What is ski mountaineering?
Ski mountaineering means we bring a rope. If needed, we use the rope to prevent a fall in steep terrain or for glacier travel. Ski mountaineering also emphasizes climbing summits and skiing down.
The mountains around Anchorage in Southcentral Alaska are surrounded by glaciers. This makes Anchorage the best ski mountaineering base in the US. In March, April, May and even June these glaciers become a ski paradise with long days and more stable snow for steep skiing. We can access the high peaks using our own power from the road, or an air taxi can help us set up a fat base camp. Please call or email me and we'll discuss the options.
Earn Your Turns
Day and multi-day tours. Shunning air taxi means you need fitness to reach the high peaks. Around Anchorage, we have word-class, road-accessed ski mountaineering in the Chugach, Kenai and Talkeetna Mountains.
Denali Ski Base Camp
Western Chugach Heli Drop
I love this trip! The best access point to glaciers in Southcentral Alaska is from Girdwood, an hour drive from Anchorage. A 15-minute helicopter ride from Girdwood takes us up 5,000 feet to glaciers in the Western Chugach Mountains. These glaciers hang off beautiful summits that offer everything from steep skiing to long cruiser runs. Although multiple days is ideal, with nights camping or in huts, the trip is possible as a day tour. At the end of the trip, it works best to ski back to Girdwood rather than fly out. Skiing out avoids a potential problem of being weather-bound and waiting for a helicopter. Whether using a one-way flight, or flying both ways, we'll pack light to have the option of skiing out. For base-camping, with more comforts, consider a Denali Ski Base Camp. See Western Chugach Heli Drop posts.
The R44 helicopter seats the pilot plus two with gear. Total, one-way heli drop on the Sparrow Glacier in the Western Chugach is about:
- 1 client plus guide $450
- 2-3 clients plus guide $900
- 4 clients plus guide $1,350
- 5 clients plus guide: $1350 - $1800
Sample Heli Drop Itinerary
Day 0 Meet in Anchorage at 6pm at your hotel. Gear check and last minute gear purchases. Stay in Anchorage.
Day 1 Load skis and packs into the car and drive an hour to the helicopter port in Girdwood. The 15-minute heli ride will lift us to the Sparrow Glacier in the Western Chugach Mountains. We'll rope up, tour and establish camp.
Day 2 Move camp, ski peaks and glaciers.
Day 3 Move camp, ski peaks and glaciers.
Day 4 Pack up camp. Ski over a high pass and descend 4,000 feet to the trailhead in Girdwood. Dine on burgers and beer. Stay in Girdwood or Anchorage.
Day 5 Fly home on the redeye. Most flights in and out of Anchorage are redeye.
- Intermediate to advanced alpine skiing skills.
- Endurance consecutive days in the mountains.
- Previous camping experience for camping tours.
- Recent avalanche companion rescue practice. We will have assessment and review before our tour.
March through July. Mid-March to mid May is best for long days and stable powder snow in Southcentral Alaska. Summer ski mountaineering continues into June.
- 1 client: $500 per day
- 2 clients: $300 per person per day
- 3 clients: $225 per person per day
- 4+ clients: $200 per person per day (second guide added over four customers)
- Click here for booking.
- AMGA/IFMGA Mountain Guide Joe Stock. Up to eight clients. A second guide may be added.
- Cooking gear if camping (stove, pots, fuel, cook tent)
- Navigation, first aid and repair kits
- Emergency shelter and communication
Does Not Include
- Transport. To reduce costs, using a rental car or your personal car is the best option.
- Lodging, food and drink. See Southcentral Alaska Logistics.
- Personal gear. See Alaska Backcountry Ski Gear List.
- Rescue and trip insurance. See Booking for details.