Rotorhead Of The Year is awarded to…….

In the most recent edition of the Avalanche Review, a Valdez Heliski guide was discussing backcountry safety when he actually was quoted as saying this..(April 2016 pg. 34)

“Crowds are going to give us a problem that we don’t have a solution for. I for one don’t know how to ski safely in a situation where I don’t know if there are any people above or below me.”  

Seriously? Well maybe you and your fellow guides at Tsaina should clean your googles as your buzzing around the summits and landing above ski tourers and others public recreationalist. You could go elsewhere and not even debate safety to others. I find this statement laughable and easily award the 2016 Rotorhead Award of the Year to Valdez Heli-Ski Guides.

2nd – “Rain Gate” 2016 and Alaska Snowboard Guides … annual motorized “junk show” got rinsed.  Meanwhile locals unhappy with it all and produced large turnouts for DNR meetings in February and March to rein in the event along with submitting substantial written comments and survey forms. DNR is listening, but not the organizers.

Honorable Mention – Black Ops –  needs to create more space away from public recreationalists based on the kazillion acres of skiing you advertise.

Not Mentioned – Rondevous – H20, which is respect.

Tok Air – Good to see a ski plane available for dropping off tourers. This service has been monopolized by the heliski industry as they require you to have one of their guides which makes it unaffordable for most and… why fly in skinners to track up “our” terrain?

Tok Air does not require you to have a self-certified Chugach heliguide or a certified guide with your party. He can only shuttle one skier at a time, which could make for a long morning so solo or a single partner would be sweetest. This is a big thing for tourers in the future who actually know what they are doing, where they want to go. The price is right so I hope he returns next season. On the other hand, some screening and safety sessions with potential clients would be prudent as not everyone should be just dropped off in the Chugach. The potential for tourers to be stranded due to weather will increase compared to helisking which hovers nearby during the day for more “hand holding” if needed.