Interestingly strange contest: Win 7-days of heli assisted ski touring with Greg Hill

Many of you probably know Greg Hill or at least his name. He is often being referred to as “The Million Feet Man” for touring one million feet in one season, all self propelled trips.

And because I have great respect for Greg and for all the projects he has accomplished I can’t help but to find the heli assisted ski touring contest presented by him interestingly strange :)

The contest

The contest is offered by Canadian Mountain Holidays, the biggest heli skiing company on the planet, with Arc’Teryx, and Greg, I guess:

CMH Heli-Skiing & ARC’TERYX want to know What Inspires you to Ski Tour. Make a movie – tell us why you love to Ski Tour. You could win a 7-day Heli-Assisted Ski Touring trip with CMH, ARC’TERYX and Backcountry Legend, Greg Hill. See for more details,” according to CMH write up on YouTube. The web page provided doesn’t reveal too much more detail.

You can watch the contest promo video with Greg here:

So what is interestingly strange about it?

To me the contest is interesting because it is strange. There are two things that are quite strange about it:

Firstly, why would you make a movie or write an essay about why you love to ( or what inspires you to) backcountry ski and tour so much, if the prize is something on the opposite end of your spectrum, and maybe values.

GM my as well announce a contest to let them know why you love to drive a Toyota Prius and the top prize will be Cadillac Escalade.

And secondly, strangely enough the contest is presented by Greg Hill, the man that built his name and reputation on hard work in the mountains – by touring NOT flying, way more than almost anyone else.

It is true that I don’t know the 7-day trip’s itinerary, therefore I am not going to make any assumptions, however, I still find the contest interestingly strange ;)

Also, I don’t know whether the contest is presented by Greg Hill the ski guide, or Greg Hill himself, the ski mountaineer. Not sure whether that makes a difference or not but it is a curiosity.

And this may be the idea behind the contest, to make a little controversy. It certainly caught my attention.

I wish luck to anyone that enters the contest and would love to hear how the trip went down. With Greg, it is going to be fun for sure, but I would like to hear how much the helicopter was used.

Training Plans for Skimo Racing

Skimo Racing Manual


  1. helis or no, I want to ski big mountains with Hill.

    I entered:

  2. After I signed up for the Espanade Epic ski mountaineering race in April, I thought of something funny. Many of us were skeptical about this CMH/Greg Hill/Heli-assisted ski touring contest deal. And now……I’m entering a heli-assisted ski mountaineering competition….HA!…..How sweet is that.

  3. James, I copied your comment over to the LaSportiva Stratos article, it is more fitting there:

  4. That new Sportiva boot looks slick. However, it might be easier to solve a Rubic’s cube (sp?) blindfolded than get that boot on!

  5. Thanks all for commenting and sharing your thoughts and I am glad that CMH and Greg commented too as that makes it a more complete discussion.

    And sorry for some delays with comments showing, but link spammers are hot these days and I got to sort each comment out (and fortunately, skiing gets in the way a lot these days). I will add a little write up at the top of comments section to properly communicate this fact.

  6. Hey Guys,

    Think about how perfect this week could be. Every day you wake up with CMH hospitality, 5 star, then you get helicoptered up to a remote glacier surrounded by amazing mountains. You spend all day touring around this incredible zone, earning your turns all day with an added run from the heli. At the end of the day you get picked up and dropped off in the hot tub. Spend the night in luxury, eating well, sleeping in comfort and then the next day you get picked up again, but this time you get dropped in a completely different zone kilometers away from where you were the day before. You spend all day exploring a new zone, remote peaks great descents. then heli home. repeat this for a total of seven days. Unbelievable.

    No two hour approaches, alder bashes, logging roads. Just the goods, all day every day.

    Make a movie and come check it out, it will probable be the best week of ski touring you have ever had.

  7. With CMH at least it is a bit of Back to the Future in that when Hans Gmoser (no slouch of a mountaineer himself) started CMH…he envisioned that people would take the helicopter up and then go touring. Needless to say we all know what happened next…the downhill became the thing and probably always will be.

    We have had a couple of people so far come for the heli-ski trip and decide to take a couple of days to go on the touring trip during the week.

  8. Good point James I would have to agree that at this point its more of an expansion of the industry. However once its out there and people see and hear how much fun the touring clients are having they may be so inclined to try it out. I guess I might be a little naive to believe that they will become hooked and include it in there helie skiing routine but who knows especially with such an encouraging guide like Greg Hill!

  9. Reiner: I’m not sure I actually believe that the people going “heli-assisted ski touring” are the same people that normally go heli-skiing but have said to themselves “I would like to be greener this time”. I would say that these are two totally different cohorts so I see this as more of an expansion of the heli industry rather than a move to greener, more sustainable ways. It’s not like the helicopter takes the tourers out and then is parked for the rest of the day. It then services the traditional heli-skiers and then goes back for the tourers. So in essence, on a fully booked week, the heli would be going out on two extra trips every day to drop-off and pick-up the “heli-tourers”. Furthermore, IMHO the alder, devil’s club, wash-outs, etc are all part of a more complete experience. That said, I agree with you Reiner, we should all think more about the energy it takes to get us to the places we love to play.

  10. Contradictions and paradox’s.. The way I see it is that helie assisted ski touring is one step closer to a more sustainable industry. Just as driving a veggie oil van to Rogers pass or skiing closer to home all contribute.

    If we want to venture out into these remote places and wish to return each day to our warm homes we are going to be using allot of transportation. Sure a Helie uses a allot more fuel but its all very subjective to frequency as some one driving a truck to the pass 60 days a season is likely to use allot more fuel then most of CHM’s clients who may only indulge once a season.

    Transportation is transportation once your submersed in the beauties with engines turned off its all the same the only difference is how much alder and devils club you have to endure.

  11. Mark, thank you for speaking for CMH here, it is appreciated.

    I was trying to provoke some responses on this topic (the contest) via this post because I was curious myself what others think. I know Greg from a bit of a different background, so that’s why the contest seems somewhat odd to me. And I would think CMH (or Greg, or Arc’Teryx) had a moment, when coming up with the contest, when you guys thought the same as me. For CMH the contest makes great marketing sense because your company will come across as more “environmentally” friendly or more touring friendly or something like that.

    And now that I know more details, I am happy that maybe in the future you will fly more touring guests than just downhill skiers. Will save a bit of gas and spare the nature from loud engines.

  12. I work for CMH so hope this does not come across as propaganda. Rudi basically has is correct above. The helicopter takes the group out in the morning and then leaves (and yeah the first run is downhill). The group tours all day; sometimes long ascents, sometimes yo-yo’ing and doing shorter stuff. Helicopter comes back in the afternoon and takes the group home. In terms of cost, it is about 1/2 the cost of heli-skiing because you use the helicopter twice a day. Greg and Arcteryx have been awesome to work with on this. The heli part will always be a source of debate/contention with some but I think it is a cool way for people to get to ski with a fantastic guy and ambassador for the mountains and touring.

  13. Thanks for your comments Rudi.

    I wasn’t aware about heli assisted ski touring as a new product since the video or the contest page on CMH website doesn’t communicate this. And I agree that if in fact someone decides to spend money on something like this then Greg is a the man to do it with.

    In fact, as I think about it more, the promo video is inspiring me to create such a movie. However, not for the purpose of the contest, as the video would be more of what inspires me not to heli ski, apart from the obvious cost of it. But I bet I am not who they are looking for anyways ;)

  14. Clearly the heli skiing operation is trying to widen its market. They way I read this, you could not call this heli-skiing because you would not be taken up all the uphill only to ski down. I would imagine that the helicopter would be used to help access a wider area and more varied terain in a week than one normally could simply on foot, but that there would you would still be under your own steam to get uphill after the initial drop off. At the same time, it would be lovely to be able to access remote terrain and still have a little luxury in the evening–hot tubs and wonderful meals–what’s not to like?

    Unless you all walk to the mountains and don’t drive, or similarly don’t fly to Europe but paddle your own kayak over there, I fail to see how this is at odds with the values of back country skiing. Unfortunately, it will probably still be out of my price range as I could really only do it if the price was significantly less than regular heli skiing.

  15. Rudi Thoni says:

    I think apart from being an interestingly strange contest, it is advertising that works at least in part of making a large part of the skitouring community aware that heli assisted skitouring exists. At this point and time the price is almost the same as for a week of heliskiing, but that may change in the future. And certainly I would be inclined more so to spend some of that money knowing that someone like Greg Hill would be guiding. For serious skitourers you would only use the helicopter to access some incredible terrain and then be left alone with your guide for half a day or even the full day if you so require. Essentialy you get transportation to and from some very remote areas with one or two free runs, but you skin for the rest of it.

  16. I think I agree with you James and I can understand motives of all parties involved. But still I found the contest a bit of an oxymoron, thus kind of strange.

  17. Being a professional athlete in a “fringe” sport I would imagine is a bit of a tough one. It’s very difficult to find and maintain sponsorship or payment and perhaps sometimes doing so means stepping away from your hardcore values. Greg Hill has a certain celebrity now and these are the kinds of things you do when you’re a celebrity. You trade that celebrity, which you worked hard to earn, for things that allow you to further your career. You gotta do what you gotta do. I do though, take exception with the term “heli-assisted ski touring”. Let’s just call it what it is, “heli-skiing”, and get on with the contest.

Speak Your Mind