Frequently Asked Questions…
Why ski with BOV?
BOV is Alaska’s premier mechanized ski guide operation comprised of veteran guides who pioneered the range, industry professionals, and some of the best pilots and terrain in Alaska. Along with unsurpassed, classic Alaskan style lodging at Robe Lake Lodge. BOV has quickly become the go-to operation in Valdez, the Chugach, and Alaska overall by first time and experienced heli skiers and professional film companies.
Here at BOV, we want to give you the best overall heli skiing experience possible. We have a great program built around Hobbs hours that allows you to see where your money is being spent. Our prices are set to be realistic. We build in down days for our packages, because the weather is unpredictable. You can always buy more Hobbs time if you hit the jackpot on the weather, and fly more Hobbs than what was included in your package. We sell you a reasonable amount of blade time, instead of overselling you more than can be feasibly burned. Some operators have overpriced (expensive) remote lodging, or charge you for other things you may not use like snowcat skiing. BOV is a Valdez Alaska local family owned company. BOV also has the largest selection of additional activities and down day options over any other operator in Alaska. If you wish to purchase options such as snowcat skiing, rest assured, with BOV’s largest snowcat skiing operation in North America, stretching from tidewater Valdez to mile 45 inland, we have access to a variety of terrain and snowpacks to suit any age or ability. We don’t make promises that we can’t keep, and we aim to set the highest standard for professionalism in the industry. Plus, we love to get our customers to the best snow and terrain in the Chugach.
Can and Do you ski the same terrain as other operators?
All Alaskan Heli Operations hold permits for both State land (DNR) and Federal (BLM) managed lands. Although we all basically have the permits to ski in the same places…the amount of land is HUGE, and you very rarely see another operation’s group during your day.
What kind of experience do you and your guides have?
The owners and operators of BOV have been working in the heliski industry for nearly 10 years covering all aspects of the operation. Our guide team is comprised of a variety of experienced guides from all over the world. One of our guides is a true Valdez heli ski pioneer with over 30 years Chugach experience, another has split his time guiding in Japan and Valdez for the last 10 years, another guides private ski mountaineering expeditions on some of the most sought after peaks world wide, and another has made Valdez home for the past 12 years.
Why do you charge by the Hobbs hour?
Our Hobbs pricing structure makes us different from other operators, but it also makes the most sense. All Alaskan heli operators have to pay for their helicopters based on Hobbs, so why not use the same structure for the skiers/riders that are using the Hobbs? This allows you to know where you stand at any time. Other operators tally vertical feet or count runs, but something to keep in mind with vertical foot or run guarantees is that they can be tallied in a way to benefit the operator and not the customer. For example, on a vertical foot guarantee, you may ski long mellow glacier run-outs to bulk up your total, maybe not what you want to pay for when you go heli-skiing. Similarly, on a run guarantee, you may ski very short runs, or they may count the top part of the run separate from the run-out, essentially counting two runs on one descent. In contrast, with Hobbs time, you are paying for the helicopter when it is climbing, flying to/from a destination, or stabilizing on a landing zone. Essentially, whatever you ski down, you have to pay to fly up. In this way, you can see exactly where your money is being spent.
For experienced heli skiers, it’s also possible to help make decisions on how and where your Hobbs time is spent. For example, flying to unridden peaks, or where the weather is better, or lapping classics close to home.
When is the best time of the season to come?
Anytime of our operating season is really the best time of the year to be in Valdez. The best answer for this question would be, whenever you have the most time to get away and spend some time skiing. A 3 or 5 day getaway is great, but we really recommend a 7 day trip if at all possible.
How many runs can you get per hour?
A range of 6-10 runs with our B3 AStar, with an average of 8
If we don’t have four people, how do you partner us up?
Obviously it’s best when guests come with at least a group of four, but in the instance where we are tasked with pairing skiers/snowboarders to form full groups, we do our best to use the info that you give us on your reservation form to build like ability groups. Generally after the first run or two, your guide will be able to evaluate the group dynamics and abilities and make changes in the field if needed (accordingly). Please be as accurate and honest as possible when rating your experience and ability levels.
Do I need to be an expert to ski in Alaska or with BOV?
No. The terrain is vast and we can find something for all ability levels. We do recommend being a strong or advanced intermediate skier/rider with experience in variable snow conditions.
How far is airport from the Lodge and Base?
The lodge is perfectly situated halfway between our heli pad at our Keystone Village at the base of Thompson Pass. The airport is 6 miles from the Lodge, which is 10 miles from our base.
Can we fly right from the lodge?
We have and can, but most often it makes sense to drive 10 minutes and save that 0.1 or 0.2 for an extra run by flying out of our Keystone Village as most our terrain is that direction.
Is transportation provided?
BOV provides complimentary transportation once you have arrived in Valdez. This includes any and all transportation to/from the Lodge, airport, town, Keystone Village and Thompson Pass, and any other activities you choose to do.
Why Valdez vs. Haines, Girdwood, Juneau?
Valdez and the SE Chugach surrounding Thompson Pass offers hands down the largest chunk of land and permitted ski terrain in Alaska. While Valdez may be home to more operators than other locations, this doesn’t come without good reason. Valdez and the surrounding Chugach offer the most stable snowpack and widest variety of terrain of anywhere in Alaska. Despite multiple operators claiming Valdez as their home, very rarely is another operator seen when in the field. The terrain here is vast and stacked with thousands of runs. Locations like Girdwood and Juneau have far less terrain and see more rain in general. Haines has become increasingly regulated over the past few years and each and every year, more and more terrain is deemed un-skiable, limiting the amount of variability and sheer size of the ski area. Valdez also has the shortest flight distances to the ski terrain since Valdez and Thompson Pass are located smack dab in the middle of the terrain.
Do you provide airbags?
We provide complimentary BCA Float Airbags at no additional charge for all our package clients. If you have your own, you’re welcome to bring it along and we can get your canister re-filled in Valdez. Several brands of bags are available to rent here in Valdez.
Can I bring a non-skiing partner?
Yes! Their stay with you in your room is absolutely free! Meals and any activities they may choose to do would be an additional cost.
Can you accommodate special dietary needs?
Our Private Chef is here for you and only you. If you have special dietary restrictions or requests, please let us know in advance. There will be a place on your reservation form for listing this.
Is it better to drive or fly from Anchorage?
Both ways have their advantages. Flying into Valdez is the easiest, but if you wish to explore on your own, the 5 hour drive from Anchorage to Valdez is beautiful as well. You either fly over the mountains you have traveled to ski or drive up and around them.
Do you have or provide rental gear and/or skis /snowboards?
We have both ski and snowboard gear available for rent. All safety gear including airbags are free of charge and included in all packages.