Alaska Fly-In Ski Base Camp Overview
Bush planes and untouched wilderness–the true Alaska ski experience
Because Alaska has few roads, bush planes are the primary access method to the deep backcountry. Using bush planes, and the most talented mountain pilots in Alaska, we'll fly into a remote mountain ski zone and establish a plush base camp surrounded with unknown mountains, glaciers and adventure. We'll have a pile of maps and a mountain of gear, ready to explore. After each day we'll return to our comfortable base camp to celebrate, eat and rest up for another day. If you're truly seeking adventure in Alaska, then the trip is always a success!
See posts from previous fly-in ski base camps.
The common Alaska mountain planes are the one-passenger Piper Super Cub, the four-passenger Dehavilland Beaver and the eight-passenger Dehavilland Turbo Otter. These planes have huge wing sizes for their weight, allowing short (down to 75-feet) landing and takeoff. They also have either skis, or wheel-skis allowing both snow and dry landings.
Using planes to establish a ski base camp we can take all the camp luxuries: thick mattresses, Coleman stoves, music, camp chairs, yummy food, tasty drink and extra warm layers. These comforts let us rest well, wait out storms and maximize skiing and exploring the surrounding terrain. Most fly-in ski terrain in Alaska is glaciated. Some of Alaska is heavily glaciated with huge crevasses such as Little Switzerland and the Knik Glacier, while other regions have relatively benign glaciers like the lower elevation of the Neacola Mountains. While higher, more glaciated terrain is dramatic, the crevasses can hinder ski options.
Below I've listed some fly-in options. These are just a few ideas selected from all of Alaska. One option is incoorporating a fly-in base camp with a Southcentral Alaska Ski Road Trip. Let's brainstorm ideas to suit your group's interest. Look through the options and give me a call.
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A) Meekin's Air Service Near Anchorage with several options. Three or more customers: $3,000 each.
B) Wrangell Saint Elias (Bagley Icefield) Nunatak skiing above North Amerca's largest glaciers. Three or more customers: $3,500 each.
C) Chigmit Mountains Icefields and volcanoes in the Auetian Range. Three or more customers: $4,000 each.
D) Neacola Mountains Alaska's most dramatic ski wilderness. Twelve days: $4,500 each.
E) Little Switzerland Glaciers and towers in the foothills of Denali. Four or more customers: $3,000 each.
- Advanced alpine skiing skills
- Endurance for consecutive full days in the mountains
- Previous winter camping experience is helpful, but not required
- Previous glacier travel experience is helpful, but not required
April and May have the deepest snow, best weather, more stable snow and warmer temperatures. March also works for lower elevations zones and June at higher elevations such as the Wrangell-Saint Elias Mountains.
See trip individual trips above. Remember, once in the backcountry you can't spend money. This makes your overall trip expenses less.
- IFMGA guide. Second guide added at five or more customers.
- Bush flights
- Ground transportation from Anchorage to airstrip and return to Anchorage
- All meals while on the mountain
- Cook kit (stoves, pots, fuel, cook tent)
- Group climbing gear (ropes, rack)
- Emergency shelter and communication
- Repair, first aid, navigation kits
Does Not Include
- Transport to Alaska
- Off mountain meals
- Hotels and restaurant meals during delays
- Personal gear. See Alaska Backcountry and Ski Mountaineering Gear List.
- Rescue insurance
- Trip insurance. See Booking for details.
The Air Taxi Caveat - Please Read and Understand
While air taxis add to the Alaska experience, they also add delays that are out of my control. I estimate 60% of the fly-in trips have some flight delay. Air taxi delays include, but are not limited to: mechanical delays, multi-day weather delays both on the flight in and flight out, scheduling complications and pilot complications. Of course my goal is to minimize these complications and maximize the skiing and success of the trip. Alaska requires flexibility. If you are flexible the rewards are huge.