If winter is your favorite season for the mountains and their outdoor adventure possibilities, then you’ve probably been searching for the ultimate ski experience. Chances are you’ve thought about how much you’d love to avoid the hassle of ski lift passes and waiting in line and instead simply shred down the mountains when and where you please. The truth is—that’s possible.
It may sound like the stuff for royalty, but it’s more possible than you think. Welcome yourself to the world of heli-skiing, one of the various types of skiing adventurers have brought to life. With heli-skiing you can find the best powder, the most pristine runs, and even the possibility as the first descent down a drop. Luxurious enough to make it cost a bundle, it’s still not something that you should erase from your bucket list—the sooner you plan and save, the sooner you’ll be swooped up in a helicopter and dropped on a mountaintop in open country. Check out some of the top heli-ski destinations in North America to start planning your trip of a lifetime now. Don’t miss it!
Revelstoke, British Columbia
For the 1 percent who can afford it, the Bighorn at Revelstoke is the place to go if you can swing it. Think of it—a European-inspired chalet and a Canadian heli-ski outfit. Gather 15 of your pals, and the staff will prep your skis, mix your cocktails, massage any aches, and of course, fly you up to the 500,000 acres worth of glades, bowls, and glaciers. A week at the chalet will cost you about $65,000—but it more than makes up for the cost, as it’s the best place you can go if you can afford it.
If you’re on the opposite end of the spectrum, then head to Mazama. Though heli-skiing is never “cheap,” Mazama is at least closer to affordable. A few hours east of Seattle is where you’ll find North Cascade Heli, a laid-back company “by the riders for the riders.” They can cut you deals in March if you head out west for spring break, not to mention you still get great powder for a fraction of the price.
Next on our list is a heli-ski destination that’s great for people that aren’t totally confident in their backcountry skiing abilities. Don’t worry, there’s still plenty of advanced terrain on the San Juans, but it also caters to those who want the experience but don’t quite have the tenacity. Helitrax, the company operating out of Mountain Village, operates in some of the highest terrain on the continent. So you’re sure to get at least six solid runs during your trip!
Alaska is another state that’s bursting with perfect heli-skiing destinations, and one of our favorites is Haines. Now, you’re not going to find the same luxurious packages you’ll find at some other spots; there isn’t a central lodge, there’s no hot chocolate after your first run, and there definitely aren’t massages. However, you do have a much higher chance of making a first descent when you head out here—something you’ll remember for a lifetime.