Last week, I had the opportunity to heliski deep in the heart of Argentine Patagonia with the newly created Patagonia Heliski. There have been very few heliski days ever in this region. Everything we touched, was a first descent.
As soon as we launched off the paddock of the farmstead, it was clear that this would be a heli experience like nowhere else on Earth. Range upon range of jagged mountains lay before us, behind us, and to either side. Thick, Lenga tree forests swept up the valleys in every direction. I was gawking, gaping, drooling, and shaking my head while trying to wrap my mind head around the expansiveness of the terrain. Co-owner, Justin Lozier, nodded and told me that I’d only seen about .01% of the terrain they have access to…
What I saw stunned me. What my mind’s eye saw, knowing there was 1.3 million more acres to see, almost frightened me. It became clear that there’s essentially no end to their terrain, nor to the imminent adventures their near future holds. Envy, jealousy, and wonder invaded my thoughts. I knew that I must return.
Patagonia Heliski’s tenure is mind-bogglingly large and the terrain they access is infinitely varied and impressive. These guys lay claim to over 1.3 million acres of untouched wilderness. With this much terrain, first descents are standard – adventure is commonplace. Their terrain is wild and varied allowing access to steep, technical descents, couloirs, huge alpine bowls, mellow glacier runs, tree skiing, more.
The entire experience was thrilling, rustic, cultural, exotic.
A 90-minute drive through some of the most incredible scenery anywhere to a farmstead where we were served hot drinks and breakfast started the day out right. The ‘estancia’ (farmstead) Patagonia Heliski is based in near El Bolson is cozy, rustic, and real. The entire staff was exceedingly friendly and helpful.
The helicopter flights were some of the best flight-sees I’ve ever been on anywhere. The scenery here will stun even the most jaded adventurer.
The two runs we heliskied were thrilling. One run through gorgeous, complex, bubbling, expert terrain and the other down a big, wide open, Alaska-style gully that held great, smokey, recrystallized powder.
Back at the farmstead, we shared a huge ‘asado’ (bbq), beers, wine, stories, stoke, and many a laugh.
If you’re looking for an out-of-the-box heliski experience in one of the last frontiers on Earth, this is the place.
The Patagonian frontier is huge – nearly limitless – rugged, untamed, unknown, very very skiable, and Patagonia Heliski holds the keys to the kingdom.
Patagonia Heliski Details:
Patagonia Heliski runs its operation out of three different bases, spread out between Bariloche and Esquel, Argentina. One base is located on an old farmstead, called Estancia Mallin Cume [this is where I launched from], and the other two bases are remote fishing lodges on Lago Cholila and Lago Esperanza. Each base is equipped with lodging accommodations and its own landing strip for receiving small aircraft. Even though the bases are located within 2 hours of international airports, this can be a good option for those who wish to skip the drive. Another option is to have the helicopter meet you at the Bariloche or Esquel airports and launch straight into the mountains.The most exciting thing about Patagonia Heliski is the ski terrain, over 2100 square miles (5400 km² or 1.34 million acres) of untouched wilderness. The majority of the peaks in the tenure have never been visited by humans. Opportunities for first descents are endless, as guests explore the vast Patagonian frontier. From steep, technical descents, couloirs, and huge alpine bowls, to mellow glacier runs and tree skiing, there is something for skiers and riders of all abilities.Safety is the top priority, and Patagonia Heliski follows the Heliskiing Safety & Operating Guidelines created by Heliski US (see the website for more safety information).
Contact Patagonia Heliski: PatagoniaHeliski.com