Heli-Skiing in Alaska and Switzerland

November 14, 2005 By:Mary Winston Nicklin

Alaska Heli-Skiing

I admit it; I’ve never done it. But after a few beers the other night with a couple who lead springtime Heli-skiing tours in Alaska, I was well on my way out the door. Who needs the tropics when I could ski snow-capped peaks and glacier-carved mountains all by my lonesome?! (And I’m no ski junkie.) Up in Alaska, the winter season runs from late February until May. Heli-skiing operations like Points North Heli-Adventures (utilizing over 1,000 sq miles of skiable terrain in the Chugach mountains) provide an average of 20-25,000 feet of vertical per day. (Excursions average 6-10 heli runs and $850-900 a day.) I checked out a feature in Outside Traveler’s Winter issue, which was equally as convincing about heli-ski tours in the central Alps. Apparently heli-skiing trips in Switzerland used to be rather boring—a daytrip appended to a traditional lift-skiing vaca at the big resorts. But this season, adrenaline hounds can experience SwisSkiSafari’s Ultimate Journey, as described by the Outside author:

“a four-day, five-night, fine-wine-and-slide luxury tour that zips skiers around the country’s top resorts in privately chartered B3’s and Bell 407’s. You start in Verbier (about 1,000 miles east of Geneva), then fly east to Zermatt and Saas Fee, making backcountry drops in between—wherever the snow is best. Doing 5,000- to 7,000-vertical-foot runs in a single push can hurt, but returning every evening to top-notch digs and massages blunts the pain.”

Bring it on! Can anyone advise me-- additionally-- about good operators in the Rockies?


Related Hotels

Thornbury Castle

Thornbury, United Kingdom

Kings and queens have stayed here. Courtiers have flirted with ladies-in-waiting in the ancient yew-hedged gardens. Serving girls have chattered in the stone-flagged courtyard. Today, Thornbury Castle still resonates with history... more >>

Style:
Classic Luxury
Rating:

Castle Hotel and Spa

Tarrytown, United States

Situated on sprawling hilltop acres overlooking the Hudson River, the main tower of Castle Hotel & Spa forms the highest point in Westchester County. Castle Hotel & Spa is a medieval-style structure that was meticulously... more >>

Style:
Classic Luxury
Rating:

L'Hotel

Paris, France

L'hotel has counted quite a few legendary celebrity among its guests and has been the scene of many extraordinary events (including the death of Oscar Wilde). Each of the 20 rooms has its own character, its own universe or is... more >>

Style:
Boutique/Design
Rating:

Hotel Lungarno

Florence, Italy

At the Hotel Lungarno, the view of the river and over the city is a unique experience. Famous for its attentive and discreet service, the Lungarno offers a breathtaking view over many of the landmarks and sights that gave... more >>

Style:
Classic Luxury
Rating:

Relais de Margaux

Margaux, France

The Relais de Margaux is a a luxury hotel outside Bordeaux with 100 rooms and suites, swimming pool, tennis court, volleyball pitch and private harbor. The Gastronomic Restaurant delights the taste-buds of all food-lovers. The... more >>

Style:
Classic Luxury
Rating: