Posted by the Telluride Daily Planet on Monday, December 26, 2016 9:00 am. See the original article at

To the ignorant, helicopters and mountain skiing have nothing to do with each other, but that’s where Steve Hindman steps in. 

As one of the top ski instructors at the Telluride Ski School, Hindman teamed up with Telluride Helitrax in 2014 to create a helicopter-skiing camp for the extreme at heart. 

“People think you have to jump off cliffs and do back flips, but with a helicopter you can land wherever you want,” Hindman said. “It’s really just about confidence. Mostly it’s just saying this is the terrain.”

The multi-day camps begin in January and run through March. Private lessons are available. Typically, trips include up to three people, which allows for more intimate instruction, he said. 

“It’s very personal,” Hindman said. “It’s building trust so they can do it by themselves.”

When he started the camps, he had some learning to do himself in teaching aspects of maneuvering in the snow. 

“Walking in the snow can be difficult (in skis),” Hindman said. 

Anyone interested in participating in a heli-skiing camp must have a reasonable level of fitness and specific skill set, he said. Skiers must be comfortable skiing blue runs in order to take the class, he explained.

“It’s a difficult environment,” Hindman said.

That doesn’t make it scary, though, he said. Even though he’s been at it awhile, the camps are still full of excitement. 

“We find the best snow,” he said. “Each run is selected to the skill set of the group.

“…The beauty of this thing is we have the helicopter and the guide. It’s still pretty exciting and fun.”

While having a good time is a goal, safety is always first, Hindman said. 

The camp has partnered with BootDoctors in an effort to make sure that each participant is equipped with the proper gear. The group meets the night prior at the shop to get checked out, Hindman said. 

Joseph Shults, Helitrax program director and guide, said the improvements in helicopters and personal gear has made the prospect of heli-skiing available to more people. 

“It’s safer now than it was 10 years ago,” he said. 

Being in the business for the last 35 years, Shults said when he was approached about the possibility of providing camps with Hindman, he knew it was in good hands. 

“Steve was the right person for the camp,” Shults said. “He has the experience and know-how.”

Shults said there haven’t been many hiccups in the operation other than Mother Nature’s unwillingness to cooperate sometimes. 

Shults explained that he sees a variety of different people giving heli-skiing a try, no matter the age, but they all must carry one thing with them. 

“It’s just an adventure,” he said. “That’s the one thing you have to bring is a sense of adventure.” 

Jason Woosley described his trip with Hindman in a testimonial. 

“Steve led us through an increasingly challenging curriculum that resulted in immediate improvements in our capabilities and confidence,” he wrote. “He tailored his advice and guidance to our individual strengths and weaknesses, and pushed us through terrain that was both fun and challenging.”

Hindman splits his time between the San Juans and Washington state. 

He is a 12-year veteran of the Professional Ski Instructors of America telemark and cross-country demo teams and led the adult ski and snowboard school at Stevens Pass in Washington state for five years. 

During summers, Hindman guides bicycle trips for Lizard Head Cycling Guides in Ophir. He currently is studying to become a personal trainer.

For more information about Hindman’s camp, visit his personal website at

All camp dates and times are dependent on weather.

Posted by Steve Cieciuch (Chet-chu) on
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