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Snow Sucks? Rent a Heli.

It's time to book a ticket north

(Arctic Travel and Leisure AS)

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It's time to book a ticket north

Outside recently declared this season the worst winter the West has experienced in 60 years. Despite some recent low-pressure systems dropping a few inches of fresh, it doesn't seem like it's going to get much better.

But some places aren't suffering from lack of precip. In fact, Alaska recorded a record-setting snowfall rate of 10 inches per hour last December, and extra heavy snowfall is threatening to collapse roofs in Norway. If you really want to get to the goods, hop in a helicopter or jump on a boat for all-inclusive access to some of the best powder in the world. 

Here are five awesome adventures that will make your friends jealous. 

Alaska Rendezvous Heli-Ski Guides

Valdez, Alaska 

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(Alaska Rendevous)

Ali Meiners and the crew at ARG take safety seriously. They also run the Theo Meiners Snow Safety Foundation, a nonprofit committed to avalanche education, safety, and study. One of the oldest heli-ski operations in Alaska, for $7,900 you'll spend eight days being guided in the venerated Chugach mountain range, where skiers routinely average 24,000 vertical feet a day and push 50 degrees on the treeless chutes that make Alaska famous. 

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Viking Heliskiing

Ólafsfjörður, Iceland

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(Viking Heli Ski)

Combining a sailboat and a helicopter, this trip will give you a lifetime of bragging rights. After setting sail from northern Iceland, you’ll spend five days cruising through fjords, fishing, dining, and lounging. Oh, and you’ll also venture ashore where a helicopter will be waiting to take you to the top of nearby peaks. Bonus: all skis and avalanche gear are included. Trips are $9,400. 

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Tordrillo Mountain Lodge

Anchorage, Alaska

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(Tordrillo Mountain Lodge)

This lakeshore lodge located within eyeshot of two 11,000-foot volcanoes and Denali, the highest peak in the U.S., is also home to one of the most exclusive heli operations in the world. Despite being a 40-minute plane ride from Anchorage, the lodge offers high-speed WiFi, a wood-fired sauna, and a $500 bottle wine cellar. Of course, all of that comes at a price as an eight-day adventures start at $14,000. 

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Sail to Ski Norway

Hansnes, Norway

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For something a little different and more affordable (trips are $3,500 per person), check out this sail-to-ski trip which launches from one of Norway’s northern islands. Home base for the week-long expedition is a luxurious catamaran complete with fancy fish dinners and Arctic plunges into the near-frozen ocean. Take a dinghy to shore during the day for 1,500-meter ski tours in the rarely skied Lyngen Alps.

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Valdez Heli

Valdez, Alaska

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(Valdez Heli)

With access to more than 550 of the steepest runs in North America to choose from, Valdez Heli caters to expert riders only. On days when the weather’s not cooperating, they use a snowcat to access terrain right out the front door which guarantees you'll be getting face shots every day you're there. And if shredding 24,000 vertical feet per day isn’t enough for you, they also have an on-site gym. Book a seven-day adventure for $11,000. 

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Nicolas Henderson/Creative Commons )

San Marcos, Texas

Billed as the world’s toughest canoe race, the Texas Water Safari, held each June, is a four-day, 260-mile jaunt from the headwaters of the San Marcos River northeast of San Antonio to the small shrimping town of Seadrift on the Gulf Coast. There’s no prize money—just bragging rights for the winner. Any boat without a motor is allowed, and you’ll have to carry your own equipment and overnight gear. Food and water are provided at aid stations along the way. Entry fees start at $175 and increase as race day approaches.

The Ring

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(Courtesy Quatro Hubbard)

Strasburg, Virginia

The Ring is a 71-mile trail running race in early September along the entire length of Virginia’s rough and rocky Massanutten Trail loop. To qualify, you need to have run a 50- or 100-mile race before the event and win a spot through the lottery system. Entry is free. Complete the run and you’ll become part of the tight-knit Fellowship of the Ring and be eligible for the Reverse Ring, which entails running the trail backwards in the middle of winter.

Plaza2Peak

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(David Silver)

Santa Fe, New Mexico

Each spring, competitors gather in Santa Fe’s historic plaza with a simple goal: be the first to reach 12,308-foot Deception Peak, 17 miles and 5,000 feet of elevation gain away. Competitors run or bike the first 15 miles to the local ski area before transitioning to their waiting ski-touring setups for the final push to the top. Time stops only when they’ve skied back down to the tailgate in the resort’s parking lot, which is funded by the modest entry fee of around $25. To add to the sufferfest, some participants sign up for the Expedition category, in which they strap their skis, skins, boots, and poles to their bikes for the long ride up. Start dates vary depending on snow conditions, but look for the event page to be posted on Facebook in late March or early April.

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