Pacific Crest Heli Skiing

Heli Skiing Returns To Lake Tahoe:

As many of you’ve heard, Pacific Crest Heli-Guides is getting ready to launch their inaugural season of heli skiing and heli snowboarding in the Lake Tahoe region in mid December. Dave Rintala, who started Pacific Crest Snowcats has logged countless hours, both scoping out the terrain north of Tahoe and also securing skiing and snowboarding rights to the land. Operations are based out of Truckee, so there will be easy access from the North Shore areas as well as Reno.

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With all of the other recent and major improvements over the last few years at the various local resorts, such as Heavenly getting a gondola to town, Squaw Valley developing a village and Northstar continuing their own village build out with the Ritz Carlton, now the next big event will take place in the Sierra’s pristine alpine region.  Lake Tahoe now has added another piece to its list of activities for winter vacationers as the region now joins other premier ski areas such as Telluride, Snowbird, Sun Valley, Whistler and Jackson Hole in having a local helicopter skiing and snowboard option.

With Dave’s surveys and existing backcountry familiarity in the region, he believes the areas serviced will get about 450  – 500 inches of snow each season, which is about the same amount of yearly snow as Squaw Valley and Sugar Bowl receive. Each run should be approximately 1,500  – 2000 vertical feet, with terrain and features close to what you will find at the local Lake Tahoe ski areas. Pacific Crest Heli-Guides territory will cover over 100,00 acres,  which means a lot of fun and exciting skiing and snowboarding for strong intermediates to pro level experts. There’s a good reason why so many top skiers and riders come to the area to live and that’s because the terrain is phenomenal.

Pacific Crest runs with small groups of 4, so if you and three friends fill the chopper, this will allow some trip customization. Additionally, PCHG  uses a guaranteed amount of flight time instead of offering the their trips by guaranteed vertical feet. This enables the skiers and snowboarders to decide which terrain they want to make their turns on and where. Like any heli operation, the further away from the staging area, the fresher the powder and in this case, it also can mean longer runs. Also, if the weather isn’t good enough for flying and by having their sister operation Pacific Crest Snowcats operating nearby, then the guests are guaranteed a spot in the snowcat as backup.

With Dave’s industry knowledge, having guided at an Alaskan heli service and local knowledge of the outstanding surrounding terrain, along with his enthusiasm to show his clients a great adventure and the Sierra’s abundance of snow, I think that Pacific Crest Heli-Guides will have a home at Lake Tahoe for many years. Be a pioneer and Book now and get some early season turns in. Just think you may have a unique opportunity to have a first descent and also possibly name a run. Pretty rad!

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