Best Ski & Snowboard Location on the Planet!
Imagine having the choice to locate a base area for a helicopter skiing anywhere in the state of Alaska? That is exactly the scenario that faced Alaska Backcountry Adventures more than twenty years ago when it became Alaska’s original heliskiing operation and hand-picked Thompson Pass near Valdez, AK given its ideal combination of reliable snowfall and predictably sunny skies. Over the years, this has equated to ABA logging more flyable days than any other operation in Alaska.
Valdez, AK is often referred to as “the snowiest place in North America” equating to annual snowfall totals of over 700 inches; however, Thompson Pass is located nearly twenty miles inland from the Pacific Ocean which allows ABA to avoid the marine effect and associated cloud cover that typically shuts down other operations. Thompson Pass is situated in the heart of the Chugach Range and the short fly times allow us to log more vertical at a lower cost.
The deep, maritime snowpack brings stability to the steeps and the Chugach is home to some of the longest, most varied terrain in the world. These are the classic Alaskan lines showcased in nearly every ski and snowboard film over the last twenty years. The terrain options available within close proximity to Thompson Pass cover every end of the spectrum from technical, aesthetic chutes to wide open bowls of never-ending powder.
Come experience what it is like to make turns on the top of the world at Thompson Pass, the center of the powder skiing and snowboarding universe! Check out this quick video introduction to get a feel for some of the terrain visible from the Thompson Pass area...but keep in mind it is only the proverbial "tip of the iceberg":
How To Get to Alaska Backcountry Adventures
Although a handful of brave souls choose to drive the 1,422 miles of the Alaska-Canadian Highway to get to ABA, the far majority of our guests opt to fly into Anchorage, AK. From Anchorage, there are a number of options to get to our location atop Thompson Pass near Valdez, AK.
By Rental Car: There are a number of car rental companies located at or near the airport in Anchorage. The beautiful drive from Anchorage to Valdez takes approximately six hours (weather permitting) and is just over 300 miles long with stunning views of the Matanuska Valley, Wrangell-St. Elias Range and the Chugach Range. Services are limited during winter/spring months so be sure to keep an eye on your fuel gauge. The basic directions are Hwy 1 (Glenn Highway) North to Palmer, Hwy 1 (Glenn Highway) East to Glen Allen, Hwy 4 (Richardson Highway) South to Valdez.
By RV or Motorhome: Often considered a quintessential part the Alaskan heliskiing experience, the RV approach to AK allows for flexibility, comfort and a traveling changing room (be certain to screen your group carefully for obnoxious snorers…or bring earplugs). As a heads up, there are a number of large snowmobiling gatherings that take place in the state of Alaska during April (Arctic Man), so book your RV early to guarantee availability. For those planning to use the RV as a lodging option, keep in mind that most RV rental companies do not allow for use of the water or septic tanks due to freezing concerns (the showers make for a great ski locker) but there are plenty of shower/restroom options surrounding Thompson Pass (and soon to be offered at the new HooDoo Cirque Village). The basic directions are Hwy 1 (Glenn Highway) North to Palmer, Hwy 1 (Glenn Highway) East to Glen Allen, Hwy 4 (Richardson Highway) South to Valdez.
By Plane or Helicopter: There is a daily flight option from Anchorage to Valdez; however, it can be expensive and is often cancelled due to weather. For those that do fly into Valdez, shuttle service from the hotel properties in Valdez to the top of Thompson Pass can be available for a small fee if pre arranged. For those looking to get turns right off the plane, we can arrange for a private helicopter pickup in or near Anchorage with the possibility of sneaking in a few runs on your flight over the Chugach Range. Inquire for pricing.
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