To compliment our long-running cat-skiing program we also provide a heli-skiing service. The helicopter area is separate and distinct from our cat-skiing terrain and offers a larger array of powder fields and tree runs; it's a much more significant free-skiing experience. If you like the rugged and powder-filled terrain of the operations up across the border in British Columbia, you'll like ours tucked into the Idaho Panhandle, a 10-minute flight north of Schweitzer.
Sandpoint Airport / Granite Aviation is our FBO and Cavanaugh Bay Resort on Priest Lake is our lunch and refueling station. We normally fly away at 9:30am and return by 2:30pm. It's our experience that most groups get 5 runs.
This will be our 3rd season working with South Coast Helicopters and their Chief Pilot and Director of Operations. Both of these pilots have ample seasons flying with us, CPG, Sun Valley and others. SCH will fly a Airbus A-Star helicopter servicing 2 groups up to 4 along with 1 guide each.
Prior to booking, please read a brief letter from Ken as we would like to kindly emphasize our policies.
The tour price excludes 6 % Idaho state tax; online and direct reservations incure a 6 % booking fee.
After booking, you may request to change your reservation time or date outside of 30 days, though we assess an administrative fee of $40 for each change. Please visit Policies for our full cancellation policy.
- an unlimited run session based 1 hour flight time
- licensed guides *
- BCA Tracker S avalanche transceiver
- backpack, shovel, probe
- two-way radio
- training in aircraft safety, snow safety and companion rescue, and related equipment
- pocket snacks and water
- extra time for additional runs available at $1,000 per 20 minutes
No rentals are available in the town of Sandpoint, but you might consider the following shops. You must pick-up your rentals the day before your tour because on the morning of your tour, there will not be enough time between the opening of the shop and the tour meeting time to travel from the shop to the airport.
Our southern section of the Selkirks is fantastic and consists of everything a heli skier looks for from cornice-topped, alpine cirque bowls and huge powder fields (developed by the historic Sundance Wildfire of 1967) to narrow rock-lined chutes and—of course—the famous Selkirk snowghost-covered runs from treeline. Runs range in length from 800 ft up to 2,200 ft.
We draw moisture from the north and south, so we’re usually in the path of storm systems all season long. That produces over 300 in during an average season with a stable snowpack depth averaging about 120 in that holds from January through March. The snowpack, a cross between maritime and continental, bonds up pretty consistently till season’s end.
Meet at your chosen heliport for guide introductions and safety and weather briefings. We typically meet at Sandpoint Airport (Google Maps).
|–||Weigh-in of people and equipment for flight planning. To facilitate this, please arrive with at least the bottom-half of your person dressed snow-ready so you can weigh-in with your boots on and don’t have to redress. The weigh-in also includes all other clothing, backpack, skis or snowboard, and anything else you pack for the day.|
|–||Aircraft familiarization and take-off|
When you return to either heliport, there are a number of great restaurants just minutes away to celebrate your day with après drinks and fine cuisine.
Let’s be real. We’re not high-elevation desert here: we’re temperate rain forest, so flying conditions are not as consistent as they are for our southern compatriots. So to nearly guarantee that you’ll be riding pow, we’ve added a special feature: Optionally book a discounted (15 %) cat skiing seat along with your heli reservation. Possible scenarios with this back-up are:
- If the helicopter can fly, then the value of the snowcat seat ($390) becomes credit toward any future tour.
- If the helicopter cannot fly and you go cat skiing instead, the value of the helicopter seat ($1,600) becomes credit toward any future tour.
- If both helicopter and snowcat must be garaged for the day, the helicopter value ($1,600) becomes credit toward any future tour, and the value of the cat seat ($390) becomes a credit or refund (your choice).