, there is a permanent guide with the guests. After a few hours of adventure, skiers sometimes have a scrumptious barbecue on the ice. After the sweet fatigue, the skiers are again taken by helicopter to the superyacht where they stay. Here, too, luxury options await them that will relax their muscles, cheer up their stomachs and warm them to the bone. Guests can do yoga with an instructor to stretch after skiing or surrender themselves to laziness and enjoy the spa and massage. Or he can stay alone and spend a peaceful time in his comfortable and warm cabin with a view of the glacier.
Superyacht Heli-Skiing Routes
The Nansen Explorer picks up its passengers from Sisimuit, Greenland’s second largest city. The easiest way to reach Greenland, which is part of the Kingdom of Denmark, is from Copenhagen. But Greenland isn’t the only route for superyacht heliskiing. Different superyacht companies also organize heli-skiing tours in countries such as Alaska, Canada, British Columbia, Chile where wild cold prevails.
Some of the superyachts that provide heli-skiing service are the former veterans of the North Sea, such as the Nansen Explorer, which have been converted into comfortable yachts. Others are newly produced and lowered into the water a few years ago. The 73-meter-long Planet Nine, the 85-meter Bold and the 77-meter-long La Datcha, one of Damen Yachts’ latest beauties, are also superyachts equipped with special equipment for those who want to do heli-skiing. The common feature of all of them is that they have ice-resistant bodies and a fully certified helipad. These superyachts have some other differences specific to heli-skiing. These superyachts feature specially heated rooms, storage areas to properly store equipment, snowmobiles and special marine toys to provide fun in glacial conditions. In fact, these very special superyachts have the capacity to travel not only to the glacial region, but to all over the world, to the most untouched and remote places, and to host their guests in comfort. So, the guests go wherever they want. There is no impossible route for them.
The route suggested by Henry Cookson, the founder of Cookson Adventures, which organizes heli-skiing tours by superyacht, is the Bella Coola region in British Columbia. The quality of the snow on the top of the mountains, which are very close to the shore, is very suitable for skiing, and the anchoring of the superyacht is also very comfortable. December to May is the best time to ski in this region. As an alternative, Cookson recommends Canada’s Baffin Island in the Arctic Sea to “true explorers.” Especially in these regions, there are tracks where no one has skied before. The season here is much shorter, starting in March and ending in May. In the southern hemisphere, Patagonia welcomes heli-skiing enthusiasts. There are soft and uninterrupted tracks at the heights of the Andes between 3,000-6,000 meters.