Photo Credit: Luke Kupersmith
Accessing Utah’s backcountry via an aerial elevator is the ultimate lift.
The dream: heli-skiing in Alaska.
The reality: sitting around in a drafty lodge, playing games on your phone, and waiting for the conditions to improve or the storm to clear so the choppers can fly.
When you [hope to] heli-ski up north, it’s not uncommon to spend several days (sometimes your entire vacation) doing everything you can to take your mind off the fact that you’re not skiing.
So how do you fulfill the quintessential skier’s dream without taking out a second mortgage and pledging personal sacrifices to Mother Nature’s collection of heli gods? The answer is Utah’s Diamond Peaks Heli-Ski Adventures.
Located in the Northern Wasatch Mountains, Diamond Peaks Heli-Ski Adventures’ private terrain is accessed off the backside of Powder Mountain Resort, just an hour’s drive from Park City. It’s here you’ll find over 20,000 acres of untracked, thigh-deep powder, clear blue skies and virtual nonstop heli-drops. Given the area averages 320 days of sunshine annually, it’s nearly guaranteed you’ll heli-ski (or board) when you choose to.
And here’s the best part — you only pay to play. One day of flying with Diamond Peaks will set you back about $1200. Compare that to the average $12,000/week bill you get in Alaska, and the difference is as clear as a bluebird day. As Diamond Peaks’ owner Craig Olsen puts it, “Heli-skiing with us is all of the snow, less of the dough.”
On the rare chance the bird is grounded due to poor visibility, you’re not holed up in some rickety ski shack wishing you were home. Powder Mountain and Snowbasin Resort are just minutes away. So even if you can’t heli ski… you can still ski.
Further, Diamond Peaks Heli-Ski Adventures boasts an impeccable safety rating and offers terrain that ranges from Warren Miller-ultra-challenging to “the more difficult runs at a resort,” making it perfect for the first-timer heli skier as well as those who need a powder fix without the risk — or the work. Afterall, hiking in thigh-deep snow while wearing stiff plastic boots and hauling 20 plus pounds of equipment up a hill isn’t for everyone. And backcountry skiing can also be dangerous if you aren’t an avalanche expert. All the more reason a day with Diamond Peaks is the ultimate lift.
Learn more or book your day trip at diamondpeaks.com
Powder Paradise Tips:
If you haven’t spent much time in powder, it’s a whole different animal than resort skiing — two turns and your quads are screaming. Join a gym, lunge everywhere you go, stream “Quads of Steel.” Whatever works. Just build them up a good month before you go.
- Always go with a reputable company and listen to your guides. The backcountry can be dangerous. Make sure your guides are trained in avalanche awareness and outdoor emergency care. No matter how sick the powder, never take a run your guides say “no” to.
- Take a backpack for water, snacks and other personal belongings. You can’t leave stuff in the bird and a day of 3,000-foot, deep-powder runs can make you thirsty and hungry. Bring snacks that don’t freeze when it’s chilly. Candy and energy bars quickly harden in the cold to tooth-cracking levels. Nuts, fruit, and crackers are better bets.
- If you don’t have fat powder skis, rent them. Fat-waist skis will help you kill it in the deeps, making your day that much more enjoyable.
- Tip your guides. They’re keeping you alive out there.
Sean Matyja - Realtor® / Associate Broker
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