Helicopter rides taking Edmonton’s Silver Skate Festival to new heights

Edmontonians can take helicopter rides at this year's Silver Skate Festival. Global News

A signature winter festival in Edmonton is stepping up its game, way up above Hawrelak Park.

The Silver Skate Festival will be offering helicopter tours this year, landing and taking off from the festival site on the first Saturday and Sunday of the event (Feb. 9 and 10).

Event organizers say the three passenger rides will be a thrill for guests.

“This is really exciting for us because it gives Edmontonians the chance to see the river valley and the downtown core from a different lens,” said Erin Diloreto, the festival executive director.

“We’re really excited about how things are progressing for our 29th year,” Diloreto added.

The attraction will provide the non-profit festival with sustainable revenue, an important aspect for an organization that relies heavily on government grants and sponsorship dollars to pull off the free annual event.

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Edmonton’s Synergy Aviation has seen success in the tourism industry and stepped in to offer the attraction, along with a portion of the profits, to the festival.

The chopper rides will cost $80 per person, and can be booked in advance online or in person at the festival site, though Diloreto anticipates it selling out quickly.

“It’s absolutely spectacular. It’s a bird’s eye view of what our city has to offer,” said Ben Ruszkowski with Synergy Aviation.

“The ride itself should be about a 10- to 12-minute ride through the river valley up through the Ice District back,” explained Ruszkowski.

Ruszkowski said if demand for the chopper rides are high on the first weekend, they will add additional rides for the second Saturday and Sunday of the event (Feb. 16 and 17).

The Silver Skate Festival runs from Feb. 8-18, 2019. It also features an international snow-sculpting symposium, a heritage village, live performances, fire sculptures and more.



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