Skip to main content

No room for error — watch as this skiing rescue pilot shows off his skills

There's nothing routine in a skier rescue, but this pilot takes talent to the next level

Screenshot from a video of an incredible helicopter rescue in Europe.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

If you’ve ridden in a helicopter, you probably fall into one of these three categories: You’re wealthy enough to own or hire one, you’ve worked in a remote service job such as tree planting, or you’ve been on a sightseeing tour over the Grand Canyon. There is a fourth option, but speaking from the experience of my first helicopter ride, the best way to do it is not to be strapped onto a spinal board; sometimes, we just don’t have a choice.

Helicopter rescues are not altogether uncommon in ski resorts, and in the backcountry, where time is of the essence. If you’ve spent enough time in these places, you’ve probably heard the familiar whirr as the choppers fly in. While the pilots on these rescue operations have to be highly skilled and trained to maneuver their aircraft into difficult spaces and in some rough weather, it’s rare that we get to see this skill in action. Check out this video from Europe that shows just how skilled these helicopter rescue pilots are.

Daring Helicopter Rescue in Pass of Anterne in Passy, France

The rescue mission, which took place at the Col d’Anterne in the French Alps, was carried out by the Chamonix Gendarmerie High Mountain Platoon to rescue a stranded casualty who had fallen while skiing. Even from the outside, this is obviously carried out by a highly skilled pilot with nerves of steel and control over his helicopter, though the pilot was a little less prepared to accept his praise. Speaking to French news outlet France Bleu, the pilot said his actions were “nothing extraordinary” and that the maneuver is called a skate support.

Putting aside the pilot’s military modesty for a moment, this is an example of the sort of extraordinary skill that rescue operators around the world have. To position the helicopter within inches of the mountainside, resting on the tips of the skates while the rotors spin within touching distance of snow — and disaster —  is highly impressive, to say the least. Hopefully, you’ll never need to call on rescue services when you’re out skiing in the backcountry, hitting the slopes in the winter, or whenever you might be headed into the mountains, but it’s reassuring to witness the skill in action and to know that these operators are on hand when you need them the most.

Editors' Recommendations

Tom Kilpatrick
A London-born outdoor enthusiast, Tom took the first ticket out of suburban life. What followed was a twelve-year career as…
7 incredible shows like True Detective to watch now
Watch another series like True Detective? Then catch these 7 shows!
Kali Reis and Jodie Foster in True Detective: Night Country.

True Detective season 4 may be over, but there is good news for fans of the show. HBO has officially ordered another season of the anthology series. However, given the four-year gap between True Detective season 3 and True Detective: Night Country, it might be quite a while before a new mystery unfolds in this series. So the real question now is simple: What will you watch next?

There are plenty of police procedurals on network television, but they lack the same dark and ambiguous tone of True Detective. That's why when looking for similar series, the best options are almost always on streaming platforms or premium cable outlets. We've narrowed down our choices for the seven shows like True Detective that you should watch now that season 4 has come to a close. All you have to do is make time to watch them.

Read more
The 6 best hotels for IKON pass holders this ski and snowboarding season
IKON pass holders, check out these awesome hotels
A man walks up a mountain in deep snow with a snowboard.

The IKON pass is widely regarded as one of the most comprehensive ski passes worldwide, giving skiers and snowboarders access to more than fifty resorts and some of the best snow on the planet. With just a single ticket, you get unlimited access to all the IKON pass resorts, including Palisades Tahoe, Steamboat, and Mammoth Mountain, as well as seven days each at some of the most iconic ski resorts in the U.S. — Aspen Snowmass, Jackson Hole, Alta Ski Area, to name a few. You can also experience skiing in Canada, Japan, and Europe.

Although it pains us to admit it, there is more to a skiing or snowboarding holiday than just the snow. Before you open that email browser to tell us we're wrong, think about this: what would your ski holiday be without boasting about how you had the best line of the day over some après ski? And if you don't get proper rest, what will happen to your riding? We don't know about you, but we're not eighteen anymore and can't jump up after a night on our buddy's sofa, wade through empty cans, and hit the slopes. We need a proper hotel with proper facilities, and these are the best hotels on offer at U.S. IKON pass destinations.

Read more
Romp skis review: The Oso 105 is simply begging for powder
Romp Oso 105 ski review
Romp Skis Oso 105 Hero Image

Romp Skis Oso 105 Nate Swanner / Nate Swanner

You're not alone if you are bored with groomed blue and black runs and are looking for that off-piste skiing experience. Experienced skiers often look for new territory and tougher terrain to conquer. It's just human nature!

Read more