YOUR BLADE TIME
Blade time is measured by the Hobbs meter on board the helicopter. The Hobbs meter begins tracking blade time when the pilot raises the collective lever. Raising the collective alters the pitch of the rotor blades simultaneously (collectively) and causes the helicopter to climb — this is when the Hobbs meter starts tracking your blade time. You do not incur blade time if the helicopter is on a Landing Zone or Pickup Zone with the collective down or during fueling on the ground at a staging area even when the blades are spinning.
H2O Guides offers expedition-style Alaska heli-skiing that's focused on premium ski descents and accessing very remote, wild regions of the Chugach Mountains including terrain that is not shared with any Alaska operators. Due to the extreme nature of Alaska weather, periods of poor snow stability, and numerous other factors associated with flight operations in rugged backcountry mountains, we do not guarantee an arbitrary number of daily runs since it can vary greatly from day to day. Nor do we ski a standard circuit within a small region simply to rack up as many runs as possible. Some days you'll ski more runs and some days less. Historically it's been possible to get 14 runs or more in a day, but that is rare especially if we must fly deeper to access better snow and weather conditions. However, we'll ski as many runs as possible every day, and vertical feet is always unlimited.
With H2O Guides you can access multiple regions in the southeastern Chugach National Forest where we are the sole holder of a special use permit for helicopter skiing. These regions are off limits to all other operators. Our blade time program gives you the freedom to go deep into the coveted Chugach National Forest terrain with more favorable micro-climates and better snow stability to attain mind blowing descents among massive glaciation and the deepest snow in the entire Chugach. This is the Holy Grail of skiing and snowboarding. We are the only operator with access to this amount and variety of terrain that is not shared with other heli-skiing operations. No other heli-ski operator can honestly claim this.
We don't need to go deep every day. There's amazing terrain only minutes away from our base at Valdez Pioneer Field. The beauty of being based in Valdez is that we're completely surrounded by towering snowy peaks with excellent ski runs, and most of the surrounding terrain is untouched by other operators who tend to stick around the Thompson Pass corridor. As weather and snow conditions dictate we'll fly progressively deeper to access dozens of interconnected regions with hundreds upon hundreds of runs available. We're on a daily mission to find the best powder snow and terrain even when we must incur longer flight times.
H2O Guides also has multiple strategic permitted staging areas with mobile fueling operations to reduce ferry times for fuel runs and getting our groups into the field. We are a mechanized powder assault team that can easily move to another staging area to get closer to the best snow, weather and snow stability conditions. Our method streamlines operations and maximizes your blade time while providing additional backup safety nets and is unique among all Alaska operators.
Some days we may be in the field all day nailing it. Other days we may launch later or return earlier due to weather and/or snow conditions. Due to notorious Alaska weather, our packages are a full week to help you achieve all of your heliskiing. However, when the stars align you may use all of your original four hours of blade time in less than seven days (see below for additional discounted blade time).
Each additional hour of blade time over the original four hours is discounted at $1,200 per person (this covers our bare minimum operating costs to help keep you flying).