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Valdez Heli-skiing - any tree skiing?

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

Hello, guys!


Do they have any tree skiing at the heli-ops based out of Valdez? I haven't heard of it, but just interested.

post #2 of 11

We did a little bit of tree skiing on the west side of Thompson Pass during a couple of days when the heli was shut down during the big storm that happened right as we arrived at Alaska Rendezvous Lodge (ARL).  The lodge shuttled us to somewhere near the top of the pass, we skied a little bit of open terrain and in some trees, and then the van picked us up a couple of switchbacks down.  


The treeline up there is very low.  I'm not sure the exact elevation, but my guess is it's not much higher than about 1,500 feet above sea level.  Also, the "trees" that we saw were mostly thick alders and other deciduous stuff.  It didn't make for nice, Steamboat-style glade skiing.  It made for serious, obstacle-course bushwhacking when we were in the trees on those van-shuttle days.  We had a great time, but I wouldn't travel thousands of miles for that skiing.


I did a long report on that trip and you might want to take a look:


Trip Report article on our experience at ARL.


In looking up that link, I noticed that there are a few photos in the report where you can see some of the low-elevation vegetation in the background.  You can decide for yourself how much fun that stuff would be to ski. It's just not a significant element of the skiing scene up there.


Have fun if you go.  I sure did.

Edited by Bob Peters - 12/6/12 at 2:49pm
post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 

My question is actually whether they ski the trees when they go heli-skiing? Or is all the terrain accessible via heli in the high alpine?

post #4 of 11

Everything we skied in the heli was above treeline except for the very, very bottom portion of a couple of peaks where we skied open areas flanked by stands of gnarly deciduous trees.

post #5 of 11

I don't think may people go to Valdez to ski tree's. There are a lot of great cat op's where you can ski tree's all day long.

post #6 of 11
Thread Starter 

Thanks, for the answers!

post #7 of 11

Yeah, I'd have to agree with eccimortal. No experience, but if I was looking for tree skiing, I'd be looking at some of the BC cat operations. Alaska heli seems all about big, above-treeline faces and fields and seems like a lot of extra expense if you're looking for trees.

post #8 of 11
Thread Starter 

Not really, I am instead looking for no-tree-skiing experience and thought AK could be on my list.

post #9 of 11

CPG out of Girdwood does a nice job.   Easier to get to, nicer town/accommodations and cat/resort backup.

post #10 of 11
post #11 of 11

What Bob Peters said.


Timber line is at a much lower elevation due to the latitude in the Chugach or pretty much any where North of there.  Central Alaska is not real strong in that department.  


That said some of the nicest tree runs I have ever skied were off of Max's Mountain; the right side of the cirque that makes up Alyeska.  It can be hiked but a heli ride sure made it a lot easier.

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