Inspired by Atomic’s snowboards of the late 1980s, it seemed only logical to Huber to use the floatability of snowboards as the basis for a better powder ski. Known by his nickname ‘Killy’ - earned in tribute to the great French ski racer Jean Claude Killy – Huber simply bandsawed a snowboard in half, turned its steel edges inward, and the fat ski was born.
It was a ski meant for deep powder and big mountains and there was no better theater to test the limits of this new design than the vast rugged terrain of CMH’s tenures across the interior of British Columbia. It was, as Humphrey Bogart put it, “the beginning of a beautiful friendship”.
The next iteration from Atomic would be the Powder Cruise, fashioned to offer a gentler transition for the average skier than the water ski-like Powder Plus. But it was with the creation of the Heli Daddy in 2006, built specifically for CMH’s Heli-Skiing needs, that would truly give flight to the relationship. “It was a game changer,” recalls Anderson, “we were able to have a one-ski quiver. It worked for 95% of our skiers if they were on the right length. It made our life easy. It was a no-brainer ski for us.”
So what makes a great heli ski? According to Anderson it’s one that’s maneuverable, can initiate turns easily, and comes in a variety of size platforms for the different snow depths experienced over the course of a winter. These principles govern Atomic and CMH’s alliance, an association that has created some of the world’s greatest powder skis.
“In 2009 we went to Austria on their invitation to collaborate,” says Andy of their ambition to create the next great post-Heli Daddy ski. “We sat down with Killy, a few of their ski engineers and a blank piece of paper. ‘What do you guys want?’, they asked us. They gave us carte blanche to imagine a ski that would work even better for our guests.” That teaming lead to the creation of the Atomic Heli Pro, a high performance powder ski whose development would trickle over into Atomic’s Access Line of skis.