In Pursuit of Adventure: A Q&A with Heli Founder Andy Culp
Looking for your next great adventure but aren't sure where to start? Meet Heli, a global marketplace for adventure travel. Specializing in the extreme, Heli can take you from the top of the mountain to the middle of a safari and honestly everywhere you can imagine in between. We caught up with Heli founder, Andy Culp to talk Heli adventures, their not to miss new season pass, and more. Here's what he had to say.
Heli is a pretty unique company. Can you tell us how you came up with the idea?
The idea for Heli was born out of my experience working for the world’s biggest heliskiing operation, CMH, where I realized that the process of discovering and booking a heliskiing trip was very challenging for customers, while also still totally analog on the operator side. Initially, we started Heli to make it easier for ourselves and friends to go heliskiing together in a modern, relevant way. Crazy how far we’ve come.
If people don’t heli ski, what other adventures does Heli offer?
Our first several years in business were spent defining our business model and initial technology with a focus on heliskiing. Before committing to building a scalable tech business, however, we recognized that the challenges faced by the heliskiing market were also faced by other similarly fragmented adventure categories with outdated booking technology. Now, our marketplace and booking software is used by over 300 operator sellers across heliskiing, catskiing, backcountry touring, kitesurfing, surfing, diving, mountain biking, fishing, trekking, safari, yoga/wellness and more. It’s also worth mentioning that our adventures are suitable for a range of ability levels, which are identified on each individual trip package; an intermediate skier seeking an elevated ski experience can still find and book an appropriate package with us.
What has been the most rewarding thing about your experience with Heli?
From a purely self-serving perspective, my team and I have been blessed with the opportunity to travel the world in the pursuit of the most amazing adventure sport experiences. From a brand perspective, the most rewarding thing for me is being able to share our passion for adventure with our community of guests. Ultimately, it is the people we meet and the true joy Heli has helped them feel which makes this much, much more than just a for-profit business. Personally, Heli has allowed me to find my purpose which is reflected in our mission: to unite through adventure. From a professional standpoint, I am absolutely humbled by the team that has come together behind Heli. We started as just a few folks and now we are a full team of diverse guys and gals from all over the world. Creating jobs and a platform for others to succeed is tremendously rewarding.
Heli just launched the Heli Unlimited Season Pass. Can you tell us a little about it and how it works?
Heli is uniquely positioned to package the first-ever global heliskiing season pass with unlimited heliskiing days across all operators and regions, called the Heli Unlimited Season Pass. We have priced this Ultimate Pass as competitively as possible to allow holders to pay one flat price to book as many trips as they like through our dedicated concierge service and streamlined planning and logistics, while adding several perks from our family of brand partners, including Rhone. Based on demand, we are also offering an extremely accessible Heli Alpha Season Pass that will allow members to purchase an unlimited amount of discounted adventures (across all sports, not just heliskiing) without paying a larger upfront fee. We believe that these two pass options will give just about anyone in our community the opportunity to find even greater value than we currently offer while incentivizing our repeat and multi-purchase guests to take more adventures.
What makes the season pass better than just a single Heli experience?
The Heli Unlimited Season Pass is special because it offers greater flexibility to book heliskiing without concern for varied pricing across operators and regions. Pay one price and then it’s all you can eat! Of course, we will also provide white-glove concierge and agent service support to all passholders and offer incentives from our favorite brand partners. When it comes to skiing powder, more is generally better! The Heli Alpha Season Pass offers an accessible membership-style option for just about anyone!
What is your favorite trip you’ve taken with Heli?
My favorite trips are those taken with friends that are experiencing our adventures for the first time. Last year, my younger brother Kai joined me on his first heliskiing trip in British Columbia. It was truly special to see how stoked he was and to share that experience with him. It can sometimes be hard for people to understand what I do or who I am until they experience it for themselves. My brother understands now.
What trip are you looking forward to taking next with Heli?
I am very much looking forward to a prospective kiteboarding trip to Greece and Italy. I haven’t spent much time in Europe and being able to use adventure and sports as a vehicle to experience a new part of the world means everything to me.
Favorite item of Rhone clothing?
Oh, man. It truly depends on what I’m doing as I have a piece of Rhone gear for just about every occasion. That being said, one of my go-to looks for anything from work to going out consists of the Commuter Jogger, henley, and beanie with, obviously, the boxer brief beneath it all!