Heli-Skiing the Steep Slopes of the Chugach Range in Valdez, Alaska
What sets the Chugach range apart is the sticky, "maritime" snowpack plastering its steep slopes. Warm air from the south and the Gulf makes for both plentiful snow and a more stable, snow pack than what can be found in the lower 48 and Europe. From glaciers to peaks up to 5,000 vertical feet, the creamy snow sticks to everything—rocks, spines, flutes, couloirs, and roly poly ramps—features that in drier climates could be bare, or, if covered, would more easily avalanche. Skiers (trained in avalanche risk management or guided by someone who is) can slice down longer, steeper runs and more dramatic terrain—with the stunning port of Valdez in the background. Bring movies and books to your motel to keep yourself entertained during those foggy no-fly days.