This extraordinary trip is based in historic Valdez, Alaska and the legendary Chugach Mountains – the pinnacle of big mountain backcountry riding.
Valdez is a small coastal community in South-Central Alaska on the northeast edge of Prince William Sound. The town is located at the head of a deep glacier-carved fjord that extends 11 miles from Prince William Sound into the Chugach Mountains. Towering mountains laden with snow and glaciers completely surround Valdez; and peaks rise more than 5,000 vertical feet straight out of the ocean.
Heli Launch Pad
Our Astar AS350 helicopters launch from Valdez Pioneer Field – a five-minute drive from town. Valdez is ideally located for helicopters to access vast zones of prime heli-ski terrain. Our permitted terrain includes thousands of square miles of the Chugach Mountains, with more ski runs than could be skied in several lifetimes. Our tenure includes the coveted Chugach National Forest regions southeast of Valdez, where we’re permitted for heli-skiing by a Special Use Permit administered by the Cordova Ranger District.
The Valdez Snow Vortex
Snow is an inexhaustible resource in Valdez and the surrounding Chugach Mountains; this is the snowiest region in Alaska and perhaps the world thanks to its ideal geographic location, heavy maritime precipitation, mountainous topography that enhances orographic snowfall, an extensive glacial refrigeration effect, and other key factors. Storms in the northern Gulf of Alaska generate bountiful snowfall over the South Central Chugach Mountains all winter, and when the oceanic firehose aims at Valdez, we often measure storm snow accumulation in meters.
Valdez, barely above sea level, averages 325 inches of snowfall annually (twice as much as Haines). Glaciated alpine zones easily receive at least double or triple that amount – likely more during big seasons. Measuring the depth of the annual snowpack in remote regions of the Chugach is virtually impossible, thus it’s unknown exactly how much snow accumulates seasonally in remote locales. However, thousands of square miles of extreme glaciation throughout our heli-skiing terrain demonstrates the magnitude of annual snowfall that extends back centuries and continues today.
Accommodations in Valdez
Your Valdez lodging accommodations are at the new Totem Hotel (https://totemhotelandsuites.com/) located a short walk from the waterfront and the Valdez Small Boat Harbor. The Totem Hotel features cordial staff, modern and eco-friendly guest rooms with luxury bedding, hot breakfast buffet, an indoor pool and exercise room, plus other comforts and conveniences to get you rested and rejuvenated after big days of heli-skiing.
You’ll enjoy numerous amenities in Valdez during your heli-skiing trip. You can easily walk from the Totem Hotel to numerous amenities around town including restaurants, shops, Safeway (with a liquor store), Rogue’s Garden (cafe and organic foods), Valdez Food Cache (groceries), The Coffee Company, Growler Bay Brewing, Valdez Brewing, The Prospector (gear outfitter), Prince William Sound College Health & Fitness Center, the Post Office, Valdez Rock Wall Gym, museums, Valdez Small Boat Harbor, Port of Valdez Ferry Terminal, Duck Flats, and more. Valdez has a community-centric vibe, an easy going pace of life, and jaw-dropping scenery in every direction.
Wildlife flourishes in and around Port Valdez including numerous bird species (e.g. eagles, puffins, great blue heron), otters, seals, sea lions, bears (in late April), lynx, humpback whales, Orcas, Minke whales, and Dall porpoises. Also thriving in the waters of Port Valdez and local rivers and streams are ample species of fish like King Salmon, Coho Salmon, Pink Salmon, Red Sockeye Salmon, Halibut, Lingcod, Rockfish, Salmon Shark, Dolly Varden, Rainbow Trout plus several species of shrimp.
While Valdez offers delightful conveniences and provisions, a rich natural and cultural history, huge diversity of wildlife, and striking beauty, you’re ultimately traveling here to go heli-skiing in the renowned Chugach Mountains. And we’ve got it dialed in with our huge amount of permitted terrain, handpicked professional guide team, and intimate knowledge of these mountains. Quite simply, nothing compares. We’re excited to share the profound and thrilling experience of heli-skiing in the Chugach with you!