Snow Sucks? Rent a Heli.
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
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.
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.
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.
Sail to Ski Norway
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.
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.