Guided Ski Mountaineering in Valdez, Alaska

Join Joe Stock in the World Venue for Big Mountain Free Skiing

Starting down 1,500 feet of 45-degree powder. Valdez is a dramatic town in the Chugach Mountains on the edge of Prince William Sound. The economy is oil-based, but during the spring months the city comes alive with skiers from around the world seeking the legendary steep powder.

Each day we will commute to Thompson Pass to ski. Options range from 4,000-foot runs from summits, long backcountry linkups, multi-day base camp and heli touring. Most of the touring in the Valdez area is on glaciers, but the glaciers are relatively benign and no previous glacier travel experience is required.

Over the years I have spent months skiing and leading guided trips in the Valdez and Thompson Pass area. These trips range from easy day tours, legendary runs such as the Cherry Couloir and 9,000-foot day tours. In 2005 Andrew Wexler and I completed the 185-mile Chugach Crusher, a tour that started in Anchorage and finished 18 days later in Valdez.

See Valdez Posts

Skill Level

  • Advanced alpine skiing ability
  • Previous backcountry skiing experience
  • Endurance for consecutive full days in the mountains
  • Recent avalanche companion rescue practice. We will have assessment and review before our tour. 

Dates

December through late April. March and April have the ski best conditions. 

Sample Itinerary (six days in the backcountry)

Day 0: Pre-trip meeting for trip overview, gear check and last minute purchases. 

Day 1: Drive to Valdez. About six hours. 

Day 2: Ski Thompson Pass. Stay in Valdez or optional camping. 

Day 3: Ski Thompson Pass. Stay in Valdez or optional camping. 

Day 4: Ski Thompson Pass. Stay in Valdez or optional camping. 

Day 5: Ski Thompson Pass. Stay in Valdez or optional camping. 

Day 6: Ski Thompson Pass. Stay in Valdez or optional camping. 

Day 7: Ski Thompson Pass, drive to Anchorage. 

2015 Cost 

Includes

  • AMGA/IFMGA Mountain Guide Joe Stock. Up to eight clients. A second guide may be added. 
  • Six nights lodging at Anna's B&B in Valdez
  • Breakfast and dinner in Valdez 
  • Navigation, first aid and repair kits
  • Emergency shelter and communication
  • Rope
  • Bookings in Valdez

Does Not Include

  • Travel to Alaska and to Valdez 
  • Guide transport to Valdez. The guide(s) will either ride with you, or fly (additional $400). 
  • Travel within Alaska  
  • Backcountry food 
  • Alcoholic beverages 
  • Personal gear. See Alaska Backcountry Ski Gear List
  • Rescue and trip insurance. See Booking for details. 

Extras (ask for custom itinerary and cost)

  • Glacier camping. 
  • Heli skiing: ~$1,100 per person per day. 
  • Heli drop: $500-$1,000 for one lift with four skier seats. Ask about availability. 
  • Snowmachine taxi: $150 per person per ride. Ask about availability. 

With our host Anna Wilson at her bed and breakfast in Valdez. 

 

Max Kaufman skiing the lower glacier on Girls Mountain (6,134') on December 27. Read a post from this trip. Girls is a prize descent above Thompson Pass that begins with an optional 50-degree shot to smooth glacier and rolling hummocks. 

 

Dylan Taylor climbing Stairway to access a run near Diamond Peak.

 

Skiing toward the 45-degree powder face on Girls Mountain (6,134').

 

Heading to base camp on the Hoodoo Glacier after skiing three summits.

 

A one-lift heli bump is a great way to access the deep backcountry for a remote tour. 

 

Erik Leidecker at the head of the Worthington Glacier after touring from the Hoodoo Glacier. 

 

Last tracks of the day.

 

Cracked Ice: A Valdez backcountry favorite above Thompson Pass.