All of Alaska is filled with great terrain, but anyone who has heli skied Alaska knows that the abundance of snow can mean no fly days. The Silverton Mountain Guides Northern Chugach zone near the Knik River is located a little further from the ocean and provides stellar terrain combined with clearing trends and plenty of sunshine due to the geographic location. However when it clears at the coast, we are in an ideal position to line up the coastal spines. The zone contains an incredible amount of ski terrain with multiple weather microclimates within the “Banana Belt” of Alaska.
The Northern Chugach Mountains generally have more favorable weather than Alaska’s coastal towns of Valdez, Cordova, or Haines where most Alaska heli skiing is based. Our trips are very popular as a result and have 100% sold out every season. This zone gets deep snow and the clearing trends can be more reliable than near Valdez, Cordova, or Haines providing better odds for more skiing and less time dealing with the inclement weather that Alaska is famous for.
Your location makes a difference when it comes to the weather. The further you are from the ocean, the more sunshine you will typically find. This normally allows opportunities to get into the air and be heli skiing / heli snowboarding while someone located elsewhere may be grounded with weather. The coast provides some unique terrain features however, and we are fully able to access the coastal terrain from our locations. There are many times however when the sun may only be shining at the far south coast in Seward but it may be cloudy everywhere else in the Chugach. Silverton Mountain Guides is famous for being the only Alaskan operator with multiple bases of operations for access to the best weather and snow conditions at all times.
Our Seward Alaska zone is located directly on the coast, however, there are several key ingredients that make Seward different and such a special place. Those include fantastic tree skiing, and great runs adjacent to town. With heli runs that feed down to the edge of town, you can usually ski even when it may be fully socked in up in the alpine. One of the primary concerns heli operators have is making sure they can get everyone back out of the zone if weather moves in. With runs that you can ski right to the edge of town, you can reduce the weather effects of being located on the coast. Old mature forests, combined with areas that have been cut for logging provide great tree skiing options when the alpine is on lockdown. These factors make Seward unique, and when the alpine clears the terrain is worth it!
In our third base of operations 600 miles to the south in Petersburg, there are huge runs, massive glaciers, and runs 9,000′ high. This is substantially higher than most Alaska heli skiing which allows for light snow and long runs, but the weather is challenging in Petersburg so trips here require precision timing that can be unbelievably rewarding.