Do Heli-Skiing To The Best Runs Of My Life
Imagine the best run you’ve ever taken on untouched snow. Now imagine repeating this over and over on snow no one has ever skied. Through a new partnership with Powderbird, the Lodge at Blue Sky has a dedicated helicopter for groups to ski deep in the Uinta and Wasatch Mountain Ranges. I joined a group recently and it was an incredible experience to fly over Salt Lake City, which has more than a million people, then head to what seemed like the middle of nowhere. I can’t remember the last time I felt so removed from it all.
It was a visceral rush from the moment our AStar helicopter took off. We had a small group—just our mountain pilot up front, and four skiers in back. We skimmed up close to mountain ridges and steep crags for electrifying thrills before we ever touched any powder. We arrived in a warming hut where we waited for the rest of our group to join us and were debriefed on safety. (I was comforted to know Powderbird takes safety extremely seriously. There are two guides for every trip, one that skis in front of the group, and one behind.)
Then the powder thrills started. The Powderbird guides know these slopes like the back of their hand, so our group was dropped off for runs perfectly matched with ability. For us, that meant runs equivalent to what would be categorized as black or double black. It wasn’t crazy steep—not like Alaska where you’re shooting practically straight down—but still an exhilarating challenge for an advanced skier. And we didn’t have to worry about jumps. After the helicopter landed, the guides made sure everyone was safely out before we started off.
We had ten incredible peaks to base runs. My standout favorite was the third run, where we were taken to a bowl surrounded by peaks. We started skiing through the trees and then the run opened onto a big mountain meadow of untouched snow for ripping down the valley. That sense of cold smoke (dust from the skis) was unmatched for a surreal connection with nature.
We also “skinned” the slopes, which is when skis are treated almost like snowshoes. We tried to climb up as fast as we could to see the helicopter fly over a mountain peak. It took us 1.5 hours to get up there but we made it for the flyover. It was a breathtaking sight and the best part was that we got to ski down for one last ultimate run.