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SnoCountry's Best Heli Skiing/Riding In Lower 48

Telluride Heli-SkiMany skiers and snowboarders dream of hopping into a helicopter and heading into the deep backcountry for a day far outside the ropes. Alaska and western Canada remain the premier locales for heli-skiing, but the Lower 48 has its own quality selection.

Here’s a look at SnoCountry’s choices for best helicopter skiing and riding in the contiguous USA:

Silverton. The remote San Juan Mountains of southwest Colorado provide the setting for a new heli-skiing service at what has been the West’s prime off-piste powder haven. More than 22,000 acres and 3,000 vert in chutes and bowls await, at a cost of $179 per run or $999 a day (six trips).

Wasatch. Powderbirds take off from the base of Snowbird and the Westgate Hotel at Park City Canyons for daily trips of 6-7 runs in Utah's Wasatch Mountains. Per-person day rate runs about $1,300, with private and charter tours also available into the far reaches of Little and Big Cottonwood canyons.

North Cascade. Far from the maddening crowds in Washington state, one- and three-day excursions take skiers and riders to more than 8,000 feet elevation in the remote North Cascade Mountains. For three days, cost is $3,200 with 21 runs guaranteed.

Ruby Mountains, Nev. Off the beaten track, skiers and riders come in from Elko to the 30-mile long Ruby Mountain Range that rises to 11,000 feet. Single day gets six runs, one night stay and meals for $1,475. Three-day tour costs $4,650 for 20 runs and extras.

Telluride. Specializing in intermediate heli-skiing terrain, about 200 square miles in the remote San Juans can be had for $1,150 single day. Custom and multi-day trips, including hotel, are available.

Photos: Top -- Chopper brings you to freshies way out of the way at Telluride (Telluride/Facebook); Bottom: Miles of untouched bowl skiing in North Cascades (North Cascade Heli-Ski/Facebook)

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