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Heliskiing in Alaska and skiing ability? - Page 2

post #31 of 40

4ster is a little humble.  He is a fantastic skier that never tires. It helps that he skies 130 days a year.  I skied with him last winter and wasn't sure I was going to be able to walk to the car when the day was over.  If you are unsure of your ability to handle Alaska I second the idea of a week in Canada.  It will be unforgettable.
post #32 of 40
Thread Starter 
Yeah, exactly!
He's an excellent skier. The way he ripped down the line on the video is just worldclass. It looks like there is some GS racing background involved. 
post #33 of 40
Hey, GNOJ.

Here's a link to a series of threads that was made into wiki on heli skiing at Alaska Rendezvous Lodge:


My wife and I and some friends skied for a week in March of 2007 at this lodge on Thompson Pass outside Valdez.  You might find some additional answers to several of your questions in that thread.

Here are a few photos from that trip:

My wife:


One of the runs we skied:

Heli heading down for a pickup:

Typical terrain:

More terrain:

You get the picture.

It's a mind-bending experience. 
post #34 of 40
That picture of your wife in the deeeep gets me every time!

post #35 of 40
Heli-skiing is ridiculously expensive, but when it's good like in those pictures it all seems worth it, at any price.
post #36 of 40
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the link, Bob!
post #37 of 40
On the other hand, I spent a week skiing at Wiegle's about 14 yrs. ago.  The terrain & snow was fabulous.  We averaged 35000' vertical each day & the weather was great.  There was a wide range of skiing abilities & terrain to match.  There were enough guests there, that groups could be matched closely to ability & terrain skied.  The accomodations & food were stellar.
I agree completely, based upon my week there in 2006.  I was moved to a much stronger group after the first day, then I asked to dial it back a bit after 4 days since I was getting tired.  With 90+ skiers there and using A-Stars for the slowest groups, you will get ability-matched even if you don't know beforehand where you might fit it. 

As an aside I got 2 days at Wiegele the next season, reserved just 3 weeks before.  With the slow economy and more competition in B.C. you can often get short notice heli time for less than a week booked less than month ahead.

I disagree somewhat about the Canada snowcat recommendation for first timers.  You do get more rest time between runs, BUT:
1) The skiing tends to be mostly in the trees, more demanding than alpine most of the time.
2) Groups are large, 10-12 people, sometimes only one group, rarely more than 3.  So ability matching is more difficult.

For those who are unsure of their ability, a day cat/heli operation near a resort is the safest bet.  Snowcat at Targhee or near Steamboat, heli with RK at Panorama, at Whistler, or with Selkirk-Tangiers at the new Revelstoke resort.  Downside here is few runs and slow paces, experts will find it expensive for what you get. 
post #38 of 40
I 've heard from some buddies of mine that there is very good backcountry skiing in norway. Without really having any fist hand knowledge I would say that heading out that way seems a much better first step than Canada.

I grabbed this off of a website that offers guided ski touring in norway. I doubt that anything the guides in alaska will take you on will be that much gnarlier than the shaded face in this picture.  I'm not sure why people are suggesting cat skiing in canada.

Some more Norway Pics.

Alaska may be the mecca of offpiste skiing. But there is certainly comprable terrain much closer than canada.
post #39 of 40
If you have the dream to Copter ski in Alaska, and you can swing it, go do it. 

You don't have to be a world class big Mountain skier, your guide service will put you with a group where you fit.   You'll end up with the trip of a lifetime.  Will you be the best skier there, no a guide will; so what.

Most of us only get a handful of chances to fulfill our dreams, don't waste them.   GO!
post #40 of 40
check out the Steamboat Powdercats website. They have short videos showing the typical kind of terrain they use for various levels of ability, from intermediate to gnarxpert. It will give you an idea of what you could expect, and help pass the time until snowfall.
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