Photos: Will Wissman
|Terrain Accessed||200,000 acres|
|Annual Snowfall||600 inches|
|Lodging on Site||Yes|
|Single Heli Drops||Yes|
|Heli/Cat Types||Helis: A Star B-2 | Cats: PistenBully|
|Maximum Vertical||5,000 vertical feet|
|Closest Airport||HNS, 3.5 miles|
There are plenty of places to go heli-skiing but there’s only one Haines. Immortalized in ski films for the last decade-plus, the terrain surrounding this southeast Alaska town is unlike that of any other zone you will ever go to. You’ve barely buckled into the heli when you crest the first ridge on the eastern edge of the Chilkat Range and instantly feel like you’re a thousand miles from civilization, deep in a steep-skiing paradise. The sorts of lines you recall drooling over in your favorite ski movies aren’t hard to spot: Beautiful spines, steep couloirs and deep Alaskan pow are all around you, and you’re about to be the star of your own motion picture.
The quick and easy access to this pow-shredding mecca is one of the major bonuses to skiing with SEABA. This not only refers to the distance between town and the airport (less than 10 minutes), where the choppers are stationed, but also from lift-off to landing zone. “We don’t do a lot of flying to terrain which preserves your Hobbs,” says Sunny Sundberg, founder of SEABA, referring to the measure of time the aircraft is in use. “Our peaks and valleys are also a lot closer together than some other places which increases both efficiency and safety, and allows for more skiing.” The highway out of town parallels the mountain range and beyond the Haines airport SEABA maintains two additional heli pads up the road; these are useful for when they want to fly to terrain that’s farther north, further preserving your precious Hobbs time and maximizing your skiing opportunities.
Back in town the action is centered around the Fort Seward Lodge. The Fort, as it’s affectionately known, serves as home base for SEABA, with pleasant guest rooms, a dining hall for nightly feasts and a saloon for après ski drinks as well as late-night dance parties when the mood strikes [read: always]. Those who are looking for a more custom experience can book the Rainbow Country Lodge, just outside of town. This six-bedroom, three-bathroom house on the water comes with a private chef for you and your friends—up to eight total. Whether you want a private retreat or a social getaway, SEABA’s got you covered.