Frequently Asked Questions
Why Choose Majestic Heli Ski?
Here are just a few of the reasons:
- Heli skiing is one of the greatest experiences you can have in life. No liftlines, untracked powder, amazing scenery, huge amount of terrain, away from all of the crowds, delicious meals…
- The most affordable prices and packages in the industry
- Snow. Lots of snow
- Safety is our number 1 priority
- Small group heli skiing and limited number of guests hosted each week
- Less travel, more skiing and you save money on not buying an extra flight to get to your final destination (we pick you up at the Anchorage airport)
- Family owned and operated
- All inclusive packages
- The best refund and credit policy in the industry
- We cater to intermediate ability and better, not experts only
- Easy to get to, and no additional airline fares once you fly into Anchorage, or shuttle fees
- Gourmet meals without being pretentious
- Our helicopter and everything you need is right at our lodge. We don’t drive 10-40 miles one way in a van every day to get to our helicopter
- We don’t count runs, we count vertical feet
- Avalanche airbag backpack is supplied for each guest
- Snowcat backup is included in your package
- Huge amount of terrain and two mountain ranges to choose from
- Guest safety and experience (untracked powder, meals, lodging, small groups…) are our priorities
- Qualified and experienced guides
- The only guests at our lodge are our guests (we are not a hotel or a restaurant)
- You can’t put a price on happiness, experiences, and memories
What does all-inclusive mean?
All-inclusive means that you pay one price and it includes all of your skiing, meals, accommodations, skis, airport transportation, and avalanche rescue gear, including an avalanche airbag backpack. There is no nickel-and-diming you with our packages or add-ons.
Many operations do not include in the price of your package your meals, skis, lodging, transportation, avalanche airbag backpack, harness, avalanche transceiver, shovel, probe… If you do not have an all inclusive package these additional items can add up to a significant bill at the end of your ski week that you may not have expected or are prepared for.
With Majestic Heli Ski you pay one price, done.
What does the vertical feet guarantee mean?
When we guarantee 32,000, 60,000, 90,000 vertical feet, or 8 hours of Hobbs it means that if you do not reach that amount of vertical feet or Hobbs time you get a credit or refund on the amount you did not ski/could not ski. This also means that you are not being charged for skiing or helicopter time you never used. There is no guarantee you will ski the vertical feet your package offers, but if or when this happens it will likely be do to poor weather and no fly conditions. When this is the case you get a credit towards a future trip, or a refund, the choice is yours. This works in favor of you the guest, because you get something back for the time you could not ski. The percentage amount is also based off of your whole package price (meals, accommodations, transportation…), not just the skiing portion-that is also a big plus for you, the customer. Helicopter ski operations often do not offer refunds or credits, or very limited refunds/credits because of the high cost involved in running a helicopter skiing business. Our vertical feet guarantee is there to be fair to our guests. The goal of every company is to ski you out of your package so no refunds/credits need to be given, and then you buy additional runs or flight time. This is good business, so you cannot blame them (or us), though we want to offer more to our guests, such as a fair refund and credit policy.
Please see our Terms and Conditions page for all the details.
What package is right for me?
It depends on time, your budget, how much you love to ski, and how many ski friends you have. A private package is the ultimate way to go heli skiing, it always has been and always will be. The helicopter is yours, no sharing involved, you have rented the helicopter. You have been given the keys to a Ferrari, so to speak. If you can, get a group of like minded and like ability friends and/or family together sign up for a private trip. Our seven day package is great because it offers you seven days of skiing. This helps you get your ski legs under you, gives you extra time in case of weather delays, and you can get use to the Alaska environment – it is big. The three day package is nice because if you can’t take the whole week off from work, or have family obligations you won’t be gone too long. Our five day package will fill the gaps between the other packages.
If you are planning to come to Alaska, always try to stay and ski as long as your schedule allows. Also, look for early and late season deals; you can get big savings by booking a trip at the start or towards the end of the scheduled season. And no, the snow quality is not compromised at all at different times of year. You can’t predict the weather, so go with what your schedule and budget allows. The deepest powder of the year can be February to May, and everywhere in between.
How does small group heli skiing work, or is organized?
Small group means that the helicopter carries five guests or less, accompanied by one or two guides. We do not use the 212 or 205 helicopter, which carries up to 10 guests and 2 guides. We use the AStar or 407 which can carry one pilot and up to six other people (weight restrictions apply). The way small group heli skiing typically works is up to four groups (never more, almost always less for us) utilize one helicopter, and ski within the same area or zone. This means that the helicopter will be “shared” by the groups. There is a system, and it is organized, the helicopter always flies with a purpose, and blade time is not wasted, nor can it be on extraneous flights. A group consists of your guide, and up to a maximum of five guests (never more, almost always less). The helicopter is always active, moving groups from run to run, and keeping everyone skiing as much as possible. Groups are organized by skiing ability, as well as by keeping you, and your friends and family together. We can accommodate single individuals and groups of any size. Remember we limit the number of guests we host each week, which means you ski more, have less wait time, have better customer service, all of which greatly enhances your experience.
Do I need to bring my own skis? Avalanche safety/rescue gear?
No, unless you love your skis and may have separation anxiety. But seriously, if you have skis that you really like by all means bring them, we encourage it. It may take some time to get used to skis you have not skied before, or maybe you just end up not liking them very much.
We can save you the trouble of packing and lugging your skis by providing you with top of the line powder skis (again, this is included in your package, not $40.00 extra dollars a day like some operations charge). We do recommend your skis be at least 100 mm wide underfoot, 110 mm or wider is better, and rocker is a big plus.
If you snowboard or telemark, you then need to bring your own gear.
Bring your ski boots, camera, ski clothes, snacks you may be addicted to and cannot live without, and your toiletries and you should be good to go. We do have a retail shop as well to purchase some cool gear. If you have your own up-to-date avalanche rescue gear and avalanche airbag backpack (which we require you to use) feel free to bring those items, but remember we have all of that gear and it is included in the price of your trip.
Please note; your personal avalanche safety/rescue gear must meet our standards and approval. Using our gear can save you some packing time, the baggage fees, lugging gear through the airport, and maybe a headache.
Attire is casual around the lodge.
When should I arrive?
If your schedule allows we always encourage folks to arrive the day before your trip is scheduled to begin and stay a day after. Alaska is a cool place and this may give you extra time to take in the sites, go fishing, or an extra day of heli skiing.
We will pick you up in the late afternoon to early evening of the first day of your package, and get you back to Anchorage on the evening of your last day. Make sure you schedule your flights accordingly to maximize your time.
When is the best time of year to come heli skiing in Alaska?
Whenever your schedule allows is the best time. We offer trips starting in February and run until May. You cannot predict the weather months in advance, so book your trip when your schedule permits. The snow is very consistent in Alaska, and it is not a cold, dark place, like many people have been told (ok, it is a little dark and cold in December, but we are not skiing then anyways). February typically offers powder galore without looking very hard (meaning all aspects and elevations), and moving into spring offers longer days and more spring like temperatures. Early season and late season packages also offer reduced prices (and amazing skiing), so check those out to save a few bucks. It is all good.
How is the food?
Great and plentiful. All of your meals and snacks are included in our packages.
Alcohol is not included.
Do we ski in the trees? What is the terrain like? Do I need to be an awesome skier?
Alaska heli skiing primarily takes place in the alpine; meaning no trees, also skiing on glaciers is very common and a unique experience. Skiing in Alaska is like nowhere else, that is why you come to Alaska. Don’t worry, we have terrain that will suit your ability. The size and scale of Alaska can be daunting, and it is hard to wrap your mind around it until you have experienced it.
We cater to skiers who are intermediate or better. Be honest with yourself and your abilities, we don’t ski groomers. When you heli ski in Alaska, you are in a back-country environment. If you are a shaky intermediate, take some lessons and improve your skills. If you are a strong intermediate, you will have a great time.
You do not need to be a rock star, and if you are that is great, but by no means a prerequisite. Leave the attitude at home, listen to your guide, and prepared to have your outlook on skiing changed forever.
How many runs will I ski a day?
We don’t count runs, we count vertical feet, a better and more fair system in our opinion. That being said, you will likely ski between 6-12 runs a day (some days may be less, some days could be more), it may not sound like a lot of skiing, but it is. If you can ski 12 runs in AK in a day that is a lot of skiing and a big day. Please do not compare 8 runs of skiing at your local ski resort to 8 runs of heli skiing, it is not the same thing, not even close. Again, we count vertical feet skied so we don’t care how many runs we ski in a day, we just go skiing, it is more fun that way.
Do we fly every day?
Our packages are designed so we ski every day, but; Helicopters typically need nice weather to fly heli skiers. Poor visibility is bad for helicopters (and skiers), and can greatly increase the risk of an accident occurring. Due to this fact you will have days when you will not be able to go heli skiing, such as when it is snowing, strong/gusty winds, poor visibility/flat light, and low cloud ceiling. You need to be patient and wait for appropriate flying weather and ski conditions. Just because you see a blue hole does not mean that conditions are suitable for heli skiing. We are dealing with Mother Nature, be patient, and expect the unexpected. Again, be prepared to have days when you cannot go skiing for safety reasons because of the weather or snow stability. Helicopter skiing is nothing like a ski resort, there are no chairlifts, rope lines, trail markers…this is a wild and natural environment, that is why you go heli skiing-to get away from ski resorts. Cut the guide some slack, and enjoy not being at work. On these days we may go for a sightseeing tour, ice climbing, cross-country skiing, or enjoy the day at the lodge. When you ski in big mountains where it snows a lot, there are days you cannot fly, but it sure will be good when you do.
How long are the runs?
It depends. Some runs may be 1,000 vertical feet and other runs may be 4,000 vertical feet or longer. Contrary to belief and some advertisements, not every run you ski in Alaska is 5,000 vertical feet, and yes, there are runs that are that long, but not every run. Just have fun while skiing, a good run is a good run. It is the smile on your face that counts, not the change in elevation. We also don’t count runs like some operations, we count the vertical feet skied.
What if I snowboard?
Snowboarders are welcome with open arms. You should be a strong intermediate and ready to have a great time. We also welcome telemark skiers.
Is it steep?
It can be, or not. The snow quality is often quite amazing in Alaska, and the amount of snowfall and the moisture content can allow skiing in steep terrain, and produce great powder conditions. The terrain we choose to ski is based on a number of factors; avalanche hazard, flight times, weather, time of day/year, and your ability, just to mention a few of the things that go into the decision making process of what and where to ski. Skiing a run in Alaska is not the same as skiing that black diamond run at your local hill you may have skied hundreds of times before. We will always do our best to choose runs within your ability and are fun, that is the point after all.
What if I have never skied powder before?
Sweet, your mind will be blown. Do not worry if you have not skied powder before, all of our guides are also instructors. Our guides are not here to show you how great of skiers they are, but are here to take you to terrain and snow quality that you want to ski, and will allow you to have the best time possible. Powder is the easiest facet of skiing to learn. If you can ski groomers, bumps, or pretty much any hard blue run at any ski resort you are more than capable of skiing powder in Alaska.
Am I fit enough? Will I hold my group back?
To get the most out of your trip you should arrive in ski shape. Heli skiing is physically demanding, so go for a hike, ride your bike, or better yet get out there and ski. It never hurts to take a lesson or two before your trip. We group like minded and like abilities together. If you show up with your family or friends you will be grouped together. Group size is typically 3-5 guests, with one guide per helicopter.
What is better; the number of runs, Hobbs, or vertical feet?
We do not count runs because we don’t like that system, and don’t feel it is particularly fair. If you are skiing 3,000 vertical feet each and every run (very doubtful) that is great, but what if you ski a run that is 400 vertical feet, yup, that counts as a run. Once you ski the number of runs you paid for you are either done skiing, or the helicopter company charges you a bunch more money to keep skiing-bummer for you.
Hobbs is the meter in the helicopter that keeps track of when the helicopter is flying or holding power, sort of like you stepping on the gas peddle of your car. If you fly close to base this is very good system, if you fly far from base you may lose some of your allotted time in flying, not skiing, though this is what allows you fly deeper, farther, and seek out the far reaches. A fair system for sure, just depends on how your guide, your pilot, and your group deem to use your time. This is often the way to access deep and remote terrain with a guide service. We use the Hobbs Hour Meter (flight time) for our private packages.
Vertical feet is the system we use for our three day, five day and seven day packages. Simple; we keep track of your vertical feet, if you ski less you get a credit or refund, end of story.
Helicopter skiing seems expensive?
The good news is that the value is extremely high in heli skiing. If you were to price a week of skiing at your favorite destination resort, and compare that to a week of heli skiing, you may be surprised that heli skiing is very similar in price, most likely it is even less expensive. Your dollar is of much higher value in heli skiing than resort skiing. We all love ski resorts, that is where we get our fix, spend every day off during the winter, and have countless great memories, but there is no comparison between heli skiing and resort skiing.
The simple answer is helicopters are expensive. Any operation involving aircraft involves a price tag due to insurance, maintenance, fuel, personnel, safety equipment, and the cost of the machine, just to name a few things. A helicopter (Astar/407) can cost up to and over 3 million dollars at the helicopter dealership. The thing about a helicopter is it is the greatest chairlift in the world. Also overhead is expensive, the heli season is only 3-4 months long (not a lot of time to make money), and the number of guests per season is relatively small (there is money in volume, and there is no volume in heli skiing). These reasons are also what makes heli skiing so special.
Remember; a helicopter is going to pick you up, take you to the top of the mountain and drop you off, you are going to see amazing scenery, have unbelievable skiing, then the helicopter is going to pick you up, and you are going to do that over, and over again. That is well worth the price.
Should I purchase trip cancellation insurance and trip interruption insurance?
Yes, it is a great idea. This gives you extra protection in case you have to cancel, no fly days, you injure yourself, become ill, poor weather…Check into both of these policies as well as medical and evacuation insurance, and ask the right questions to make sure you have the right policy in place for a heli ski trip. Call your local insurance agent, Google trip insurance, or ask us about it as you inquire about your trip
Do you offer day trips?
Sort of. Alaska is easy to get to, but it is not right around the corner for most folks. This is one reason we want you to optimize the length of your stay. There is also training involved, getting comfortable in the Alaska environment, getting your ski legs, and possible weather delays. A day trip does not do your heli skiing experience and Alaska justice, you need to come here for several days, not one. The exception is if you live in Alaska or just happen to be in the area and can do a day trip to give us a call, and we can see if we can accommodate you.
Am I too old? What is the age limit?
You are never too old! Our most mature guest to date was 78 years old. As far as taking children or young adults it depends on their maturity level, and how much they would appreciate a heli ski trip. Taking kids who are 12 years and older is not out of the question.
Does the helicopter land, or do I have to jump out?
The helicopter always lands, there is never any jumping out of the helicopter.
Does helicopter noise/vibration trigger Avalanches?
No. When helicopters land on the snowpack they can potentially initiate an avalanche by impacting a weak layer, BUT the sound of a helicopter does not trigger avalanches.