Heli News

A collection of press releases and articles to keep you up-to-date on the operations here at High Mountain Heli-Skiing.

The HMH Helicopters

The newest model AS-350B3e A-Star (introduced late 2011) features exceptional maneuverability and superior visibility. Many customers enjoy the four forward facing seats which make your flight as comfortable as it is productive. This helicopter was designed as a multiple mission workhorse for the hot and high altitude environment where other aircraft suffer.

This high-performance version, powered by an Arriel 2D engine, introduces an enhanced engine with dual channel (FADEC) Full Authority Digital Engine Control, dual hydraulics and a 2,370 kg (5,225 lb) Maximum Take Off Weight. This helicopter is the first ever to land on the summit of Mount Everest.

The second helicopter will be coming on in late January and will be used for private tours and taking up the additional load from downed days due to weather. This will ensure our customer a better opportunity to get out heli-skiing and also provide backup for other services.

HMH Terrain: Is Heli-Skiing Extreme?

By Jim Woodmencey, meteorologist and former guide for HMH

If visions of 2,000 vertical feet in a couloir 60-degrees steep and no wider than the corridor in an elementary school are your idea of heli-skiing, then please don't come to Jackson Hole. You might find that on the menu in Alaska, but it is not the normal day offered by High Mountain Heli-Skiing.

Sure, we have skied couloirs of 60-degrees, some narrower than the hallway, but that is not what heli-skiing is all about. At High Mountain Heli-Skiing we like to offer you the best powder skiing experience possible. We like to challenge our guests as much as conditions and individual abilities allow.

Heli-skiing is about powder. It's not about sideslipping down a chute and sloughing all the snow away so the guy behind you has to ski the bone underneath. Powder skiing is about smooth, untracked slopes, on an angle that will support a skier without avalanching "the goods" to the bottom of the hill.

Heli-Skiing in the backcountry is not a Disneyland ride (although some customers have said it is better!); you don't just get your skis on and go hurtling down the first slope you see. Heli-skiing is more like mountaineering, having your guide take you (as a small group) safely throughout the mountains, avoiding the hazards and finding the best snow. We look out for each other; we test the slopes to see if they are O.K. to ski first. We use good judgement, skiing as steep a terrain as the current snowpack conditions or the group's ability will allow. It is a team experience being in the mountains together, not a selfish quest to find the ultimate run of steep and deep.

Travelling in the mountains is like running a Class V river; you need lots of experience to do it by yourself (otherwise you go with a guide, or be forever known as a fool). And you always give Mother Nature the respect she deserves. The intuition to know what slopes are safe to ski on any given day comes with experience, and your guide will tell you which slopes are good today.

Heli-skiing is also a day in the mountains, away from the urban-like experience of a ski area. It is pure powder skiing at its finest -- tranquil, pristine, and luxurious. We take a pace as fast or as slow as you like, we have lunch deep in the mountains far from the nearest road, and we contemplate how lucky we are to be able to experience all this in a single day, only because of our unique mode of transportation.

At High Mountain Heli-Skiing we are not running an extreme skiing contest. We are not here to make the next TGR movie featuring you and your friends. We are here to provide you with as much fun as you're ever going to have with your ski boots on, and cold snow up to your crotch.

Why HMH can only take 65 people skiing in the WSA.

The Forest Service issued its Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) and Record of Decision (ROD) on HMH’s operations in November of 2004. That decision, after having been appealed and upheld, in 2005 was litigated by local green groups, Jackson Hole Conservation Alliance, Greater Yellowstone Coalition, Sierra Club, Wyoming Wilderness Association and individuals Tom Turiano, Debra Patla and Merlin Hare. Federal Judge B. Lynn Winnmill of Boise, ID sided with plaintiff’s argument that the FS should not have allowed our use within the Palisades Wilderness Study Area to increase over 1984 levels, the year it was set aside for study by congress. That order was regardless of our use there predating the 1984 Act, it being designated as a motorized use area in forest plan and also it remains a heavily traveled snowmobile area in winter. That 1984 level of use, based on incomplete data and false assumptions, limited us to only 65 skier days (1 skier, any part of a day on the forest).

The Department of Justice, who represents the Forest Service, promised an appeal of the decision but after filing two extensions, dropped the case. Last fall we pleaded with the Bridger-Teton Forest Supervisor Kniffy Hamilton to produce a supplement to the EIS, to correct the issues the judge pointed out with it. We were refused. This left us with few options and has forced us to move most of our use to the Idaho side of the Palisades with the potential of expanding into new terrain.

New for 2011, HMH will be moving a portion of our operations into the Big Hole Range and Big Elk Mtn., Blacks Mtn. and Caribou Pk. to the south. We hope to incorporate the new terrain into our special use permit by winter 2012. We are committed to doing everything we can to continue providing the high quality powder skiing experience you are accustomed to while assuring protection of Forest resources.

Thank you for your continued support,

It is interesting to note that Bridger-Teton Supervisor Kniffy Hamilton retired from the FS this past spring and joined the board of the Jackson Hole Conservation Alliance.

 

Snake River Sporting Club

Downstream from Grand Teton National Park, just south of Jackson, Wyoming, Snake River Sporting Club is becoming the new address of a select few sporting enthusiasts. Anglers cast for the area's native cutthroat trout. The Tom Weiskopf golf course offers challenges and vistas not available anywhere else. And once the snow begins to fall, skiing fresh backcountry powder with High Mountain Heli-Skiing is just a short walk to the helipad. This is life at Snake River Sporting Club.

Snake River Sporting Club members will have exclusive access to the Tom Weiskopf golf course, members’ lodge, heliport, equestrian center, sports complex, gourmet dining and spa.

Snake River Sporting Club’s 554 acres have 6.5 miles of Snake River frontage. Anglers need only wade in for world-class fly-fishing. To cast well off the path, knowledgeable fishing guides and helicopter service can take you to the secret spots on the area’s many streams and rivers.

When winter arrives, the area is a premier skiing destination. The average annual snowfall in Jackson Hole is 400 inches. The area’s low humidity creates the light and dry “cowboy powder” that attracts skiers from around the world. Snake River Sporting Club’s shuttle can take you to the groomed slopes of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort Ski Area or you can hop on the helicopter to ski the backcountry.

Step outside your door for golf, tennis, squash or relaxation in the hot springs. Or you can explore far and wide. The choice is yours, everyday.

Contact us today to learn how you can become a part of it.

Snake River Sporting Club

60 East Broadway 2nd Floor
PO Box 4820
Jackson, Wyoming 83001
888.434.7772
307.732.0808 fax