H2O Guides Trip Policies
Reservation & Cancellation Policy
A 50% deposit is required to reserve after June 1, 2017, and the full balance is required by December 1, 2017. If we have not received final payment on December 1, 2017 then the reservation may be forfeited and no deposit will be returned. If reserving after December 1, 2017 then full payment is required to reserve.
If you must cancel your reservation, we require notice in writing. If we receive cancellation notice more than six months before the skiing date, your balance will be refunded less a $300.00 administration fee per seat and $500.00 per seat for expeditions or privates; you will be responsible for any non-refundable travel insurance fees.
If we receive cancellation notice less than six months prior to the skiing date, the entire balance is non-refundable unless you are able to fill your seat. For cancellations made before your arrival due to medical emergencies, you will receive a 100% credit less a $300 administration fee per seat with valid documentation (e.g. Doctor’s note). This credit is valid through the following two seasons.
Guests are responsible for skiing or snowboarding on all reserved days. No refunds will be given for poor fitness or skiing or snowboarding ability, injury, illness, equipment malfunction, behavior that endangers anyone, late arrival, early departure or any other reason. If you must leave the field early for ANY reason including injury or illness you will be responsible for your seat and any additional helicopter and ambulance charges.
H2O Guides is not responsible for any lost bags or equipment during your travels.
Guests are responsible for the cost of any malfunctions or damage that may occur with their personal equipment.
Guests are responsible for being physically prepared for heli-skiing and heli-boarding in Alaska’s Chugach Range which can be a physically demanding, extreme and strenuous environment. H2O Guides reserves the right to cancel operations or refuse service to anyone for any reason at anytime.
Blade Time Policy
We reserved a seat in the helicopter for you, therefore you are responsible for your seat on all flyable days. If you decide not to fly for any reason whatsoever, you forfeit the blade time used during that day or days.
Blade time is measured by the Hobbs meter onboard the helicopter. The Hobbs meter begins tracking blade time when the pilot raises the collective lever. Raising the collective alters the pitch of the rotor blades simultaneously (collectively) and causes the helicopter to climb — this is when the Hobbs meter starts tracking your blade time. You do not incur blade time if the helicopter is on a Landing Zone or Pickup Zone with the collective down or during fueling on the ground at a staging area even when the blades are spinning. Blade time used for fuel runs and ferries to and from the daily regions of operations are split evenly by all groups.
H2O Guides offers expedition-style Alaska heli-skiing that's focused on premium ski descents and accessing very remote, wild regions of the Chugach Mountains including terrain that is not shared with any Alaska operators. Due to the extreme nature of Alaska weather, periods of poor snow stability, and numerous other factors associated with flight operations in rugged backcountry mountains, we do not guarantee an arbitrary number of daily runs since it can vary greatly from day to day. Nor do we ski a standard circuit within a small region simply to rack up as many runs as possible. Some days you'll ski more runs and some days less. Historically it's been possible to get 14 runs or more in a day, but that is rare especially if we must fly deeper to access better snow and weather conditions. However, we'll ski as many runs as possible every day, and vertical feet is always unlimited.
With H2O Guides you can potentially access multiple regions in the southeastern Chugach National Forest where we are the sole holder of a special use permit for helicopter skiing. These regions are off limits to all other operators. Our blade time program gives you the freedom to go deep into the coveted Chugach National Forest terrain with more favorable microclimates and better snow stability to attain mind blowing descents among massive glaciation and the deepest snow in the entire Chugach. This is the Holy Grail of skiing and snowboarding. We are the only operator with access to this amount and variety of terrain that is not shared with other heli-skiing operations. No other heli-ski operator can honestly claim this.
We don't need to go deep every day. There's amazing terrain only minutes away from our base at Valdez Pioneer Field. The beauty of being based in Valdez is that we're completely surrounded by towering snowy peaks with excellent ski runs, and most of the surrounding terrain is untouched by other operators who tend to stick around the Thompson Pass corridor. As weather and snow conditions dictate we'll fly progressively deeper to access dozens of interconnected regions with hundreds upon hundreds of runs available. We're on a daily mission to find the best powder snow and terrain even when we must incur longer flight times. Please be aware that we will burn more blade time on days when we fly into the most remote regions - and you’ll be skiing or riding mountains that few humans will ever see firsthand.
H2O Guides also has multiple strategic permitted staging areas with mobile fueling operations to reduce ferry times for fuel runs and getting our groups into the field. We are a mechanized powder assault team that can easily move to another staging area to get closer to the best snow, weather and snow stability conditions. Our method streamlines operations and maximizes your blade time while providing additional backup safety nets and is unique among all Alaska operators.
Additional Discounted Blade Time
You came to Alaska to ski the world’s very best snow and terrain. When conditions are prime, it’s time to get after it. Each additional hour of blade time above the original 4 hours during your reserved week is discounted at $1,200 per person. This covers our minimum operating costs to help keep you flying and skiing. You only pay for what you fly. You are not obligated to purchase additional blade time above the original 4 hours, but we recommend having reserve funds budgeted in case of epic conditions to truly maximize your Alaska heli-skiing trip. This is the “North Shore” of Alaska heli-skiing, and we would love for you to keep skiing at a discounted rate when it’s prime time.
Weather/Snow Conditions/Mechanical Policy
If flight operations are cancelled due to weather, unsafe avalanche or snow conditions, or a mechanical, it will be considered a “down day.” Leftover blade time from your original 4 hours that results from inclement weather, unsafe avalanche or snow conditions, or a mechanical, will be available to use for the season’s duration (based on availability), and you must pay for all additional blade time used on top of your leftover blade time. Since H2O must make large financial commitments far in advance of your trip, no blade time credits will given for subsequent seasons, and there will be no cash refunds for leftover blade time due to weather, unsafe avalanche or snow conditions, or a mechanical.
Due to pre-booked reservations that are made well in advance, no credit or refund of the lodging portion of the trip will be given if you leave early during your reserved week. The entire week has been reserved for you to give you the most amount of time possible to attain all of your heli-skiing in case of poor weather and/or unsafe snow conditions. Since you have already planned to be in Valdez the entire week, if you do use all of your original four hours of blade time in less than seven days, and weather is conducive, you are able to stay and keep heli-skiing at a greatly discounted rate as described above in Additional Discounted Blade Time.