Pacific Crest Heli-Guides offer Lake Tahoe Heliski Guides
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Pacific Crest Heli-Guides in partnership with HeliTahoe has announced plans to offer helicopter skiing and snowboarding in Lake Tahoe for the upcoming 2010-11 winter season. The operation will be based out of the Truckee Airport and access more than 100,000 acres of privately owned lands located along the spine of the Pacific Crest. By comparison, the combined total skiable acreage at all 14 ski resorts surrounding Lake Tahoe is less than 25,000 acres.
Besides a few small heliskiing enterprises in the early 1970’s, this will be the first full-fledged helicopter skiing operation launched in the Lake Tahoe region or in the entirety of the Sierra Nevada for that matter. The ambitious undertaking will include a number of year-round recreational options accessed by helicopter such as heli sight-seeing tour, mountain biking, heli fishing and helicopter hiking.
“To say this is a dream come true is an understatement. More accurately it is a culmination of my lifelong passion for skiing powder, my extensive experience within the ski industry and good timing,” said Dave Rintala, owner/operator of Pacific Crest Heli-Guides. “I can’t wait for the season to start given the prospect of skiing first descents on a daily basis, naming new runs and exploring fresh terrain with clients.”
The tours will be limited to a maximum of 16 guests per day with a ratio of one guide per four guests. The cost structure will be based upon flight time rather than vertical feet allowing like-minded guests to customize their experience based on their budget, their desire to ski/ride as much vertical as possible and/or their desire to explore a variety of different zones. Full day trips will start at $899 per person.
The biggest variable typically affecting the success of a helicopter skiing operation is weather. Pacific Crest Heli-Guides, however, plans to dovetail its daily operations with its existing snowcat operation to ensure clients who book in advance are guaranteed a day of backcountry skiing or snowboarding even during storm cycles. Pacific Crest Snowcats has been in business for nine seasons and operates on 3,000 acres of reserved terrain located between Squaw Valley USA and Sugar Bowl Resort. California’s only backcountry-based snowcat operation, Pacific Crest Snowcats boasts some of the best expert terrain accessible via snowcat in North America.
In fact, last season Lake Tahoe reported more than 600 inches of total snowfall which resulted in the region reporting its second busiest season on record. Additionally, backcountry heli skiing and snowboarding continues to be one of the fastest growing segments of the ski industry which has resulted in a return to the roots of the sport with skiers and snowboarders now placing a premium on untracked powder and the solace of being in the mountains.
In addition to founding Pacific Crest Heli-Guides, Dave “Happy” Rintala has been operating Pacific Crest Snowcats for close to a decade and is also one of the owner/operators of Alaska Backcountry Adventures, the original heliskiing operation located atop Thompson Pass near Valdez, AK.
In addition to the existing Lake Tahoe ski resorts, both Pacific Crest Snowcats and Pacific Crest Heli-Guides view their unique offerings as products that complement the variety of world-class skiing and snowboarding options already available in Lake Tahoe.
“The addition of a helicopter skiing operation to the region allows Lake Tahoe to position itself as a complete winter destination on par with locations such as Whistler, Jackson Hole, Utah and Colorado,” said Dave Rintala, company founder. “Pacific Crest Heli-Guides looks forward to being part of the ultimate Lake Tahoe skiing or snowboarding experience.”
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