Lake Tahoe Launches Its First Heli-skiing Operation

  • Bill Fink

Pacific Crest Guides in partnership with HeliTahoe is launching Pacific Crest Heli-Guides: Lake Tahoe, Nevada’s first helicopter-ski operation.  Skiers and snowboarders will have access to more than 100,000 acres of privately held land—more than four times the combined terrain of every ski resort around Lake Tahoe. 

“We’re really excited about bringing people to runs that have never been skied before,” said Dave “Happy” Rintala, owner/operator of Pacific Crest Heli-Guides.  “We’ll be exploring new terrain, even naming the runs.”  Rintala brings 18 years of experience as a helicopter-ski guide in Alaska and operational knowledge as owner of Alaska Backcountry Adventures for the past eight years.  Pacific Crest ski guides will be pulled from Rintala’s Alaska company and will also include locals who have been taking patrons on Pacific Crest’s backcountry snowcat tours around Lake Tahoe for the past nine years. 

Trips start at $899, which buys 1.2 hours of helicopter time, enough for at least 20,000 vertical feet of skiing, a good 10 runs and rides.  Four skiers or snowboarders will share a helicopter and a guide for their trip, with a maximum of 16 people traveling per day.  Based on clients’ desires, the ski runs can be focused on short and steep or long and winding, enabling skiers to achieve their goal of maximizing their vertical or the variety of runs. Season runs from December 15 to March 15. (888.792.9222, www.pacificcrestheliguides.com)

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