Black Ops Valdez Offers the Best Skiing in the World with the Most Experienced Guides

Steven Agar | | Industry NewsIndustry News
black ops, black ops valdez, alaska, chugach, heli-skiing, experienced, guides
Unparalleled heli-skiing experience. Credit: BOV

Brought to you by Black Ops Valdez

If you’ve ever dreamed of heli-skiing, no crowds, no lift lines and bottomless untracked powder every run on some of the most beautiful terrain on earth, then look no further than Black Ops Valdez.

black ops, black ops valdez, alaska, chugach, heli-skiing, experienced, guides
The best skiing in the world. Credit: BOV

Located in the middle of the eastern Chugach Mountains surrounding Valdez and Thompson Pass, Black Ops Valdez offer over 2,500 square miles of mountains and glaciated terrain, ranging from mellow to extreme.

Combined with over 1000” of annual snowfall they provide unparalleled Alaskan Style Experiences.

Not only do they offer heli-skiing, but also snowcat skiing, sled-skiing, and snowmobile & snowcat tours.

black ops, black ops valdez, alaska, chugach, heli-skiing, experienced, guides
Snowcat tours also available. Credit: BOV

Snowcat skiing is available from half a dozen operating areas, spread from Valdez to the interior side of Thompson Pass, giving you access to the largest permitted snowcat skiing area in the U.S.

On a snowmobile, you can experience the area like no one else, and travel to zones to ski and board where only the experienced guides, who live and work here all winter long, can take you.

They recently added a boat to their fleet, so you can heli-ski from aboard your very own luxurious, private yacht.

black ops, black ops valdez, alaska, chugach, heli-skiing, experienced, guides
The spectacular Robe Lake Lodge. Credit: Robe Lake Lodge

Although the operation has only been in business since 2009, owners Josh and Tabatha Swierk have been living and guiding in the area since 2004.

They built the spectacular Robe Lake Lodge, one of the newest and most luxurious accommodations in Valdez, in 2008, and have offered snowcat skiing since 2010.

Soon after that, they added heli-skiing to the roster. The surrounding mountains are perfect for skiing and snowboarding and the heli-ski runs average between 3,000 and 5,000 feet.

black ops, black ops valdez, alaska, chugach, heli-skiing, experienced, guides
The most highly trained, highly skilled, experienced guides in the business. Credit: BOV

But it’s their guides, and the experience they bring, that sets Black Ops Valdez apart from other, longer-established operations.

They have a team of highly-skilled, highly trained and the most experienced and veteran heli-skiing guides in the business.

Black Ops Valdez want you to have the best, and safest, experience possible and their guides have more experience and true first descents than other ops out there.

black ops, black ops valdez, alaska, chugach, heli-skiing, experienced, guides, pontoon peak
Pontoon Peak. Credit: TGR

Jerry Hance is one of the original heli-ski guides in Alaska. He has been in Alaska since 1992, where he began guiding for Mike Cozad out of Tsaina Lodge, the birthplace of the Alaskan freeskiing scene, before any organized heli-skiing operations (VHSG began operations the following year). He is credited with (alongside Steve Schumm) the first descent of Pontoon Peak. Check them out discussing what lead up to the descent, over a beer, with TGR.

In the early 90’s Valdez experienced a golden age of ski exploration where everything was a first descent and riders scrambled to see which peak they could check off next. Jerry (together with Steve Schumm and Doug Coombs) can claim many first descents in the area, but it is Pontoon Peak, one of the ‘Big 5’ in the Chugach, that he is most proud of.

Steep and deep at Black Ops Valdez Heli. Credit: Black Ops Valdez

Steve Schumm has been a heli-guide since the mid-’80s, and in Alaska since 1991. Both Steve and Jerry were responsible for guiding Warren Miller’s film crew around Alaska whilst they filmed the legendary freeskiing couple Doug and Emily Coombs (who opened up VHSG).

black ops, black ops valdez, alaska, chugach, heli-skiing, experienced, guides
Fresh powder and untracked lines all day long. Credit: BOV

All guides hold US Avalanche II or III certifications or Canadian Level II certifications, have WFR, OEC, WEMT, EMT or other medical certifications, have been trained in rope skills and crevasse rescue, and are familiar with safely traveling in mountainous and glaciated terrain.

All guides are lead or senior guides who will have you skiing fresh tracks and untouched runs throughout the day. For heli-skiing, four guides accompany a maximum of sixteen clients.

With all the guides, you can safely say they have the skills, training, and experience to provide you with the best day of skiing or riding in your life.

Top off your heli experience with the finest lodging available in Valdez, Robe Lake Lodge. Overlooking Robe Lake, between Valdez and Thompson Pass, it is perfectly located for flying a variety of terrain and offers gourmet dinners featuring Alaskan style cuisine.

Enjoy the hot tub or sauna cabin after the best day of skiing in your life. This is unlike anything else here… a true Alaskan Experience!


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