alaska heli-skiing trip FAQs
What is Hobbs or blade time?
Flight time is tracked by the Hobbs meter onboard the helicopter. The meter begins tracking when the pilot raises the collective. This alters the pitch of the rotor blades simultaneously (collectively) and causes the helicopter to fly. The meter pauses when the helicopter is on a Landing Zone or Pickup Zone with the collective down, or during fueling, even when the blades are spinning.
How many runs will I ski?
Guests typically average 6-8 runs per Hobbs hour. Keep in mind these are not "runs" at your local ski resort - these are massive vertical Alaskan lines, in remote big mountain terrain. So 6-8 Alaska lines are far bigger, longer, and more significant ski resort runs.
The exact number of daily runs varies depending on a number of factors including: weather conditions, snow stability, group ability, group objectives, flight distances to the intended terrain, and multiple other factors involving flight operations.
We do not ski a standard circuit within a small region simply to rack up as many runs as possible. Some days you'll ski more runs and some days less, especially if we must fly deeper to access better snow and weather conditions. Our focus is quality over quantity, and we are always seeking the best snow, terrain, and weather conditions even when we must incur longer flight times, while always focusing on safety.
What kind of helicopters do you have?
AS350 AStar helicopters - powerful, efficient aircraft that are ideal for heli-skiing in Alaska.
How many groups are in the helicopter?
We fly with 2-3 groups per helicopter.
How many people are in a group?
Each group has up to five people. Note that if you book with less than 5 people, other guests may book any open seats (a deposit is required to confirm all seats).
What is the avalanche risk?
Avalanches are an inherent risk of heli-skiing in Alaska, and anyone who chooses to ski with us assumes that risk. Though avalanche risk can never be fully eliminated, our program is designed to mitigate risk and avoid avalanches. On arrival day each guest will complete our orientation and safety briefing that includes but is not limited to avalanche burial search and rescue practice.
How much terrain do you have?
Virtually unlimited. New for 2022: we are proud and humbled that the Cordova Ranger District chose Pulseline Adventure as one of the recipients of a Special Use Permit for heli-skiing on the Chugach National Forest, widely considered the finest skiing and snowboarding terrain on the planet.
We are also permitted to fly on all State of Alaska lands that are managed by the Department of Natural Resources. State lands in the Chugach Mountains offer more terrain than could be skied in several lifetimes, and the terrain is stunning.
Alaska heli-skiing started in the early 1990s, and after three decades much of the terrain remains untouched and waiting to be skied. With a few thousand square miles of mountains available to explore, there’s always another run of a lifetime right around the corner.
How long will we ski each day?
Weather, snow conditions, amount of daylight, and other factors dictate how long we can heli-ski each day. Some days we may be out crushing it from dawn to dusk. Other days we may launch later or return earlier due to conditions.
When is the best time to come?
Any week of the season can be excellent with extraordinary snow conditions, so we recommend that you reserve the dates that work best for your schedule.
How do I get to Valdez?
Several airlines offer flights to Ted Stevens International Airport in Anchorage, and Ravn Alaska offers flights to Valdez. Driving to Valdez takes approximately 5-6 hours via Glenn Highway to Richardson Highway. The drive features beautiful scenery including massive mountain ranges, glaciers, and wildlife. Check weather and road conditions carefully as this can be a challenging winter drive, and a four-wheel drive vehicle is recommended.
What happens if we can’t go heli-skiing because of weather?
Valdez has a variety of options for Alaska adventures and activities when we can’t fly like backcountry touring, glacier exploration, sea kayaking, boat tours, fishing, indoor swimming pool, gym, cross country skiing and hydrofoils on the ocean. Some of those 3rd-party activities have additional costs. We can help facilitate "down day" activities when heli-skiing isn’t possible.
Are Avalanche Airbags required?
Everyone must wear an avalanche airbag while heli-skiing with Pulseline. Ortovox Freerider 22 Avabag packs are included in our packages. We also have discount codes for you to purchase a new Ortovox Avabag (order in advance to ensure your bag is shipped in time for your trip). You may bring your own airbag pack and fill your canister in Valdez, or you can find several shops in or near Anchorage that will fill your canister. If you have some time before heading to Valdez, take care of this in advance to cross it off the list. Locations include:
- Dive Alaska, Anchorage
- Alaska Avalanche School, Anchorage
- Girdwood Fire Department, Girdwood
- Alaska Aquatics, Wasilla
- Pulseline Adventure, Valdez
- The Prospector, Valdez
Do I need to bring my own transceiver, shovel, and probe?
If you wish, but your package includes an Ortovox transceiver, shovel, and probe. Modern, digital, three antenna transceivers are required. Shovels must be metal. Probes should be at least 2 meters.
Do I need trip insurance?
Trip insurance is mandatory, and several companies have offered trip insurance policies tailored for heli-skiing previously including AIG Travel Guard Plus.
What is your refund/credit policy?
Please familiarize yourself with our trip Policies.