Off The Beaten Track: Heli-Skiing In The Hinterlands
Looking for a landing spot. (Ruby Mountain Heli-Experience)
Whenever favorite stashes get carved up, or the maddening crowds threaten your first tracks, it may be time to shell out the bucks for a helicopter ride deep into Powder Country in the West.
Longtime heli-skiers and ‘boarders can rattle off the famous rock-star locales: Banff and The Bugaboos in B.C., Little Cottonwood Canyon in Utah, Valdez in Alaska, and the San Juans in Colorado.
But there are others, a bit less renowned but all in the midst of mammoth powder bowls, glades and chutes. SnoCountry.com took a look a bit deeper into the heli-skiing world and came up with a few more options:
High Mountain Heli-Skiing works out of Jackson Hole and flies into the Tetons. Groups of five with a guide get 6-7 trips a day for 12,000-15,000 feet of vert in 305,000 acres of advanced to expert bowls, chutes and glades. Stay on Jackson Hole side or over divide at spa near Victor, Idaho.
Diamond Peaks is a mom-and-pop operation that flies into the rugged North Wasatch Range outside Ogden. Six runs with 18,000-20,000 feet of vert awaits for upper intermediate and higher level ability. Takeoff from summit of Powder Mountain, where they'll should be plenty of inbounds untracked for the trip down to the car.
Ruby Mountains Heli-Experience begins at new ranch house lodge about 20 miles off Elko (Nevada) exit on I-80 The small 60-mile long, 12-mile wide Ruby Mountain Range rises to 11,000 feet to catch super-dry desert powder. Stay-and-fly package covers seven runs and cops 13,000+ vert per day. Snowcat ready for backup on stormy days.
Some five hours from Seattle in Mazama, laid-back North Cascade Heli offers one- and three-day excursions for skiers and riders to get to Washington’s highest elevations (8,000 feet) in the gnarly North Cascade Mountains. Run "by riders for riders," there are five areas to choose from with prime mountain lodge accommodations.