There are worse ways to blow your mortgage payment than skiing untouched powder. But it doesn’t have to be that pricey. There are four strategies that can help you maximize your access without going broke.
Avoid the peak season. Most Northern Hemisphere outfitters split the year into two pricing structures: prime time and everything else. High season generally runs from mid-January to the third week of March. Book before or after those dates and you’ll save. Example: a cat seat with Colorado’s Monarch Mountain is only $225 (instead of $300) if you reserve outside the busy season.
Book through a third party. Bundling sites—which combine airfare, hotel, outfitter costs, and car rental—are convenient, but they can also hook you up with great deals. Last year, Ski.com comped airfare for heli-skiers with Canadian Mountain Holidays. Even if you aren’t that lucky, you can still get discounts on lodging.
Go on tour. Heli-accessed backcountry touring burns more calories than flying laps and can cost half as much. We like the guided, all-inclusive week with Points North in Cordova, Alaska, which runs $2,275 versus $5,475 for a full heli trip.
Wait for it. Outfitters hate to leave empty seats on a cat or chopper, so they often post last-minute deals on Facebook, Twitter, and their websites. Last year, British Columbia–based White Grizzly gave a 40 percent discount to a customer who called the night before the trip, simply because there was room available.