You see them all over the skiing forums, threads from people asking about all the different heli-ski operations in Alaska, as well as throughout Canada and the lower forty-eight. Dude, what’s the heli terrain like in Valdez vs. Haines? How are the guides at Bro-Show-Heli vs. Rad-Dude-Rotors? Will my helmeted head fit inside the heli with my GoPro attached, or will I have to remove it to get inside? How much does it cost and how much vertical will I get on March 15th? Will I get a refund if the weather craps out and we don’t fly all week?
I don’t do much heli-skiing, but I probably would if I could afford it and lived in a place that had a lot of heli-skiing opportunities. Most destination heli-skiing adventures involve packages that run 3-7 days and costs can add up to be a pretty big chunk of change, like a $6-8,000 sized chunk, so it’s important that you do your research and make sure you are in the right place at the right time, with the right group of folks to fulfill your heli-skiing dreams.
You can search the ski forums and ask as many questions as you like about the who, what, where and when of heli-skiing operations, but compiling all the information you seek can be a challenge and takes time that you’d rather be spending waxing your skis or at least talking about skiing at the local watering hole. Lucky for all you heli-rats out there, someone at FindTheBest has already done all the hard work for you by putting together a Heli-Skiing Reference Guide that you can peruse to your hearts content as you space out in front of the computer at night.
If you are thinking about booking a heli-skiing trip this winter, it’s worth at least a few minutes of your time to check out this reference guide as it has quite a bit of information about all the top players in the heli-skiing world. Things like packaged trip lengths, gear provided, cost relative to other companies, runs per day, guaranteed vertical, recommended skill level, refund policies, company history, etcâ€¦are all easily found in a well laid out format. You can search through the 84 heli-skiing company listings and sort through them based on cost, difficulty, trip length and location/mountain range, which makes seeing what your options are really easy, as well as maybe making you rethink your length of stay and the destination that fits you best.
I’m sure most of the information is relatively accurate, but I saw at least one error with my untrained earn-your-turns eye (North Cascades Heli-Ski in Wyoming?), so you may just want to double check some of the info listed before you drop-in on some credit card maxing heli trip. It’s a good resource all-in-all though if you need to crunch the numbers and are unsure about certain aspects of heli-skiing operations.
Also check out the posibility of getting a one ride heli drop and touring back to the road across a couple of peaks or ridges. I have a couple of friends that swear by this and your heli dollar will last much longer.
Get six friends and lease a heli and hire a pilot for 2 months with a trailer, fuel tank and RV. Then go and poach every heli-op in the land while skiing what you want (legally I might add).
got one….lease rate 6000 Euros a month…depending on pilot certs. (The internet habla everything.)
Only problem – I don’t have six friends.
Ptor, is this AK you are talking about, and do you know where i could find info?
I’m talking BC mainly because there are more roads and private use/non-commercial heli access is legal, even in tenured areas. I don’t know about AK. Details have to be figured out oneself but wouldn’t be far more different than what a film crew exploring a new area does. Still no cheap but way better than a commercial op if you can deal with what it takes to do it right both logistically and mountain wise. Just a fantasy really…but totally possible.
Just to let you know that in Valdez, the heli companies (1-bbl of oil per hour) require you to hire one of their guides if you want a drop off. Last year these companies in Valdez flew 33% of the time, which is about normal. I see lots of really frustrated skiers year after year, so bring your skins or ice tools. BC skiers skied 95% of the time. It’s your call and your money folks. I find lungs and skins have worked fine.
Actually ptor idea would work in Valdez. The new(was old) thing here is ski planes are back, cheaper and do not require you to have guide. Try Blue Ice Aviation for the Chugach. Ski planes are much “”greener” at a few gallons per hour. They allow base access, thus you have to actually climb to the top of peak, versus……CHEATING.