Experience heli skiing in virtual reality with Sherpas Cinema and Google

Heli skiing in Revelstoke with CMH. Photo credit: Kevin Boekholt

Regular readers know how much we here at SnowsBest love a bit of heli skiing.  Sometimes it’s hard to put into words the true privileged experience that is heli skiing, though we try

So we’re pretty excited to hear that the world’s largest Heli-Skiing operator, has produced an awe-inspiring virtual reality film to introduce the sport to the world. The cinematic piece entitled “Lines of Sight: A Guided Virtual Reality Experience” was created in partnership with the award-winning Sherpas Cinema with support from Google’s AR/VR team, using cutting-edge technology in the virtual reality and ski industries.

Filmed entirely at CMH Cariboos with highly customized, site-specific equipment from Google and Sherpas Cinema, the five-minute film was created to immerse the viewer into the experience and dispel the myth that Heli-Skiing is extreme, instead demonstrating that it is highly achievable. The end result showcases the future of cinematic VR.

“Being able to work with the best in the industry in a truly collaborative manner allowed us to push the boundaries of technology and bring the Heli-Skiing experience to a wider market,” said Julia LoVecchio, Director of Marketing at CMH.

“The biggest thing people ask for in VR is ‘take me places I can’t go,’ and Heli-Skiing is an incredible experience that only a lucky few could even imagine” said Sarah Steele, Google VR Program Manager.

“Lines of Sight” was captured over the course of 10 days using the Yi Halo, GoPro Odyssey, and Google’s Jump platform. Site-specific camera rigs were built for the project, including a helicopter long line for sweeping alpine aerials and aerial action shots, a hardware stabilized ski-dolly platform built in collaboration with Levitezer, and an RC car dolly built in collaboration with FreeFly. Highly choreographed action scenes of extended durations while shooting, result in a smooth, continuous experience for the viewer.

Led through the terrain by ACMG Mountain Guide, Craig McGee, the viewer experiences every part of the journey from buckling in for the helicopter ride to gliding down the powdery slopes of the Cariboo Mountains of British Columbia. The vistas are breathtaking, the movement of the skiers magical, and the result is pure inspiration.

“The ultimate goal with VR is to make you completely forget about the world that you are currently in,” says DP and co-Director for Sherpas Cinema, Steve Henderson. “You feel as though you embody the story.” 

Where to experience VR heli skiing

“Lines of Sight: A Guided Virtual Reality Experience” will be touring six Ikon Pass mountain destinations across North America throughout winter seasons 2018-2019 and 2019-2020. Visitors will be able to step into a giant CMH helicopter located at the base of the resorts to experience the film in virtual reality firsthand and take the ride of a lifetime.

“Lines of Sight: A Guided Virtual Reality Experience” 2018/19 tour dates and destinations.

11-13 Jan 2019: Winter Park, Colorado, USA

24-27 Jan 2019: Blue Mountain Resort, Ontario, Canada

2-3 and 9-10 Feb 2019: Stratton, Vermont, USA

7-12 Mar 2019: Tremblant, Quebec, Canada

22-24 Mar 2019: Mammoth, California, USA

29-31 Mar and 5-7 Apr 2019: Squaw Valley/ Alpine Meadows, California, USA

Tour dates and destinations can be found at www.cmhheli.com/VR.

Watch on your own VR headset or on YouTube360

Experience Heli-Skiing in virtual reality via download at www.cmhheli.com/VR, in any VR headset, or on YouTube360.   

Rachael Oakes-Ash is the name behind @misssnowitall and the founder of SnowsBest.com. A long time travel and lifestyle journalist and ski writer, she's been published in ESPN, TIME, Wallpaper*, Action Asia, Inside Sport, Australian Financial Review, Emirates Open Skies, Conde Nast Traveler and more. She was the Fairfax snow blogger from 2007 to 2017 and the Southern Hemisphere editor for OnTheSnow. Rachael is also a documentary producer, author, radio announcer and humorist.

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