Interview by Tom Jackson, HELISKI.com
To Hell You Fly! Colorado Heliskiing lives in the box canyon made famous by Butch and Sundance – and now known for dry powder and steep slopes. Telluride is one of the best and steepest resorts in North America. It is also one of the best places to heli-ski on your resort skiing vacation (Although you will want to read or comparison of Resort Skiing vs. Heli-Skiing) . Helitrax offers single and multi-day heli-skiing in Telluride as well as from Vail and Aspen, Colorado! Get the story in this HELISKI.cominterview of Telluride Helitrax.
1. When did Helitrax begin heliskiing out of Telluride, Colorado?
Helitrax has been in continuous operation since 1982, we are currently gearing up for our 30th season.
2. Do you still offer single-day packages heliskiing from Vail and/or Aspen?
Yes we do and they are becoming one of our more popular packages. We have developed very good relationships with several fixed wing air charter providers allowing us to cater to a wider range of group sizes and budgets.
3. What packages are you offering for 2012?
We will continue to offer single day, multi-day and Custom heliski packages. In addition, for those that want to visit the backcountry on their own terms we offer great backcountry tours and heli-assited ski tours.
4. You are skiing and riding at the highest elevation of any heliskiing in North America, eh?
That’s right, many of out top landing zones are over 13,000’. It’s hard to beat the clarity of the sky, dryness of the snow and views that these elevations!
5. Tell us about your terrain in the San Juan Mountains, please.
Check out these images from ESPN Telluride Helitrax gallery.
The San Juans are renowned for their incredible ski terrain. Almost all of our skiing is done above treeline with a mix of open bowls, pitched faces and exciting couloirs. Everyday we ski, we try to provide a great mix of terrain tailored to our guests abilities and based on current snow and safety considerations.
6. Groups of 4 in a Bell 407 is downright luxurious! Helitrax is about small groups, and fewer groups per helicopter, right?
We are all about keeping the experience intimate; you will never have 12 other skiers chasing you down the slope at Helitrax. Providing exceptional customer service and a tailored skiing experience is one of the pillars of our reputation.
7. What percentage of your clients do a single day?
This remains our most popular trip with about 50% of our guests joining us for just a single day. Some times it is their first heliskiing experience but we also have a solid repeat clientele.
8. What is the average vertical for a day of Heli-Skiing Colorado with Telluride Helitrax?
You can expect to ski between 10,000 and 14,000 vertical feet during a day of skiing with us. Our runs range from 1200’ to over 3000’ and we try to provide a good blend of runs throughout the day.
9. What is the most popular multi-day package?
We have quite a few guests join us for 3 days during a week of skiing in Telluride. This allows them a couple of days to ski at the resort and acclimate to the elevation before they fly. And it is common for weather to keep us grounded for another day. So if they stay for the week they get a good mix of 3-4 days of resort skiing and 3 days helicopter skiing in the backcountry.
10. Tell us about lodging for multi-day guests?
Telluride offers a broad range of lodging choices from four-star hotels to the classic New Sheridan for a taste of the old days. We are based at the Iconic Peaks Resort and Spa, and have one of our heli-pads right out the front door. In addition we are able to offer very favorable rates to our guests who choose to stay there.
11. What are the options for Privates?
There are 2 options for a more private experience. We offer what we call a private cabin, some operations call this a semi-private. This is when you book all 4 spaces in the cabin of the helicopter. This assures that your group will both fly and ride together all day. It also allows us to really tailor the day to your group’s expectations and ability.
Our most exclusive package is the Custom tour, where your group has private use of the helicopter for the day. These trips are based on an hourly flight time rate allowing us provide an unmatched, one of a kind helicopter skiing experience.
12. If the weather grounds the chopper, can guests go catskiing or make it to the Telluride Resort (a GREAT mountain) in time to get a full day?
For sure, we are located slope-side, so even if we cancel at the last minute you are just steps away from jumping on the lifts. Telluride has over 1800 skiable acres and 15 lifts to keep you occupied. That sure beats hanging out at the lodge hoping it will stop snowing! [Amen]
13. What percentage of your guests are heliboarding?
I would guess that 30-40% of our guests are on boards now. It used to just be the younger crowd but anymore we see a broad range of clients showing up to Heli-board.
14. I understand that you provide complimentary powder skis for your guests. What are you riding?
This season we will be on the latest Atomic powder skis, including the Atlas, Bent Chetlers, Blogs and the Access. We do this because we feel that this allows everyone of our skiing guests to enjoy the experience as much as possible. We would not want to compromise the quality of our service for the price of renting a pair of skis for a day.
15. Is there anything else you would like to tell us about Heli-Skiing Colorado with Telluride Helitrax?
The partnership between Telluride Helitrax, the Peaks resort and the Telluride ski resort has really come together in the past few years. We believe that the combination of services and skiing experiences available in one location are truly unmatched. The Peaks resort truly is one of the few, resort ski in/ski/out, heliski in/ski out resorts in the world. We hope you can join us.
Thanks. I would love to get back to Telluride and heli-ski with Helitrax!
CPO (Chief Powder Officer)