Opening weekend for Sun Valley Heli Ski delivers

Author: Chris Owens

Looking good in Idaho

Sent in by Tyler Ferris of Sun Valley Heli Ski:

Right now, Sun Valley Helicopter Ski Guides can boast the best heli-skiing this side of Canada.

While other operations in the lower 48 are waiting for another storm or two to start up, SVHS was blessed with a couple of big ones at the end of 2011. The snowfall in our remote terrain doubled from 2 to 4.5 feet. On our first day of operation on January 6, stability was rated “fair” and skiing was rated “good” to “very good”. Groups skied several extra runs.

It may look thin on Sun Valley’s Balm Mountain web cams, but as often happens the jet stream came straight from the west and dropped two times the snow in the Smoky Mountains, the hidden gem of SVHS.

Ok, how can SVHS offer great skiing with only 4.5 feet? The secret is the terrain. Runs are typically long and consistent with few cliffs or dramatic breaks. There are open slopes and great glades of trees. Every aspect has a skiable line.

In the heart of this skiers paradise is the Idaho Smoky Mountain Lodge. Right now you can have a private “Canadian Style” heli ski experience right here in the US. Check out the footage from our opening weekend below!

Great GoPro footage from Cat Skiing in Girdwood

Author: Chris Owens

You just have to love these little GoPro cameras and the creativity of the people who use them. Check out this piece from a great day of snowcat skiing in Girdwood!

Video from Mia and Jason

Author: Chris Owens

Mia and Jason joined us from Australia for some great pow in February. Check out the vid from their adventure. Thanks for coming you guys!

Cold Call

Author: NickThomson
 Anxious, our crew meets up at the cafe to see if we can salvage our ski trip.    We’ve been stuck in the condo in Jackson Hole with 40 mph winds and dangerous temperatures of -30F.  We have taken a few days away from the office to ski and celebrate a deal-closing, but a large persistent arctic air mass seems to have other ideas.  Sometimes you have to take a little risk to reap the reward; time to make some “cold calls”.

We meet below the tram at the cafe, frustrated and over-caffeinated.  We are hemorrhaging cash, craving adventure and skiable snow, and trying to salvage a precious ski vacation.  Give up or get creative?


Make a few calls and hear that the snow and weather is better to the west, in Sun Valley.  Call over to Sun Valley Heli Ski to check on availability and snow conditions.  Reports favorable.


Call to Independent Jets in Teton Village to check on availability and pricing for a King Air…  response favorable (and surprisingly affordable).  Aircraft is available and ready to go.


Our crew decides to go for it, and calls Sun Valley Heli Ski again.  They warm up the heli, rally the troops, and make arrangements.  We go to our rooms and suit up for skiing, slipping a toothbrush into our pockets.


King Air C90 wheels up from Jackson Hole.  Weird wearing ski boots on an airplane… we’ve got skis stacked in the aisle.

Loading Up


Terrific flight past the Grand Teton



Wheels down in Sun Valley. Met on the tarmac at Hailey Airport by the Sun Valley Heli Ski helicopter. 

Hop in the heli, and we are off…


Back-country shredding!!

Adrenaline levels return…

Happiness returns, stoke is high, grumpiness gone.


Land at the remote Smoky Mountain Lodge.  Pure backcountry luxury!

Welcomed by the lodge team, Dire Straits, and PBR.

Followed by steaks, birthday cake, and shenanigans.


Breakfast is on the table.  Wake up!!  A nice start to the day…


Warm up the heli – we are going skiing again!

10am – 2:30pm       



Fly the heli back to Sun Valley Airport, transfer gear from the ship to the plane, and fly back to Jackson for our regular flights home. 

Many thanks to the terrific team from Sun Valley Heli Ski for pulling this off on about an hours’ notice.  It was an epic trip, requiring an amazing display of spontaneity, logistics, and hospitality.  We all sat on the plane home incredulous that you pulled it off, so happy that we grabbed life by the horns and went for it…


Ethan, John, Nick, and Craig

Sun Valley Heli One Lift Tours

Author: admin

The one lift tour is one of the great products that Sun Valley Heli Ski offers.  For those who like to earn their turns, but are eager to explore terrain off the beaten path, the helicopter combined with the experience of our seasoned guide staff makes a HASTA tour an ideal choice.  The day starts off in the morning with a helicopter ride to a highpoint within the 750,000 acres of the Sun Valley Heli Ski permit.  From there, your guide and group will spend the remainder of the day skiing and touring back to a pre arranged road pick up point.  For an extra fee, a helicopter pick up can be arranged.  Some backcountry experience and familiarity with ski touring is recommended.   This trip requires the use alpine touring/randonee equipment which is not provided.

Have a look at a video put together by local Sun Valley resident Greg Martin on a recent one lift tour of the Lake Creek Headwall area:

One Lift Tour from Greg Martin on Vimeo.

Epic skiing with the Tony Robbins group

Author: laurietrautman

We had  the great pleasure of hosting the Tony Robbins group in Sun Valley this past President’s Day weekend.  We also had the mixed blessing of snow, more snow, and snow again.  This made it difficult to stick to the planned itinerary, but some folks from the group stayed for an extra day and we got out into the fresh powder for some amazing runs.

Sun Valley Heli Ski Conditions Report – Feb 23

Author: admin

The mountains surrounding Sun Valley have received 1-2 feet of snow over the past week with another significant storm inbound for tonight/tomorrow.   Conditions are first rate.   Now is the time to get out.

Video of some great powder boarding this weekend.

Sun Valley Heli Skiing – Feb 20, 2011 from EpicQuest on Vimeo.

Some footage of the great powder conditions currently available in the mountains surrounding Sun Valley.

Kicking off the AK season the right way.

Author: Chris Owens

Not bad for Day 1.

This week our Alaskan operation, Chugach Powder Guides started their 15th year of operation.  We started with a full load of guests from Switzerland, Austria, Germany and the US. This week we flew 5 out of 7 days with cold temps, sunny skies and unbelievable powder.  This is just the we like to see things start.

Being Valentines week, it seems that love was in the air as we had two heli ski marriage proposals and an actual wedding for two of our German guests in the CPG cat area.  CONGRATULATIONS to Alex And Gabi.  The ceremony was performed by CPG General Manager Chris Owens under a full moon and a perfect blanket of stars with the CPG crew there to witness and celebrate the event.  With a bonfire and crystal clear views of the Girdwood valley, it was really a night to remember.

We are currently getting a fresh coat of paint and have fresh refills every run in the snowcat area.  The birds are here, the crew is primed and week 1 is a thing of history.  Check out the photos from this week below.  There are still a few seats left scattered here and there through the season, so come up to Alaska and get your fix!

Special Smoky Mountain Lodge Package

Author: laurietrautman

The Smoky Mountain Lodge is the only fly-in heliski lodge in the lower 48.  Located west of Sun Valley and in the heart of some of our best heli ski terrain, this luxurious six bedroom lodge has all the amenities of home with the added benefit of a personal chef.  We are currently offering a free stay at the Lodge when a group of  8 books two days of heli-skiing with us.  Take advantage of this opportunity to balance out your heli-skiing adventure with an evening of quiet luxury.  Give us a call for more details or to book a trip!

Author: admin

Sun Valley Heli Ski hosted Lexus magazine last month for some great heli and resort skiing. Have a look at some fantastic imagery from their trip.

Lexus Magazine Article

Posted on: 2.10.2011
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