Q. What is the difference between doing a charter trip and a package trip?
A. Charter trips are based on Hobbs hours while package trips are based on vertical feet skied. With a charter, you pay a premium price, therefore you can customize the trip that you want and we will be flexible to your schedule. If you are interested in a private trip, please contact the office at (907) 783-HELI.
Q. What is Hobbs time?
A. Hobbs time is ‘power on’ flight time (i.e. not idling time) and is measured in tenths of an hour (i.e. 6 minute increments). There is a Hobbs hour clock on the dashboard of the helicopter to keep track of the time.
Q. What is the benefit of a private chartered trip?
A. The Girdwood Private Charter trip has much more flexibility and can move to different zones depending on the weather conditions. Thus, if weather is an issue in one location, the group could be re-located (using the helicopter and van) to an area with clearer weather. It is a more exploratory trip and possibly offers activities other than skiing (i.e. surfing). The Remote Private Charter is often based out of Seward or Palmer. It does not include our Forest Service Tenure but offers flexibility in the State Land.
Q. For packages and day skiers, what is the normal daily vertical?
A. An average day in the helicopter will come to 16,000 to 18,000 vertical feet. For more information, please refer to CPG's heli-ski vertical policy.
Q. Am I obligated to go over 18,000 vertical feet should the day permit?
A. Once you hit the vertical feet guaranteed, your group can decide to continue skiing, or be done for the day.
Q. What if my group wants to keep skiing over 18,000 vertical feet?
A. No problem, it is $50 USD per 1,000 ft over that 18,000 vertical feet.
Q. How are we grouped?
A. We fly A-stars and we ski in groups of 4. We try to put you in groups of similar ski ability, based on the information you have filled out on your survey portion of the reservation form. This is why it is important to accurately fill out the reservation questionnaire.
Q. When can I book a single day of heli-skiing?
A. For booking an individual weekend day, you can book at anytime. Weekdays are available to book once we are within 30 days of the trip, if available. We offer 5-Day packages Monday-Friday.
Q. Do I have to jump out of the helicopter?
A. No one is allowed to jump out of the helicopter.
Q. Can a guest or guests fly home early during a full ski day?
A. Yes, it is possible but typically only in an emergency. There is an extraction fee if you do not come out on a fuel run.
Q. Do you offer insurance?
A. No. Guests should purchase their own insurance coverage. Usually guest travel insurance policies do not cover weather related curtailment of the heli-skiing program. We recommend looking into Travel Guard insurance or contacting your local travel agent.
Q. What is snowcat back-up?
A. Guests can pre-purchase snow cat back-up for $50 per day based on availability. This upfront cost would guarantee you a seat in a snowcat for every day of the trip. Therefore if we do not fly, you would go cat skiing. If you are a package guest, 7,000 vertical feet will be deducted from your total package vertical. If you are a day guest, you will be refunded the difference between a heli day and a snowcat day.
Q. How does the standby list work?
A. For snowcat, you will be called between 8am-9am on the day of the trip. It is completely dependent upon if we fly. Snowcat seats tend to open up on days that we fly. For heli guests, you will be contacted the day before as there is a mandatory safety briefing at 7:30am the day of the trip. Heli standby is decided based upon groupings, not your place on the list. (i.e. number of seats available and the ability of the group.)
Q. Where do I find the current conditions in your area?
A. You can find out information about weather and snowpack at Chugach National Forest Avalanche Information Center.
Q. Are there changes permitted in the waiver that must be signed in order to participate?
A. There are absolutely no changes permitted in the waiver as it is a legal document constructed by our lawyers and required by our insurance company.
Q. Are there risks associated with heli-skiing?
A. Yes, there are a number of inherent risks. Our guides are constantly monitoring snow and weather conditions. Safety in the field is out first priority.
Q. What is CPG's experience in the heli-skiing industry?
A. We have been in operation since 1997 and are the most experienced heli operator in Alaska with an un-paralleled track record.