Frequently asked questions.
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Q: How much does it cost?
A: Please see our Rates Page for current prices.
Q: How does it work?
A: The day starts off in the morning with a helicopter ride to a highpoint within the 750,000 acres of the Sun Valley Heli Ski permit. From there, your guide and group will spend the remainder of the day skiing, riding and touring back to a pre-arranged road pick up point. A helicopter pick up at the end of the day will bring you back to SVHS Headquarters.
Q: What level of experience do I need to be able to do a HASTA Trip?
A: You should be at least a strong intermediate level skier or boarder. You should be capable of dealing with the challenges presented by deep snow and varied snow conditions, such as heavy powder and breakable crusts. Plus, some backcountry experience and familiarity with ski touring is recommended, as ski touring will take up a large portion of the day. You must also be in the requisite shape to ski tour at high alpine elevations.
Q: What kind of equipment do I need?
A: This trip requires the use of backcountry touring equipment. This includes alpine touring equipment for skiers and split boards for snowboarders. SVHS does not provide this equipment. If you do not have your own equipment, rentals through local backcountry shops are available.
Q: Do I need to book a reservation?
A: Yes, reservations are required.
Q: What does the day look like in terms of timing?
A: We generally meet at the SVHS Headquarters at the Sun Valley Gun Club at 8:00 AM. If the guests have not yet received a safety briefing, they will do so that morning. Subject to weather and other logistical matters, we depart for the helicopter no later than 9 AM and are skiing, riding and touring until mid-afternoon, depending on the time of year and desires of the HASTA Group. We end the day back at the SVHS HQ.
Q: How do I know what to do in heli ski/riding morning?
A: We ask guests to call our status line 208.622.3108 OPT#2 every morning at 7:30 AM so that we can communicate any changes to the standard schedule.
Q: How many people are in the helicopter?
A: We operate an A-Star helicopter which holds 4 guests, a guide and a pilot, which provides an intimate 4 to 1 guest to guide experience. We can operate with up to 4 groups in a rotation on any given day.
Q: How much terrain do you have and where do you ski?
A: Sun Valley Heli Ski Guides has an amazing playground of 750,000 acres of terrain in its permit area, by far the largest terrain of any heli ski operator in the entire lower 48 states. We fly in the three majestic mountain ranges surrounding Sun Valley: the Smoky, Boulder and Pioneer Mountains. We choose where we are going to ski and ride on any given day by analyzing many different factors, which include weather, snow conditions and group ability.
Q: Do you take snowboarders?
A: Absolutely. We love Snowboarders. Snowboarders make up a significant portion of our guests.
Q: Do I have to worry about avalanches?
A: Like any backcountry activity, skiing off-piste in the mountains has inherent risk. Avalanches are just one hazard presented by skiing in the backcountry. Others include rocks, stumps, trees, and falling cornices. Even poor snow conditions can be hazardous. The primary responsibility of the SVHS staff is to manage these hazards. This process begins with a comprehensive analysis of the snowpack stability and continues on slope with the selection of appropriate terrain and the application of guiding tactics and travel techniques. Perhaps the most important thing a guest can do to assist in managing risk is to listen to the guide staff. Guides will be providing a constant stream of information regarding hazards and conditions. If you are not listening, you are not getting that information. Safety is our highest priority and our guides are specially trained to help mitigate these risks while delivering the best possible skiing experience. guests.
Q: What’s the weather like?
A: Sun Valley’s average temperature in winter is a pleasant 23 degrees with over 200 inches of annual snowfall. There's a reason it’s called Sun Valley. The region receives over 250 days of sunshine a year. Prepare for bluebird powder days.
Q: What happens if we are canceled due to weather?
A: We are fortunate to have a world-class ski resort as our “weather backup”. If conditions do not allow us to fly, it generally means the resort skiing will be incredible. Nordic skiing and other winter adventures are also available. Your reservation will be rolled to the next available day. In many cases, we are able to get you out the day after the storm clears. If we are unable to accomodate you, you will receive a full refund less a $25 administrative fee.
Q: What should I wear?
A: Layering is the most important aspect of being comfortable on your heli day. A good base layer, coupled with a mid and/or heavy weight layer followed by a waterproof/breathable outer layer is ideal. Layering gives you options to layer up or down depending on conditions. We strongly encourage the use of helmets, but it is not required. Good goggles and warm gloves/mittens are also a must.
Q: What about video and photos?
A: Subject to safety and other protocol, feel free to take as many pictures as you would like. Subject to their primary responsibilities, guides are able to assist and facilitate with photos and videos. Guests can bring a photographer, but they would be required to purchase a seat in addition to a day rate for the photographer.