This is a view of a region called the Iguana Backs. Valdez Heli-Ski Guides can you to this terrain, to ski 1,500-foot-long couloirs of creamy Chugach powder. I'm currently spending two weeks parked in an RV at Valdez Heli-Ski Guides with two of the best telemark skiers in the country—Paul Kimbrough and Jake Sakson, who recently first and second, respectively, in the Telemark Freeskiing World Championships, which was held at Alyeska, Alaska, last weekend. Also with us is in the RV is Jonah Howell, who is filming footage for Powderwhore Productions, a telemark-specific ski movie. During downtime in the RV, I asked Paul and Jake for some pointers on skiing steep terrain on telemark gear. Find out their tips and check out photos from our trip in the next few slides.

Valdez, Alaska

In 1993, ski legend Doug Coombs opened Alaska's first heli-ski operation in Valdez. Skiing Magazine's Megan Michelson is currently spending two weeks in an RV parked at Valdez Heli Ski Guides with two of the best telemark skiers in the country. Here are photos from their trip—along with pointers on how to ski Alaskan-style steeps.


Win a Free Trip to Tailgate Alaska

SheJumps is taking two girls all the way to AK

Helicopter pilot Chet Simmons, one of the original members of Valdez's "Ski to Die Club," played a critical role in bringing heli-skiing to Alaska. He was flying supplies to the interior during the oil pipeline's construction when he started charging skiers $25 a drop. We caught up with him on Thompson Pass after a day of skiing and got to fire off a few rounds from his rifle.

Can Skiing Save Valdez, Alaska?

What happens when an oil town runs out of oil? What if that town happens to access some of the best skiing in the world? We sent Devon O'Neil to Valdez, Alaska, to report on just that for a story in our November issue. This is what he saw.


Sage Cattabriga-Alosa in Alaska

On the set of The Dream Factory

In a pilot, I like a man of few words—a Chesley B. Sullenberger III  “brace for impact” type who lets his flying speak for itself. Silence  lets you know he is concentrating. When he speaks up, you know it’s  important. So I like our ski-plane pilot, Drake Olsen. When he says stay  nearby, I don’t need to be told twice. I am skinning laps a few miles inland from Haines, Alaska, in the  Coast range with Alaska Mountain Guides. My buddies and I blew our  budget on two days of heli-skiing in Skagway, so we came south to eke  out another day up high—an airplane’s flight time in Alaska costs a  fraction of a helicopter’s, but the skiing is every bit as spectacular. A  thousand feet below, Olsen’s blue Cessna 182 is a toy on the glacier,  but I can still see him, squatting on the snow beneath the wing, eyeing  the roiling clouds in the narrow exit to the crown of massive peaks  around us. It’s a marginal day, and heavy weather is in the forecast.

Fixed-Wing Alaska

What’s more fun: skiing in Alaska or flying over it with Drake Olsen?

Because it's light so late in the day, you can ski until 8 p.m. in daylight, and then keep skiing until 9 p.m. under the lights at Alyeska. They run Chair 1 until 9 p.m. on Thursdays through Saturday, which lets you access not just groomers, but also short, steep pitches, pillow lines, and mini hucks directly under the chair. Plus, a night-skiing lift ticket costs just $35. In this photo: Shaun Raskin and Paige Brady embrace the storm while riding Alyeska's Chair 1 at around 8 p.m.

Alyeska, Alaska: What To Do While You're There

When you think of skiing in Alaska, you might think about helicopters and film crews. But don't forget about Alyeska, one of the state's few ski areas. The mountain has received 714 inches of snow this winter—and counting. Here's what you'll do while you're there—from night skiing to dining on all-you-can-eat sourdough pancakes.

Heavy Hiking

Life In The Dream Factory

This past winter Teton Gravity Research filmed heavily in Alaska while creating their upcoming film The Dream Factory. Skiing caught up with Skier Todd Ligare to talk about hiking lines, winter camping, and skiing spines. We also got some exclusive POV screen grabs to show you just how out of hand skiing in Alaska really gets.

Mt. Hood hobo

Trip Ideas: Portland, Oregon

Mt. Hood’s three ski areas are just a short drive from all those hipsters.