Valdez Alaska is well known among hardcore skiers for its steep couloirs and outrageous ribs. Home to the first "World Extreme Skiing Championships" and made famous by the endless footage found in ski movies from TGR to Warren Miller. This stunning range rises steeply from the port of Valdez to its jagged summits 6000 feet above. The snow in Valdez is unique in that is dense enough to "stick" making mind blowingly steep lines possible, yet the snow is still light enough to feel like hero powder.

Though the steep skiing is what attracts many people to ski Valdez, you don’t have to be a pro to enjoy the vast terrain. While not limited to extreme skiers, you must be a strong advanced intermediate skier to really enjoy what Valdez is all about. The Valdez mountains are incredibly stunning in their beauty, with sharp jagged ridge lines whose faces are ribboned with couloirs. The easy access to jaw dropping lines is unparalleled. From the Thompson Pass area, there is virtually no approach, there is good skiing literally from the tops of the peaks right to the road. Skiing in Valdez should be on the bucket list of any true skier!

We have spent months at a time in the Valdez area skiing a different exciting tour each day. Since 2009 we have been running our Ski Mountaineering/Heli-Ski Combo. This five-day program will give you the full Valdez experience. We do three days of human-powered skiing, hiking from the road on skis and skins to access the powdery faces and couloir above. The other two days of this five-day trip we will use Helicopters to optimize or vert. One day we do a "Heli Bump" (one ride on a helicopter to get us to the top of our first line…. Hopefully, a big one.) For the remainder of this day, we will ski and climb our way back to the road. The "heli bump day is often guests favorite day as it opens up so much more terrain. The remaining day is a "Full Heli day". On our full Heli day, we do a day of heli-skiing with one of the Heli skiing operations located around the pass, and I promise you’ll never be so tired at the end of a day of skiing. These runs are often 2000 vert of skiing or more, and the lines are steep and challenging. If you still have the energy after the allotted runs you’ll have the option for more.

We will stay in the town of Valdez in comfortable Bed and Breakfast. Don’t expect luxury, but you can expect a comfortable bed, a warm shower as well as a nice place to relax after a big day of skiing. Oh there is also a washer and dryer and small kitchen for our use. A basic breakfast is provided, but we can also supplement if we want something more hardy.

Dinners are up to you to decide. It’s nice at least a night or two to check out one of the restaurants in town. But there is not a lot to choose from, so often we just buy groceries and cook something up at the BandB. Whichever we decide is fine. We can discuss before we leave.

ITCOG will rent a vehicle in Anchorage and drive it down for our use during the trip. It takes between 30-45 minutes from town to the pass and other starting locations.

Ski & Technical Gear

  • Skis with Alpine Touring Bindings: We recommend a light touring ski with a waist between 98cm and 106. Skis should be equipped with touring binding, preferably tech style bindings.
  • Ski Poles: We recommend an adjustable pole with extended grip.
  • Climbing Skins: Skins need to be in good condition and cut to fit your ski.
  • Ski Touring Boot: Boots need to be compatible with your bindings. Boots must have a walk mode.
  • Ski Crampons: Ski Crampons must be compatible with your bindings and ski waist width.
  • Boot Crampons: We highly recommend aluminum crampons. Make sure they work with your ski boots.
  • Harness: Harness must fit over ski clothing, be light weight and in good condition. You should also have 2 locking carabiners and a belay device.
  • Ice Axe: Ice Axe needs to be light weight and short (Less than 55cm)

Safety Gear

  • Ski Backpack: A good ski pack should be light weight and have a dedicated pocket for your avalanche rescue gear and be between 35-50 liters.
  • Avalanche Rescue Gear: You will need a shovel and probe. The Shovel should have an extendable handle, an aluminum blade and fit into you pack without sticking out. Make sure your probe is in working order.
  • Avalanche Beacon: Your beacon should be a modern digital beacon. Come with new batteries in your beacon as well as one extra set.
  • Ski Helmet: While we don’t require you to ski with a helmet we do highly recommend it.

Clothing

  • Beanie: You might want to bring 2 just incase. We recommend one light and one medium weight Beanie.
  • Buff/Neck Gaiter: We recommend a lightweight buff as it has many uses.
  • Goggles: We really like goggles with changeable lenses for use in bright and low light. They should also be compatible with your helmet.
  • Sun Glasses: Even if you always prefer to ski in goggles, sun glasses are needed for the up. Goggles will get fogged with sweat.
  • Warm Gloves: How warm depends on you. We recommend a durable well fitting ski glove.
  • Light Gloves: Lighter weight gloves are recommended for hiking up to reduce sweating.
  • Hard Shell Jacket: Waterproof/breathable jacket with ventilation.
  • Light Insulating Jacket: Breathable light insulating jacket.
  • Mid to Heavy Insulating Jacket: Temps can be cold, you will be happy for a nice warm jacket.
  • Top Base Layer: You will want at least 2 base layer tops. We really like sun hoodies to check this box.
  • Ski Pants: You are likely to want more than one pair of pants, We recommend a light option and a more waterproof option.
  • Bottom Base Layer: You will want at least two pair of bottoms.
  • Ski Socks: At least 3 pair of whatever you normally use. We prefer light weight socks.
  • Insulated Boot: I like a light snow boot for before and after skiing. Easy/off, comfortable and warm.

Personal Items

  • Sunscreen: 50 spf or greater. Make sure your tube is not old as sunscreen can loose it’s effectiveness over time.
  • Lip Screen: Make sure it has spf.
  • Small First Aid Kit: This should contain blister repair material, over the counter pain killers and a few bandaids. We will have a full sized med kit on the boat as well as field kits with the guides.
  • Personal toiletries: Toothbrush, Paste, razor, Shampoo and soap etc.
  • Travel/Casual Clothing: You know what to bring.
  • Smart Phone/Laptop/Camera: The photo ops are great!

Valdez, AK 5 Day Backcountry/Heli Ski Combo


Day 0

Arrive in Valdez. We will pick you up from the Valdez airport and take you to the B and B. On some trips you may be able to fly into Anchorage and drive to Valdez with the guide.

Day 1-5

We have found it best to leave our ski days open. We will get in a full day of Heli skiing and a Heli Bump. Weather is fickle and we will make the best of it by touring on days that the heli is grounded due to weather.

Day 6

We will transport you to the Valdez airport for your flight home. In some cases your guide will be driving back to Anchorage, you are welcome to ride to Anchorage in this case.

$4,500/person for 6 nights, 5 days. Group pricing available.

Included in Price:
  • 2 IFMGA/AMGA Certified Mountain Guides
  • Liability Insurance
  • 1 Full Day of Helicopter Skiing
  • 1 Ride Helicopter Assist
  • 6 Nights Lodging/ Breakfast included
  • All Transportation in Valdez
  • Memories to last a life time
Not Included in Price:
  • Flight/Transport to Valdez
  • Lunches and Dinners
  • Alchohol
  • Personal Insurance
Dates*

Mar 23-27, 2020
Mar 30 - Apr 3, 2020

*Custom dates available


Pricing*

$4500/person

*Group pricing available

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"Todd Passey opens doors. He is confident and comfortable. Decades of climbing and skiing have given him friends around the world. When you are with him you feel part of the inner circle of guides."

- Stephen G.

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