Thanks for chatting with us Edwina!
Can you tell us what Heliskiing is, and where you do it?
We do it in the BC/Alberta area in the Canadian Alps. We’re in a group of about 40 people who are helicoptered to a series of remote lodges and we base ourselves there for the whole trip. Starting from your lodge each day you get helicoptered up to remote places. There are no lifts and no other people. We can do up to 16 runs each day, so it’s really exhausting but fun. We have our lunch helicoptered to us and we eat at tables and chairs made of snow, it’s pretty cool.
How do you know it’s safe?
We have guides who go up first thing in the morning to assess if the mountain is safe to ski by throwing avalanche bombs then skiing down themselves. (Insert Brooke’s “OH BOMBS…WOW!”)
How long have you been going for?
I was almost 21 when I went for the first time. Dad has been going with the same group of people each year for 20 years. I’ve been skiing since I was 6 years old, from the time I could be awake all day.
So, what do you love about it, and why do you keep going back?
It’s incredibly exhilarating! I l love that you’re sort of in control but sort of not. The drawcard for heliskiing is getting to ski in deep powder that’s up to your thighs (‘Powder’ is soft snow for those who aren’t ski aficionados). The feeling is incredible as it sprays in your face as you’re bounding through it. The scenery is also spectacular, especially as it’s so remote.
When you’re on that mountain do you think of music or is it a totally separate experience?
I’ve actually taken my violin numerous times if I’ve had to practice for something. It’s a pretty odd situation. I’d go out skiing and then come home and practice, and of course people hear you and you end up putting on a mini concert.
I don’t know if music really leaves you, but I can’t say that I have a soundtrack in my mind when I’m skiing. I don’t think there’s really time. The experience is so removed from everyday life in so many ways that your priorities really change.
There seems to be a swag of elite musicians who participate in elite sports, why do you think that is?
I think it’s because we know how to push ourselves, we have great internal motivation. And, as a general rule, we’ve learnt to be very structured with our music practice so we can apply that to another training regime. It doesn’t mean we like doing it, but we’ve just learnt how to push ourselves - and when you think you’re as far as you can go, you’re probably not.
Do you want to continue doing it each year into the future?
Yeah, sure I do! I love the solace of heliskiing. It’s also a great way to spend time with my family as my mum, sister and partner come with me and we spend time resort skiing, prior to Dad and I heading up the mountain. At the TSO we work so hard all year, and heliskiing is a great thing to look forward to at the end of it all.