Valdez Heli Touring (Alaska)

RFS, Valdez Heli Touring with Pacific Alpine Guides

Alaska Helicopter Touring with Pacific Alpine GuidesDESCRIPTION

Chugach Heli Touring with Pacific Alpine Guides

The Chugach Mountains are a legendary steep skiing mecca visited by pilgrims from around the world. This heli touring week offers an opportunity to intimately experience this terrain using a combination of A-Star B3 helicopter and incredible road access on Thompson Pass.

Cherry Couloir on Python Peak, Valdez Heli Touring with Pacific Alpine GuidesOn a given day our small group is dropped off on top of one of the towering peaks in the range, and our day begins with an Alaskan descent. We spend the rest of the day touring in the high alpine, having skipped the 2,000′ approach, and at the end of the day we ski back to the Richardson Highway.

Regular heli-skiing trips are fast paced and expensive (upwards of $8,000), but with 5 days to work with, we’ll almost certainly get in two heli touring days, with the option for additional days.

A few of the classic lines we’ll have access to:

• The Berlin Wall
• The Promised Land
• The Cherry Couloir on Python Peak
• RFS (an acronym for Real ……. Steep)
• Tones Temple
• Sapphire Peak
• Mt. Diamond
• Worthington Glacier

Standard trip includes:

• Six days of guided ski touring and ski mountaineering with an AMGA Certified Guide
• Low 3:1 ratio
• 2 heli drops (“bumps”) with the option for additional drops*
• Ground transportation between Valdez and Thompson Pass

All-inclusive option adds:

• 6 nights lodging at the Harbor Inn in Valdez
• All meals (excludes beverages)

*With group consensus and good weather, additional drops can be added for approx. $250/person (depending on group size).

Skills covered on this trip include companion rescue, skiing in glaciated terrain, knots & hitches, roped travel, steep snow climbing, and helicopter safety.

Valdez Heli Touring with Pacific Alpine Guides

DAY 1: Arrive in Valdez, welcome briefing
DAY 2: Ski tour on Thompson Pass with skills practice and review along the way, including companion rescue and glacier skills;  helicopter safety briefing
DAY 3: Heli drop, touring in the high alpine
DAY 4: Classic Thompson Pass tour/ski descent(s)
DAY 5: Heli drop, touring in the high alpine
DAY 6: Option for additional heli drop, touring from Thompson Pass, or rest/weather days
DAY 7: Depart Valdez

Need rental gear? Items with the RENT link are available through us.

Skis with touring bindings – AT, tele, or splitboard: Your setup needs to be suitable for uphill touring and downhill skiing/riding.
Boots: AT, tele or snowboard boots.
Poles: Adjustable poles with powder baskets (ex: Black Diamond Traverse).
Climbing skins: Fit to skis (ex: Black Diamond Mohair Mix).
Ski crampons: Required.

Transceiver: Modern, single frequency [457 khz] transceiver, preferably less than five years old. A digital 3-antennae model is highly recommended (ex: BCA Tracker 2, Mammut Pulse Barryvox, Peips DSP). RENT
Shovel: Lightweight avalanche shovel. A metal blade and extendable handle are recommended (ex: G3 Avitech, BCA Companion EXT). RENT
Probe: Dedicated probe, ski pole probes are not sufficient. RENT
Day pack: 30 to 40 liters, should have some sort of ski attachment system (A-frame, vertical, diagonal, etc).

 Harness: Lightweight alpine harness with adjustable leg loops (ex: Petzl Adjama). For safety reasons, your harness needs to be less than 10 years old and in good condition. RENT
 (2) Locking carabiners: Pear shaped recommended (ex: Petzl Attache or Attache 3D).
 Ice axe: Lightweight 50-60cm mountaineering axe recommended (ex: Petzl Snowracer). RENT

There are many possible layering combinations for your upper body. Use the following recommendations as guidelines:
Baselayer top: Light to medium weight synthetic fabric (ex: Patagonia Capiline 1 or 2).
Lightweight insulating layer: Light fleece or synthetic layer (ex: Patagonia R1 Hoody).
 Softshell or shell jacket with hood: For wind, snow, rain, cold, etc.
Puffy (insulated) jacket: Synthetic or down with a hood (ex: Patagonia Micro Puff).

Baselayer bottoms: Medium weight (ex: Patagonia Capiline 2).
Ski pants: Regular ski pants will work, however we recommend a system of both a lightweight softshell pant, as well as a lightweight hardshell pant with full side zips. This provides maximum versatility for backcountry conditions.
Socks: Wool or synthetic, they should work well with your ski boots. Keep in mind that warmth comes from good circulation, not heavy socks. Your ski boot liners provide plenty of insulation.

Helmet: Skiing or climbing specific.
Warm hat
Sun hat: Baseball cap, visor, etc – Weather dependent.

Light glove: For touring.
Ski glove

Sunscreen: SPF 30 or greater, avoid spray on (ex: Doc Martin’s of Maui).
Lip balm: With SPF protection.
 Buff® (optional)
Water bottles(s) or hydration system: Water bottles should have a screw top (no bike bottles); hydration system should have an insulated tube.
Thermos (optional)
Camera: Don’t forget extra batteries.

The following gear is not required for this course, however if you have any of the following items please bring them.
Airbag pack RENT
Ski strap
Repair kit: We suggest carrying a small repair kit with items specific to your ski or splitboard equipment. Extra binding parts (including mounting screws), an extra tip loop for your skins, an extra pole basket, etc. Other great MacGyver items are bailing wire, zip ties, and duct tape.
Wax: For skis and to prevent snow from glomming onto your skins.
 Watch: Altimeter recommended.
 Notebook & pencil 


    • Previous ski touring experience and advanced skiing or riding ability is required. You should feel comfortable skiing black diamond terrain in the ski area, or 40°+ slopes in the backcountry.
    • AIARE Level 1 or equivalent avalanche training is recommended.


    • Good physical fitness is required. You should be able to ascend/descend 4000′ in a day carrying a 15-20 lb. pack.


• Six days of guided ski touring and ski mountaineering with an AMGA Certified Guide
• Low 3:1 ratio
• 2 heli drops (“bumps”) with the option for additional drops
• Ground transportation between Valdez and Thompson Pass
• 6 nights lodging at the Harbor Inn in Valdez [included in all-inclusive cost]
• All meals (except beverages) [included in all-inclusive cost]


• Flights to and from Valdez


Direct Flights

Era Aviation flies twice daily from Anchorage and these flights can be booked as a connection through Alaska Airlines. If possible, we recommend getting on the earlier flight as ski bags have been known to get bumped to later flights.

Driving From Anchorage

Driving from Anchorage to Valdez takes 5-6 hours under optimal conditions. There are numerous car rental agencies at the Anchorage airport.



Chugach Mountains & Valdez, Alaska

7 days

3:1 max

April 18-24, 2014

$2250 / $2900 per person (standard / all-inclusive)

+Custom Cost
Call (888) 674-8492 or email us.