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Go Deep: Adventure On The Quick


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British Columbia and Alaska are the heli- and catskiing capitals

of the world, but if you can’t spare the time or money, there are plenty of day-trip outfits in the lower 48. Most are near major resorts, which makes them quick, convenient escapes. And they’re a great introduction to the pleasures of backcountry powder.



Telluride Helitrax

Colorado’s only heliski outfitter takes you to the roof of the San Juans. Five to six runs a day; multiday packages available.; 866-435-4754


Sun Valley Heli*Ski, Ketchum

Offers one- or three-day trips on 750 square miles in the Boulder, Pioneer and Smoky Mountains, with backcountry lodge accommodations.; 800-872-3108


Ruby Mountain Heliskiing, Lamoille

See story, page 114.; 775-753-6867


Diamond Peaks Heli Ski Adventures, Ogden

Based out of Powder Mountain Ski Resort, accesses 15,000 acres of private land in the Northern Wasatch Mountains; multiday trips available.; 801-745-4631

Wasatch Powderbird Guides, Snowbird

See story, page 110.; 800-974-4354


North Cascade Heli-Skiing, Mazama Less than five hours from Seattle; specializes in one- to three-day packages for groups of four to 16.; 509-996-3272


High Mountain Heli-Skiing, Teton Village Spans five different mountain ranges (Snake River, Palisade, Hoback, Teton, Gros Ventre) and 305,000 acres; six runs a day; multiday trips available.; 307-733-3274



Pacific Crest Snowcats, Tahoe City Located in the Sierras of North Tahoe, with 1,500-vertical-foot runs.; 530-581-1767


Aspen Mountain Powder Tours Departs from the top of Ajax, with spectacular views of the Roaring Fork Valley.; 800-525-6200, ext. 3720

Chicago Ridge Snowcat Tours, Leadville See story, page 120.; 719-486-2277

El Diablo Alpine Guides, Durango Averages 11 runs per day at elevations up to 12,400 feet in and around Molas Pass in the San Juan Mountains.; 877-241-9643

Monarch Snowcat Tours, Poncha Springs Departs from Monarch Ski Area, with 900 acres and views of the Continental Divide.; 888-996-7669Mountain Fun Tours, Georgetown 8,000-vertical-foot days on Jones Pass near Henderson Mines; beginners and intermediates welcome. 303-569-3779

San Juan Ski Co., Durango Accesses 35,000 acres at up to 12,500 feet; drop-off at Durango Mountain Resort (formerly Purgatory) at day’s end.; 800-208-1780

Steamboat Powdercats 10,000 acres on Buffalo Pass; offers afternoon package followed by dinner and moonlight descent.; 800-288-0543

Vail Snowcat Skiing, Avon Ski the historic 10th Mountain Division training grounds; departs from top of Vail Pass.; 970-926-1839


Peak Adventures, Cataldo Located in the St. Joe Mountains, 60 miles from Spokane, Wash.; offers overnight yurt trips and avalanche safety courses.; 208-682-3200

Soldier Mountain, Fairfield Accesses 1,500 acres, with lunch in a heated backcountry yurt.; 208-764-2526

Tamarack Resort, Donnelly Ski/golf/lakeshore resort located 90 miles from Boise, with sweeping lake views.; 208-325-1000


Big Mountain Snowcat Tours, Whitefish Adds 1,000 extra vertical feet to Big Mountain’s lift-served terrain.; 800-858-3930

Montana Backcountry Adventures, Big Sky 3,000 acres on the North Side of Big Sky’s Lone Peak; average annual ssnowfall: 400 inches.; 877-528-1797


Mount Bailey Snowcat Skiing, Diamond Lake Gladed chutes or wide-open snowfields from the summit of an 8,363-foot volcano 90 minutes from the slopes of Mt. Bachelor.; 800-733-7593

Mount Hood Meadows Ski Resort Departs from the top of Cascade Express lift, at elevations up to 9,000 feet; pay by the run.; 503-337-2222 or 800-754-4663

Ski Anthony Lakes, North Powder Near Baker City in Eastern Oregon; accesses 2,000 acresin the Elkhorn Mountains.; 541-856-3277


Alta Snow Cat Skiing Departs from Alta’s Albion base area for 375 acres of terrain in Grizzly Gulch.; 801-359-1078, ext. 271

Brian Head Resort Accesses 100 acres at up to 11,307 feet, with views of Cedar Breaks National Monument; four hours south of Salt Lake City, near Zion National Park.; 435-677-2035

Powder Mountain Cat Skiing, Eden Departs from top of Sundown lift for skiing on Lightning Ridge; pay by the run.; 801-745-3772


Grand Targhee Snowcat Skiing, Alta Full- and half-day trips on 1,000 acres of Targhee’s famously powder-choked terrain, less than one hour from Jackson Hole.; 307-353-2300


THE TRACKLESS WILDS Whether you get there by snowcat or by helicopter, backcountry skiing is deeply rewarding. Domestic guides are standing by to transport you to paradise?even if it?s only for a day or two.