Heli-Skiing Takes Off in Tahoe

| December 2, 2010 | 0 Comments

Pacific Crest Heli-Guides provides access to more than 100,000 acres of terrain.

Has heli-skiing been a long-standing item on your bucket list, but the cost and distance too much to manage? This might be the year that your deep powder dreams come true. Pacific Crest Heli-Guides has launched a helicopter skiing and snowboard service at Lake Tahoe this season, with access to more than 100,000 acres of privately owned land along the Sierra Crest.

“That’s four times as much area as all of the Tahoe ski areas combined,” says Pacific Crest Heli-Guides owner-operator Dave Rintala, who spent 18 seasons as a heli-skiing guide near Valdez, Alaska. Rintala, who’s owned Truckee-based Pacific Crest Snowcats for nearly a decade, serves as the lead guide and primary avalanche forecaster for both businesses.

Pacific Crest Heli-Guides flies a maximum of 16 guests per day, with one guide for every four guests. With pricing based on flight time rather than vertical feet, like-minded clients can customize their outing based on budget, desire to ski or ride as much vertical as possible and/or interest in exploring a variety of different zones. Full-day trips, which include safety gear, lunch and guide service, start at $899 per person.

Pacific Crest Heli-Guides believes the company can peacefully coexist with backcountry skiers already making tracks below.

“We’re happy to avoid other skiers in the area,” says Rintala. “They’ve invested a lot of time and energy getting to their destination and it doesn’t take anything for us to move our operations to a new zone. We’re all backcountry skiers.”

The company’s pilots are also boning up on noise abatement procedures in and out of the Truckee Tahoe Airport.

And what can the uninitiated expect from a High Sierra heli-skiing adventure?

“It’s a relatively constant adrenaline rush, from the beginning until the end,” says Rintala. “It’s exciting to fly in the helicopter, to land on mountaintops, to ski big snow, over and over again, all day long.” By Susan D. Rock. TQ

Category: Outdoors, Winter

About the Author (Author Profile)

Leave a Reply