Grand Teton Heli Skiing, National Park Heliskiing

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Heli Skiing

Seven mountain ranges with more than 400 inches of snowfall a year is a skier's paradise. The northwestern Wyoming ranges offer the skier those great possibilities of open terrain accessible by lift service, touring and helicopter.

Jackson Hole resorts are one thing, the Wyoming backcountry is another. The three mountain resorts in the area offer 4,900 in-bound acres combined. The Jackson Hole valley is on the southern edge of Grand Teton National Park, just south of Yellowstone National Park. Snow King is Wyoming's first ski resort, located in town and offers night skiing. Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, located in the southern Teton Range, and Grand Targhee Resort, located on the west side of the Tetons are a match made in heaven. They are ideal locations for big snowfalls and the surrounding mountain ranges make for some superb backcountry adventures.

The average skier rarely considers a heli skiing trip as a reality. The idea of the backcountry can often intimidate those after watching ski movies when skiers jump 50 plus foot cliffs and ski the tightest lines imaginable after being dropped off by a helicopter. This is the extreme side of heli skiing.

Heliski adventures allow the average to expert skier or snowboarder to have safe access to the backcountry for an unbelievable skiing experience. The helicopter tour is an adventure in itself, leaving the base of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort and traveling above the valley floor to the pristine snow fields of the wintery mountain ranges of the Rockies. Heliski trips include a guide to lead a team, usually no more than five persons, and these guides are trained to find the best ridable snow on the highest peaks in the area. Top of the line gear is provided, including transceiver and fat ski boards are available if desired.

It is certainly the most expensive form of backcountry skiing, but it is also arguably the most adventurous. The cost is a deterrent for most folks, so it is unlikely that the peaks reserved for heli use will be occuppied. If you have the means, this is definetly the way to go to avoid the crowds and to have the entire mountain with all of its snow to yourself.

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Other Heli Skiing Resources

WestWide Avalanche Network

Articles on avalanche forecasts, activity and weather in ski and heli-ski areas.