The Great Ungroomed

Dec 1, 2004
Outside Magazine
heli ski

Padded Landings: Up in the Deep Snow

If heli-skiing out of Points North Heli Adventures' comfy lodge, a converted cannery in Cordova, Alaska, isn't exotic enough, reserve the Maritime Maid, an 85-foot former fish tender that cruises Prince William Sound's inlets with a helicopter, stalking the choicest runs in the ragged Chugach Mountains. This winter, PNHA has added Majestic Valley, a new lodge at Tahneta Pass, between the Chugach and Talkeetna ranges. Prices will run US$9,250 per week for the Maritime Maid and US$4,875 for Majestic Valley Lodge; 877-787-6784,

Charter the 110-foot MV Ocean Explorer I, a floating heli-base that roams the spectacularly fractured B.C. coast for a week, scoping out towering lines in the northern Coast Mountains. A typical day on this Bella Coola Heli Sports odyssey? Wake up, set crab pots, pile into the chopper, plunder powder, return for wakeboarding and cioppino. Group of eight, US$68,456 per week; 604-932-3000,

A five-hour drive northeast from Seattle takes you to the Methow Valley—home of sunshine, chalk-dry snow, and North Cascade Heli-Skiing. If you think the popular three-day package sounds like some sort of junior-varsity heli-experience, wait till the skids of the A-Star touch down on 8,876-foot Silver Star glacier, with 4,000 feet of turns below your K2 Seth Pistols. Prices start at US$2,545 and include lodging at the luxurious Freestone Inn; 800-494-4354, For 38 years, Ruby Mountain Helicopter Skiing has flown into the Rubies, a fistful of unlikely, rugged peaks that jab out of Nevada's Great Basin, snagging 300-plus inches of Utah-quality snowfall annually. That and a few nights at the plush, 100-acre Reds Ranch make a three-day trip with this outfit a popular topper to a week at a Wasatch resort, 270 miles to the east. US$3,050; 775-753-6867,