Frequently asked questions.
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Q: How much does it cost?
A: A Heli Assisted Ski Touring Adventure (“HASTA”) costs $2,200 per group, with a maximum of 4 persons per group during our Holiday Season (Opening Day 2019 through January 5, 2020 and February 15 through February 23, 2020) $2,000 per group during the remainder of the season. Rates will increase for service into our remote terrain.
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. Depending on logistics, an additional heli lift can be arranged for an additional fee of $900 per group.
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 alpine touring equipment which is not provided. Rentals through local backcountry shops can arranged.
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, the 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 break mid-day for a slope side lunch. 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.
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.
Q: How do I get in and out of the helicopter?
A: At the end of each run, the guide will direct the guests to take off their skis and snowboards and place them in a designated area. The guide then directs the guests where to gather and drop down to take a knee to await the incoming helicopter. At that point, the helicopter is brought in and lands near the guests and equipment. Once the helicopter is settled, the guide will open the passenger door and direct the guests to load in to the helicopter and put on their seat belts. The guide loads the equipment. Once everyone is in the helicopter and the equipment is loaded, the guide closes the passenger door and loads in the front seat of the helicopter. The helicopter takes off and proceeds to the top of the next run. The helicopter lands and settles on the top. Once the guide gives the ok, guests can remove their seat belts and exit the helicopter. Guests gather next to the helicopter while the guide unloads the equipment. The guests secure the equipment so it does not blow away once the helicopter takes off. Once the equipment is unloaded and all the doors have been closed, the guide will signal to the helicopter that it is clear to take off. Once the helicopter takes off and is clear of the area, guests can stand up and start to put on their gear for their next decent.