The San Juan Mountains surrounding Telluride offer some of the most beautiful and inspiring ski terrain on the planet. If you dream of skiing amazing and untracked terrain like this, but aren’t sure your skills are up to it, please consider participating in our three-day heli-camp.
On all three days, you’ll ski with one of Telluride’s most experienced instructors. The first two days of the camp will be with your instructor on selected slopes within the Telluride Ski Area to develop skills and experience in conditions and terrain similar to what you’ll ski from the helicopter. On the third day, you’ll jump on the helicopter with your coach and a guide from Helitrax and head out into the San Juan backcountry.
Helitrax, Colorado’s most experienced heli-ski company, flies right out of the base area of the ski area. Their pristine terrain includes expansive alpine bowls, gladed slopes, and classic mountain couloirs. This wide variety of terrain allows your guide and instructor to choose the perfect run to suit your ability level, from upper intermediate to expert, on any particular day. View the following YouTube clip for a glimpse of the terrain available to you with Helitrax.
With a minimum and maximum of 3 participants required for each date, you can pick two of your favorite friends or family members and create a unique experience to share and enjoy for a lifetime.
To participate in a Heli-Camp, you should be comfortable skiing all snow conditions (groomed and un-groomed) on a typical blue run in any western US resort, and have the physical endurance to ski hard for all three days. Please see the following YouTube video for a depiction of the required ski skills (your skiing ability should land in the “7+” section of the below video), and the attached document for a suggested conditioning program.
For more information, call the Telluride Ski School at (970) 239-7061.
Evening before Day 1:
Welcome reception, 5:30 – 7pm.
Get to know your instructor and socialize with rest of the group. BootDoctor’s, one of America’s leading boot fitters and ski shops, will be on hand to review the latest equipment, and assess your selection and boot fit.
9 am – noon:
Play, drills, and ski time focused on staying centered over your feet in variable conditions and using ski design, instead of effort, to turn your skis and control speed. We’ll learn how to roll (tip) instead of pushing your skis onto edge, how to turn your legs beneath a stable upper body, and how to apply and adjust pressure along the length of your skis to move from turn to turn.
Noon – 1 pm:
On mountain lunch, self-pay
1 - 4pm:
Tipping and turning your skis to control your speed in a variety of conditions.
9 am – noon:
Continued experience with understandings and movements from day 1, with additional work on being patient at the start of each turn in thicker snow, stem entries, and hop turns. Specific techniques for negotiating backcountry terrain and conditions will covered including controlled side slips and traverses, ascending and descending sidesteps, recovering from a fall—including getting up and putting skis on in deep snow and on steep slopes—and walking without skis in unconsolidated snow.
1 - 4 pm:
Mileage to develop comfort and control in variable terrain and snow with less effort.
Heli Skiing in the San Juans with Helitrax! (times subject to change due to weather conditions)
8:30 am: Meet with Helitrax at Peaks Hotel (located on the west side of the Mountain Village base area)
-Helitrax supplies skis, guiding, lunch, and all snacks
2:30 - 4:00 pm: Return to Peaks Hotel with Helitrax, followed by après on the deck!
Important Note: flying and skiing in the backcountry is dependent on weather and snow conditions, so day 2 of the heli-camp is designated as an alternative day to fly with Helitrax, depending on space available. If we heli-ski on the second day, participants will ski with their instructors on the ski area for the third day. If conditions prevent us from flying on the second and third day, you and your instructor will ski together on the lifts for all three days and focus on skills, tips and mileage to build your skills and confidence in variable terrain and conditions. If this is the case, the heli-skiing portion of your camp fee will be refunded to you, minus a reduced charge for your third lift ticket if you choose the camp with the lift tickets option.
Steve Hindman came to Telluride in 1976 to ski bum only to find no snow and no lifts open. This launched him into the backcountry, where he caught the initial wave of the telemark revolution. Between then and 2010, he lived in Bellingham, WA, traipsing about snowy mountains, meadows, and trails on all types of skis. He is a 12-year veteran of the PSIA (Professional Ski Instructors of America) telemark and cross-country demo team and led the adult ski and snowboard school at Stevens Pass in Washington State for five years. Since 2010, he has shared his love of skiing as one of the top alpine ski instructors at Telluride. In the summer, he guides bicycle trips for Lizard Head Cycling Guides in Ophir, CO and is studying to become a personal trainer.
"My brother and I made the trip out to Telluride late last season to improve our backcountry technique and train for a heli skiing excursion in the San Juan range. It was our first visit to the mountain, but we struck gold with our backcountry instructor, Steve Hindman. Steve led us through an increasingly challenging curricula that resulted in immediate improvements in our capabilities and confidence. He tailored his advice and guidance to our individual strengths and weaknesses, and pushed us through terrain that was both fun and challenging. Despite the rigor of instruction, Steve's friendly demeanor and positive disposition made the instruction the most fun I have ever had on a mountain. All told, Steve has earned his place as our instructor of choice -- we've already begun booking our second session with him this season. If you're looking for the best that Telluride has to offer, look no further than Steve Hindman."
-- Jason Woosley