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 strong 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 along with a radio, harness, avalanche rescue equipment and the training to use it
- 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, radio, 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. Alcohol, massages and guide and lodge staff gratuity are not included.
What does the vertical feet guarantee mean?
When we guarantee 30,000 – 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. 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. If you can, get a group of like-minded and like-ability friends and/or family together and 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 used to the Alaska environment – it is significant. The three-day package is excellent because you won’t be gone too long if you can’t take the whole week off from work or have family obligations. Our four and five-day package will fill the gaps between the other packages. If possible, show up early or stay an extra day for additional skiing, weather delays, or to see more of Alaska. If you plan to come to Alaska, always try to stay and ski if 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 April and everywhere in between.
How does small group heli skiing work, or is organized?
Small group means the helicopter carries four guests or fewer, accompanied by one or two guides. We do not use the Bell 212 or 205 helicopter (Viet Nam era Huey Helicopter), which carries up to 10 guests and two guides. We only use the Airbus A-Star, which can carry one pilot and up to five other people (weight restrictions apply). Here’s how small group heli-skiing typically works: 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. 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 and by keeping you and your friends and family together. We can accommodate single individuals and groups of any size. We limit the number of guests we host each week, which means you ski more, have less wait time, and have better customer service, significantly enhancing your experience.
Do I need to bring my own skis? Avalanche safety/rescue gear?
If you have powder skis that you like – bring them! We do include top-of-the-line K2 and Meier powder skis and Winterstick snowboards for all our guests if you do not have powder skis/snowboards or do not want to travel with skis/snowboard. We can save you the trouble of packing and lugging your skis/snowboard by providing you with powder skis/snowboard (included in your package). We do recommend your skis be at least 100 mm wide underfoot, 110 mm or wider is better, and rocker is a big plus. You must use the avalanche airbag backpack we provide and our transceiver, shovel, probe, harness and radio. Please do not bring your own. 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 also have a retail shop to purchase anything forgotten at home. 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 begins and stay the day after. Alaska is a cool place, which may give you extra time to take in the sights, go fishing, or an extra day of heli-skiing. We will pick you up in the late afternoon to early evening on 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. Our airport pick-ups and drop–offs are at a scheduled time. If you want to rent a car, they are inexpensive, and you can drive right to our lodge on a well-maintained highway. Just take Highway 1 to our front door. We are 115 miles from the airport (2.5 hours drive). Read our Itinerary/Typical Day Page to help give you an idea of what to expect.
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 operate 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 bit 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.
How is the food?
Gourmet and plentiful. All 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 and skiing on glaciers is very common and a unique experience. Skiing in Alaska is like nowhere else – that is why you come to Alaska. 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 strong 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/off-piste. 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.
How many runs will I ski a day?
We don’t count runs for our package skiers, we count vertical feet, a better and fairer system. You will likely ski between 6-10 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 Alaska in a day, that is A LOT of skiing and a HUGE 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 go skiing. It is more fun that way.
Do we fly every day?
Most importantly with Majestic Heli Ski – we fly more than anybody in Alaska! Over 80% of the time we are heli-skiing.
Our location is slightly inland from other operators, and we have the highest-elevation heli-ski lodge in all of Alaska. This means we have more consistent snow and the most flyable days of any heli-ski operation in Alaska. We just have more options when the storms clear because we are not right on the coast where the clouds tend to linger. Our packages are designed so we ski every day. Poor visibility is bad for helicopters (and skiers) and can greatly increase the risk. 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 a 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 conditions are suitable for heli-skiing. We are dealing with Mother Nature, be patient, and expect the unexpected. 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, or trail markers…this is a wild and natural environment, and that is why you go heli-skiing – to get away from ski resorts. 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 amazing when you do.
How long are the runs?
It depends. Some runs may be 1,000 vertical feet and other runs may be 5,000 vertical feet. 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.
What if I snowboard?
Snowboarders are welcome with open arms. You should be a strong intermediate and ready to have a great time.
Is it steep?
It can be, or not – we are typically skiing what would be black diamonds or double black diamonds at your local ski resort with a few blue squares as well (this is just to give you a general idea, Alaska is not like any ski resort). 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 several 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 amazing.
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 our guides are also instructors. Our guides are not here to show you how great skiers they are but are here to take you to the 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. Our powder skis make powder fun for the deep snow newbie.
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 four guests, with one guide per helicopter.
Vertical, Hobbs or # or Runs
We do not count runs for our multi-day packages; we count vertical feet. Our private packages use the Hobbs Hour Meter (flight time). Single-day packages are 6 runs, regardless of vertical feet.
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 might 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, training, and the cost of the machine, just to name a few things. A helicopter (A-Star) can cost 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 three 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, and have unbelievable untracked snow, 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, even though we have the best credit policy in the industry. This gives you extra protection in case you must cancel, injure yourself, become ill, or have poor luck with the 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, search for trip insurance, or ask us about it as you inquire about your trip.
Do you offer day trips?
Yes. Although we recommend multi–day packages because you are in Alaska and you are here to go skiing!
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 is concerned, 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. Jumping out of helicopters is strictly for James Bond.
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. There’s even a whole MythBusters episode on this topic.