Valdez, Alaska Snow & Weather
Valdez Receives More Snow Than Almost Any Place on Earth
Thompson pass is the snowiest place in Alaska receiving 551.5 inches (1,401 cm) on average annually. Due to its close proximity to the ocean temperatures in Valdez are relatively mild compared to inland Alaska. The temperature gradient between the warm ocean currents and the colder upper mountain air is what generates these huge snowfall amounts. Average daily temperatures during the heli season are about 20 degrees (-7 C). This can vary and temperatures can range from as warm as 40 (4 C) to as cold as 0 degrees (-18 C). The maritime location of our skiing and riding terrain adds just enough additional moisture to the snowpack layers. This gives us an increase stability and still giving us incredible bottomless powder skiing conditions. You can ride terrain and aspects in the Chugach that in any other region in the world would be too dangerous.
The snowstorms can last up to a few days in Valdez which is why we strongly encourage you to come for a at least a week if not more. This duration will allow for a weather window.
Storm days are a reality of Alaska heli skiing and safety is our number one concern. When the weather, or the risk of weather closing in is inevitable we cannot fly a helicopter and land on ridge lines with no point of reference and ski in low light safely. The FAA mandates that nearly all rotorcraft are operated under VFR (Visual Flight Rules).
On days we don’t fly, we recommend our guests take a rest day and even get a massage so they are fresh as possible when the weather breaks. We can arrange for other activities such as ice climbing, skeet shooting or snowmobile riding. Because the timberline is located only 1,500 ft (about 450m) above sea level, there is very little ski terrain in Valdez with sufficient vegetation, rocks or trees for visual reference. Take it from us, vertigo is not fun and getting lost in an invisible terrain trap is even worse.
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