Alaska Backcountry Adventures bills itself as the original Alaskan heli operation. While the roots of Alaskan heli skiing are as wild as the gold rush, ABA’s 20 years in Valdez give credence to the claim.
ABA operates out of a small cluster of cabins at the top of Thompson Pass, which is about a 30-minute drive from Valdez. Guests have the option of staying in Valdez and shuttling to ABA’s base each morning or living the guide experience by renting a cabin at the base area. The low-key operation keeps prices relatively affordable and offers incredible flexibility. Skiers and riders can buy anything from a single run to a week’s heli time. There is no minimum stay or package, a highly unusual setup for helicopter skiing.
ABA’s base facilities now offer great food and rustic lodging to supplement their world class skiing. Thompson Pass is the birthplace of Alaskan heli skiing, and ABA’s guides have been there since Day One. This season ABA is expanding their terrain to open endless opportunities for new and return clients. Flights to the ski zone are incredibly short, which keeps prices down, and the descents are leg-destroying long. For those looking for an experience that’s all about the maximum ski experience, ABA is a perfect choice.
If You Go:
Travel: ABA is accessed by flying into Anchorage's airport. The drive from Anchorage to Valdez takes approximately six hours. There is also a daily flight available from Anchorage to Valdez.
Basic Package: Three out of five day Flex Pass. The Flex Pass guarantees you a seat on the bird while building in down days for rest and if the helicopter is unable to fly due to weather.
Years in Biz: 23 years
Size of Tenure: Over one million acres
Snowfall: Over 550 inches
Size of Group: Four skiers and one guide per helicopter
Guarantee: Six runs. If you don't receive six runs, you will be given a credit for the following season.
How they Charge: A Full Day (six runs) of Heli Skiing at ABA goes for $875.