Snowboarding Forum - Snowboard Enthusiast Forums banner

why not Alaska...

3613 Views 12 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  tigre
News from the pow holiday planning front. Thanks to all the helpful replies over here I was close to booking cat holiday in the Revy/Golden area. But as it looks like now, I won't be able to get days off in 2014 until April. I'll pospone the BC trip to a year I can get days off earlier.

After reading tigres post here I thought... uhmmm.... Alaksa... why not Alaska...?

Ok, begin from scratch. April would be a good time to go there. The flight time to Anchorage is insignificantly longer than to Calgary (20hrs instead of 16hrs), price is the same. So far so good. Replace the cat by a heli. Sounds tempting. So far I found out that the snow is rather heavy, runs are long, timberline is low and days are short. Tried to dig for Alaska threads but they're either very old or a complete mess to read since half of the posts in there are vanished (we WON'T elaborate on this).

Got about 14-20days to spend. In April. Still a mid advanced rider. Still want to spend as much time as possible in the deep. Mix of sidecountry (inbound goods in resorts?), split hiking, heli.

Anyone recently done a heli trip there? How did you proceede? Book a package in advance or stay there and wait for good wheather and book at short hand? Are seats available last minute at all? What are your experiences? Lodges you recommend? Any recommendations/hints are very welcome. Why would a trip to AK be a good idea and why not?
1 - 7 of 13 Posts
Thanks a lot for this overview! :thumbsup:

The hint with the RV is interesting - hopefully they've got good heating :giggle:. I'm convenient with driving on snow on steep tracks, will check that option.

How busy is your area around Easter? Do hotels/flights tend to be fully booked early? (sometimes I think, half of Europe travels to or through Switzerland at Easter...)

Checked several heli operators around Valdez and Haines. From what I read, I'd say I tend to an operator with an own lodge. You get to know the people you ride with better if you stay in the same lodge. Big part of holiday trips is to share the experiences you had during the day at the evening with a beer. Preferably with the heli port right at the lodge (reduce transport time).
The prices for 7day packages vary hugely. Quality has it's prize... I wouldn't want to book with a budget operator exploiting their guides or -dunno- only having access to odd lot runs. But sometimes, the higher price you pay goes more into marketing and back office than into the proximate improvement of the experience... Hard to judge from here. Is there a particular reason you recommended "Alaska Snowboard Guides" in the other thread? Also for heliboarding?
See less See more
Booked! 7day heli package in Cordova in April :yahoo::D:yahoo::D:yahoo::D:yahoo:

Now I really need some advice on big mountain boards for the husband.

190lbs, 6ft, boot size 9, expert level - but a noob if it comes to gear knowkedge. He laughs at me making a fuss and doing research if I buy a new board. He goes to a shop, asks for the most aggressive model they have in stock and then rides it for two seasons and doesn't botter too much. "It's just a board" (oh, I hate him for this...) anyway...

Read that one should bring the biggest version of a model (renting is not a good option I think. You want to ride gear you're used to)

- Nidecker Megalight 167XL (waist width 26.5),
- Rad Air Tanker e.g. 172 (25.8),
- Jones Carbon Flagship (according to the homepage the 164 (25.4) is the biggest. Wouldn't that be too close to the Raptor 164 (25.3) he rides now?) or
- Flagship 168W (26.2),
- Ride Highlife UL, but the 172W is very wide (27.2) :dunno:

Pretty sure that none of them would be available on demo days... might be able to organize a Megalight and Tanker to demo. Any hints are appreciated!

Which one would be best suited for AK pow and also be fun bombing morning groomers and alpine sidecountry on deep days at home? (The Raptor would backup for the afternoon crud at home)

I assume the main tradeoffs are that you give up agility with lengh and response with waist width... how would e.g. a Tanker ride, being long and rather narrow compared to a wide Highlife?

I assume, I'd be ok with my Flagship 158 (120lbs)...
See less See more
Curious about how you settled on Cordova.
After reading many operator homepages I got somehow dizzy by all the superlatives and the sheer amount of words as "epic"/"unique" :dizzy:. Points North Heli Skiing in Alaska - Points North Heli-Adventures, Inc. was highly recommended to me by someone who's been there, thus I had a close look at them. Haven't found a negative review so far. I liked the facts that they have several helis (allowing to make distinct groups for different riding abilities), have an own lodge, down days can be spent touring or in the close by little resort that seem to offer sidecountry opportunities, reasonable price, less superlatives (yes, I know, "honesty" IS a marketing strategy too), and I really like that you'll ride with a radio as safety backup. I'm sure all companies do whatever is necessary to get the most out of such a trip but I had to pull the trigger on something.

How are you getting out there? Flying from Anchorage or taking the ferry?
I'm not sure yet. It would be an option to fly directly to Cordova from Seattle some days ahead of the heli week and spend some days riding Mt. Eyak to get rid of the jet lag, get used to the snow and fine adjust the setup. Or we could fly to Anchorage and visit Alyeska (maybe find a shop where they sell Venture splitboards :)). Would it be worth to take the ferry? I guess, the snowy coast line could be beautiful scenery. I still need to get used to the distances over yours :blink:. What looks pretty close as the crow flies on a map can take forever in reality.

Not sure what that means. I'd think the Raptor would work fine. No real need for a new board for this trip unless you're just looking to spend more money.
One of the guides recomnended that with his 190lbs, he should bring something "not under 168" :dunno: I'll take my Flagship for sure. I don't want to start an argue whether or not the Raptor is a good board. It is! But he wants to buy a -some notches more aggressive- hybrid camber board anyway, not just for the trip.
See less See more

Cos the trip from CH to AK will take about 23hrs (stops at Seattle), I tend to add some days in Alyeska since its the closest resort to the airport I found (Google estimates 50minutes drive from the Achorage airport). Is that reliable? How are the roads usually end of March?
Havent found a lot about Alyeska (the threads are either old or "damaged"). Anyone been thre recently? Worth to spend some days there? Opportunities to ride some more pow?
Yea... this type of driving sounds very familiar to some routes in the Alps. I'll be careful.

Well, I actually dont like resorts for their groomers but for the lifts to some sidecountry. Was hoping, there'll be some of these "gates". If so, I'll try to find a guide. If not SC/BC out of a resort, snowmobiles would be something tempting, since they don't exist here and sound like fun :)

I'll have a split with me, since hiking will be the backup on down-days at the heli week. Plan is to pre-order a Venture Zephyr split in a shop in Anchorage or Gridwood, since they're so hard to get over here. By the way... did you get your Odin meanwhile?
Thanks a lot Tigre for all your input! Oh, and yes, I remenber reading the first time about Alyeska in snowolfs posts... IIRC there were pics of a "christmas chute" I found fascinating. Pity they're gone... Hope, someobe else was there as well and will share :)

Any tips on snowmobiles is very welcome as well. E.g. does one need a special "driving" licence?
1 - 7 of 13 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.