I don’t care where in the world you’ve skied — a sunny day of flying in the heli with Chugach Powder Guides is very tough to beat.
1

Today's the day

This was the day I had been waiting for. Girdwood had been getting hammered with big low pressure systems for over a week, but on my last day in AK there wasn't a cloud in the sky.

2

Chugach Powder Guides

Chugach Powder Guides, out of Girdwood, AK, is one of the most respected heli skiing outfits in the world.

3

Snow perfection

The snow was perfect. The landings we were skiing from had gotten over 100 inches of snow in the last 72 hours; we couldn't have asked for better conditions, for both the flying and the skiing.

4

Rotors

Most heli pilots in AK will chew you out for getting this close to one of their rotors but this guy was cool.

5

Ripper

This girl in the green was a ripper.

6

Ice-fall

Later in the day was saw a massive ice-fall avalanche tear down this mountain, Bryon's Peak, and cover those pillowy lumps at the bottom with a violent cloud of debris.

7

Wind crust

Most of the ridges are covered in a thick wind crust, making for some pretty spectacular patterns in the snow.

8

Ski down

We would ski all the way down to the middle of the glacier where the pilot could land safely, out of range of any major avalanches on either side of the valley.

9

Heavy snow

To put things in perspective, that cornice on the summit is about 200 feet thick.

10

Shadows

As the afternoon sun starts to sink, the mountains cast shadows that go for miles across the valley floor.

11

Cold

And when the sun is gone, the temperature plummets. More than a couple times it was almost too cold to take my gloves off to get a shot.

12

Stunning scenery

The scenery in the Chugach can just about knock the wind out of you.

13

Flying in

The group we shared the heli with for the day coming into a landing above us.

14

Watch out ahead

On this run we were told not to stray far from our guide's tracks due to hidden crevasse danger.

15

Fly

Going up to AK made me want to quit my job and head to flight school so I can become a helicopter pilot. The birds they fly at CPG cost $1.8M new (!)

16

Checking the snow

Our guide, Rob Durnell, checking out the snow conditions before waving us on.

17

Sun sets

I plan on watching the sun disappear behind these mountains again. Soon.

18

You are here

I've said it once and I'll say it again: Alaska will make you feel very small. This tiny dot is a group of 7 skiers.