Updated: Sep 15, 2020
For families looking for a bit more adventure - or a bit more privacy - this year, there are plenty of amazing ski experiences waiting for you.
In most ski resort areas, it's possible to hire a guide to take you back country skiing, which means you skin up the mountain and take a few runs over the course of the day. Which is great fun! But a lot of work.
Alternatively, you can book a snow cat ski trip, where a heated snow cat gets you up the mountain. Or you can access terrain via helicopter or snowmobile. Each year more options come available, but here are a few of our favorites.
Crested Butte Colorado Cat Skiing
Winter storms sweep across the western deserts of the US to unload their light and dry snow on the first mountains they encounter known as the West Elk range, home of Eleven’s cat skiing terrain. Located just 13 miles west of Crested Butte, Irwin is a meteorological anomaly, often seeing twice the amount of snow as the resort, averaging nearly 450 inches a season. This means seriously deep powder only reachable by snowcat or snowmobile.
Base out of the luxe and cozy Scarp Ridge Lodge right in downtown Crested Butte Colorado.
You can typically get in 8-10 runs per day, breaking for lunch. Expect après cocktails and snacks at the on-mountain chalet at day’s end. Three guides per group allows us to split the group into two and ski varying terrain.
Iceland Heli-Skiing at Deplar Farm
Heli-skiing in Iceland is an unforgettable experience. Long descents over the North Atlantic Ocean are punctuated by never ending sunsets. Limitless terrain ignites new exploration in even the most seasoned of skiers. Long daylight hours allow us to choose the best time of day to ski given the weather and snow conditions.
Early season and stormy periods equal powder skiing in a maritime climate, while long sunny days transition the snow into perfect corn skiing. Skiing, however, is just part of the Icelandic adventure. Sea kayaking in the fjords, riding the famed Icelandic horses, whale watching, puffin chasing, surfing, and exploring the unique volcanic terrain of the world’s youngest land mass are also on tap. And the fact that hot springs are around nearly every corner make Deplar Farm a bucket-list destination.
Sun Valley Heli-Ski
Since 1966, Sun Valley Heli Ski has provided thousands of guests with incredible heli access to three of Idaho's most epic mountain ranges. Collectively, their guides boast more than 100 years of knowledge and experience. To provide the best and safest experience, groups are kept small with a guest to guide ratio of 4:1, flying in our state of the art A-Star B-3, the unquestioned Cadillac of heli-skiing.
A typical heli-ski day starts with an 8 a.m. safety briefing at SVHS’s offices. The first flight typically departs at approximately 10 am. Guests are back at the resort between 4 and 6 p.m., depending on the time of year. Times and schedules may vary with weather conditions and operational logistics.
Alaska Heli-Ski (Plus Northern Lights!)
Majestic Heli Ski offers something for every type of skier and snowboarder, including high-alpine terrain, open bowls, spines, low-angle powder, ramps, couloirs, long glacier runs, perfect powder and steep faces that Alaska is famous for. Vertical descents per run with Majestic Heli range from 1,000 feet to 4,500 feet plus (305 meters to 1372 meters).
Enjoy breathtaking scenery from the hot tub or watch the Northern Lights dance in the night sky from the deck. The lodge has seven bedrooms, several common areas, gear storage, a spectacular dining room and lounge. Guests enjoy complimentary Wi-Fi access and convenience to winter hiking and cross-country ski trails, which are great to explore during no-fly days.