1WHAT IS INCLUDED IN A DAY OF HELI-SKIING WITH TELLURIDE HELITRAX?
We provide six runs of guided heli-skiing (avg: 10,000 – 14,000’ vertical of skiing per day), lunch, snacks, drinks, apres ski, sunscreen, an avalanche beacon, avalanche airbag pack, powder skis or snowboards and ski poles. A typical heli-ski day starts with an 8:30AM guest and guide meeting at the Peaks Resort. Skis are assigned and a safety briefing and daily logistics discussion take place. The first flight typically departs at 9:30 – 10:00 AM and guests are usually back at the resort between 2:30 – 4:00 PM. Times and schedules may vary with weather conditions and operational logistics.
2IS HELI-SKIING JUST FOR EXPERTS?
Advances in ski technology have opened powder skiing to a wide range of skiers. Heli-skiers should be Advanced Intermediate, with a sense of adventure and in reasonable physical condition. Skiers should confidently ski groomed black diamond runs, as rated on the Telluride Ski Resort, with a few inches of powder on them. Skiers should also, at least occasionally, choose to ski un-groomed single black diamond runs and can ski them with control. If we feel that conditions are not suitable for advance intermediate skiers we may cancel your reservation for the day and only take the more advance participants. (see also: What is the terrain like?). Snowboarders should be Advanced with the ability to traverse in powder snow, following a broken ski trail. In addition, snowboarders need to have the ability to carry enough speed in a straight line to cross flatter terrain. If you have any questions about your ability feel free to give us a call. If you bring your own snowboard, bring the biggest board you have and consider moving bindings back to best handle powder. We also suggest waxing your snowboard!
3HOW FIT SHOULD A HELI-SKIER BE?
Fitness can be more important than ability. The more fit you are, the more fun you’ll have. We ski at the highest elevations in North America, so reasonable cardiovascular fitness is particularly important.
4WHAT IS THE TERRAIN LIKE?
We operate in some of the highest ski terrain in North America: ranging in elevation from 10,000 to 13,500 feet. Each run drops 1,000 to 3,000 feet—approximately 300-800 meters. Our special use permit area encompasses over 200 square miles of high alpine basins, cirques and summits surrounding Telluride to the north, south and east. Almost all of our terrain is above tree line, and is considered some of the most spectacular ski terrain found anywhere in the world. Our heli-ski operation is a moderate angle heli-skiing with most runs equivalent to double blue and single black runs, as rated on the Telluride Ski Resort. Most days start with a moderate angle run, to asses the conditions and group abilities. If snow conditions, avalanche hazard and a groups ability allow, we then seek out steeper terrain, similar to single and double back diamond runs. We do not consider any of the runs we ski to be extreme. The pace of the skiing during the day is not rushed; taking in scenery is part of the adventure, holding up the group is generally not a concern if you meet the above skier profile criteria.
5IS THERE A MINIMUM OR MAXIMUM AGE LIMIT?
Telluride Helitrax does not have age requirements. We have taken skiers as young as 7 and as old as 75. The decision to heli-ski is based on ability, although we do request that heli-skiers younger than 16 be accompanied by an adult guardian.
6WHO WILL I SKI WITH?
Heli-skiers ski with a guide and are sorted by reservation groups. Ability and over all group load weight are taken into consideration. Groups who book heli-skiing together will ski together provided the weight considerations (calculated by the pilot) of the flight groups are met. Most days there are four plus the guide in each group. Helitrax may take up to 20 skiers per day; you may encounter other groups throughout your day.
7WHAT TYPE OF HELICOPTER DO WE FLY IN?
Telluride Helitrax flies a Eurocopter A-Star B3-e, the same aircraft used by larger Heli-Skiing Operators for elite and custom tours.
8HOW MANY GUESTS DOES HELITRAX TAKE EACH DAY?
There are typically 16 seats available per day, although occasionally Helitrax will take up to 24 skiers with two helicopters. You will ski in a group of four guests to one guide. To ensure your seat, we recommend booking as soon as possible.
9WHAT SHOULD I WEAR FOR THE DAY?
Come dressed for a normal day of skiing on the Telluride Ski Resort. Both goggles and sunglasses are a good idea every day. Dress appropriately; we do not have room for backpacks or to store additional clothing once we leave our staging area. Additional information on what is appropriate on a particular day will be give during the morning safety briefing.
10ARE GRATUITIES INCLUDED IN THE PRICE?
Helitrax guides and staff work hard to make your heli-skiing adventure as safe & enjoyable as possible. While gratuities (tips) are always greatly appreciated they are never required. A suggested dollar amount range for a gratuity is $50 to $100 per guest per day.
11WILL I HAVE TO JUMP FROM THE HELICOPTER?
Never. The pilot lands allowing heli-skiers to carefully disembark.
12WHAT IF IT IS SNOWING IN THE MORNING?
We evaluate the weather early every day we plan to operate and make a determination at that time. Occasionally we will keep the trip on a “weather hold” if we deem there is a good possibility that we will be able to fly that day. You are required to keep yourself available to ski with us until 12pm, although we normally make a final determination by about 10am. Reservations cancelled due to weather are refunded in full.
13WHAT ABOUT AVALANCHES?
Although we heli-ski in avalanche terrain, our avalanche forecast program is top notch—as is our safety record. We have over 100 seasons of combined professional avalanche forecasting on our staff and more than 35 seasons operating within our terrain. We use this experience to develop a daily snow stability evaluation in combination with explosive testing, use of avalanche airbag packs and transceivers to assure our guests of the safest heli-skiing experience we can provide.
14WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO HELI-SKI?
The heli-skiing season, late December through early April, offers great backcountry skiing and riding opportunities. Operations begin when we determine we have a sufficient amount of snow, with opportunities for good powder skiing equivalent to those at other times of the year. Our most popular time period is the last two weeks of February through the first three weeks of March, book early to ensure your seat.
15WHAT ARE HELITRAX’S REFUND AND CANCELLATION POLICIES?
Read our Terms & Conditions prior to making a reservation; we highly recommend trip insurance.
16CAN I RIDE IN THE HELICOPTER WHILE MY FRIENDS SKI/SNOWBOARD?
Unfortunately no, this is not possible. Helitrax takes out several groups of four guests and a guide on any given day using the same helicopter. All the available seats are needed to accommodate the other group(s) that might be out skiing/snowboarding the same day your friends are with us. We do offer Scenic Flights which offer fantastic views of the area surrounding Telluride.
17WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SINGLE-DROP BACKCOUNTRY SKIING AND HELICOPTER ASSISTED BACKCOUNTRY TOURS?
Our helicopter assisted backcountry tours are for backcountry ski tourers who have the proper gear and experience for a full day of touring in the mountains. Participants should expect to travel uphill for longer periods of time. Our single-drop backcountry skiing trip option is for expert skiers with a strong sense of adventure. These tours require clients to have their own (or to rent locally) ski touring gear. Participants should not expect to travel uphill more than just small amounts. Single-drop backcountry skiing is not suggested as an introduction to heli-skiing. A good level of physical fitness and sense of adventure are expected.