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Enjoy Heli-Assisted Ski Touring with Telluride Helitrax

What’s better than a day of backcountry skiing in Colorado’s most stunning mountains? A helicopter lift into your desired terrain first thing in the morning and a scenic flight home at the end of your touring day! Helicopter Assisted Ski Touring (HAST) is gaining popularity for good reason, it’s the best of both worlds for experienced backcountry tourers.

A Typical Day

A typical HAST ski adventure with us goes a little something like this:

  • Meet your guide at the Helitrax office around 8:00 AM to go through our avalanche orientation and safety briefing.
  • All guests joining us for a day of heli-assisted ski touring will need to have all their own ski and safety gear, including beacon, shovel, probe, backpack, boots, skins, skis/snowboard with bindings that have uphill touring capabilities, ski poles, etc.
  • Once the group is dialed and ready for the day, we will board the helicopter and fly into the field first-thing. These trips are the first to load the helicopter and head into our terrain.
  • On a typical HAST, you and your guide will get dropped at the top of a classic ski line in our permitted terrain. You will descend before transitioning to touring uphill for your next objective.
  • Depending on your desires, there may be one, two, or several transitions throughout the day. You will talk with your guide in advance to have a general plan for your group.
  • At the end of your touring day, we provide a flight back to where you started your morning by helicopter.
  • We do offer the ability to add on additional drops throughout the day for an extra cost.

What You Can Expect

Prior to your day heli-touring with us, your guide will get in touch to talk about your goals for the day and your current uphill capabilities. We will use that information to plan the perfect trip. We can accommodate everything from leisure tours to multi-lap, full day adventures. Guests who join us for HAST need to be knowledgeable backcountry skiers with experience touring uphill. You can expect to skin and/or bootpack, depending on the current conditions.

These tours fly into Helitrax terrain before 9:00 AM and return to the office mid to late afternoon. We choose terrain based on snow quality, weather considerations, avalanche conditions/forecasts, egresses, your expectations and ability level, available terrain options, and zones that are less likely to attract other backcountry ski tourers. We provide an incredibly knowledgeable guide and plan for the day and ask that you provide your own water, snacks, and lunch. We recommend being in top shape and bringing a great attitude. Touring in the San Juans can be tricky, but the views and skiing are worth it.

Specific Terrain Objectives

While we like to accommodate our guest’s desires, we can’t always guarantee that you will be able to ski your objectives. We will most certainly consider your line choices, but know that for safety concerns, we retain the right to change the route at any time. We are more likely to access bigger terrain in the spring when avalanche hazard is generally lower. Big and committing couloir lines are not normally skied unless conditions are very good and we have experience skiing with you in the past (via heli-skiing, HAST, or backcountry touring).

You should not expect to ski a particular line on the day of the trip, but we will do our best to accommodate your desires. We promise you will have an awesome day either way.

Ready to Book

Ready to rock and roll? You can learn more about our heli-assisted ski tours here (https://www.helitrax.com/trips/helicopter-assisted-backcountry-tours/#heli-assisted). When you are ready to lock something in, head to our inquiry page (https://www.helitrax.com/inquire/) so we can check on dates and guide availability. We are stoked to take you on an adventure you’ll remember forever!

Gear

As an experienced tourer, you know the gear drill. But, in case you need a few reminders, here are our suggestion on gear for your heli-assisted day:

  • Base layer top and bottom (no cotton)
  • Ski socks that don’t bunch or cause “hot spots” (especially on the uphill)
  • Mid-layer top, could be a fleece, light puffy or wind shell
  • Wind and weatherproof ski pants and jacket
  • Warm puffy jacket
  • Fleece or lightweight gloves for the uphill; Regular ski gloves for the downhill (hand warmers if your hands easily get cold)
  • Neck buff for the deep pow
  • Sunglasses and goggles
  • Sunscreen and lip balm
  • Hat to protect your beauty from the sun; Winter hat for cold days; Helmet for the way down (and sometimes the up)
  • Skis with uphill-capable bindings
  • Ski touring boots that go uphill (and down)
  • Skins that fit your skis
  • Ski poles
  • Backpack to fit all your gear
  • Avalanche safety equipment: transceiver, shovel, and probe
  • Water bottle, snacks, and lunch (we’ll burn some serious calories on the uphill, so pack more than you think!)

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: I have always wanted to ski Bear Creek but don’t feel safe enough to backcountry ski off the resort. Can HAST accommodate a drop into the Bear Creek drainage?
A: Yes, we can fly to a ridge that drops into Bear Creek. This is not generally done because the idea with these trips is to go places where other tourers are not present. But, if your goal is to ski Bear Creek, we can help make it happen.

Q: I’ve never ski toured before, is this trip appropriate for me?
A: No, heli-assisted ski touring is for experienced backcountry tourers. If you have never backcountry skied but want to get into the sport, try one of our guided backcountry ski tours (learn more here).