The Ultimate Skier’s Guide to Twitter

Are you new to Twitter? Does the term ‘tweet’ sound foreign to you? Twitter is a great resource to stay up to date with all your favorite ski resorts, ski companies, pro skiers and film companies in one convenient place. The following is a massive list of ski related twitter accounts to follow.

Utah Ski Resorts

  • @SnowbirdSki
  • @TheCanyons
  • @Brighton_Resort
  • @Deer_Valley/@skideervalley
  • @skisolitude
  • @PCski
  • @SundanceResort
  • @Snowbasinresort
  • @PowMow
  • @myAltaUT
  • @SkiEaglePoint

Other Ski Resorts — Canada

  • @WhistlerBlckcmb
  • @SkiLouise
  • @MontTremblant
  • @SkiFernie
  • @grousemountain
  • @SunPeaksResort
  • @KickingHorseMtn
  • @revelstokemtn
  • @MountWashington
  • @BlueMtnResort

Wyoming/Idaho/Montana

  • @jhski
  • @Grand_Targhee
  • @bigskyresort
  • @SunValleyResort
  • @BOGUSBASIN
  • @BridgerBowl

Colorado

  • @breckenridgemtn
  • @KeystoneMtn
  • @Arapahoe_Basin
  • @SilvertonMtn
  • @SkiPowderhorn
  • @Telluride
  • @skisteamboat
  • @CopperMtn
  • @WinterPark
  • @AspenSnowmass
  • @beavercreekmtn
  • @skicrestedbutte
  • @WolfCreekSki2
  • @EldoraMtnResort
  • @MonarchMountain
  • @EchoMountain

California/Nevada/New Mexico

  • @skiheavenly
  • @skialpine
  • @MammothMountain
  • @SquawValley
  • @NorthstarTahoe
  • @Sierra_at_Tahoe
  • @KirkwoodMtn
  • @MtRoseSkiTahoe
  • @skihomewood
  • @sugarbowl1939
  • @Bear_Mountain
  • @mthigh
  • @TaoSkiValley/@SkiTaos
  • @RedRiverSkiArea
  • @JuneMountain

Washington/Oregon

  • @StevensPass
  • @CrystalMt
  • @mtbakerski
  • @mtbachelor
  • @skibowl
  • @mthoodmeadows
  • @mtspokane

East

  • @skicataloochee
  • @jaypeaksnow
  • @mountsnow
  • @StoweMtResort
  • @KillingtonMtn
  • @SkiMadRiverGlen
  • @SugarloafMaine
  • @okemomountain
  • @sundayriver
  • @Sugarbush_VT
  • @StrattonResort
  • @loonmtn
  • @skiwildcat
  • @snowshoemtn
  • @mountaincreek
  • @windhammountain
  • @ShawneePeakME
  • @skibluemountain
  • @BOYNE
  • @CROTCHED_MTN
  • @MountSunapee
  • @PicoMountain

Ski Companies

  • @SalomonSports/@Salomonfreeski
  • @SurfaceSkies
  • @4FRNT
  • @Skullcandy
  • @BlackDiamondUSA
  • @MarkerApparel
  • @rossignol_1907
  • @K2skis
  • @Orage89
  • @thenorthface
  • @empireattire
  • @countour_cam
  • @DalbelloSkiBoot
  • @marmotpro
  • @oakley
  • @GiroSportDesign
  • @volklskis
  • @armadaskis
  • @lineskis
  • @MomentSkis
  • @backcountrycom
  • @skilogik
  • @POCSports
  • @DropMFG
  • @SagaOuterwear
  • @hardwear
  • @Noricaskiing
  • @dpsskis
  • @libertyskis
  • @redbullski
  • @fulltiltboots
  • @GoPro_News
  • @dynastarskis
  • @HestraGloves
  • @RomeSDS
  • @burtonsnowboard
  • @Movementskis
  • @dragonalliance
  • @libtechnologies
  • @langeboots
  • @folsomskis
  • @patagonia
  • @voleurz
  • @SpyderAntidote
  • @Arcteryx
  • @dakinenews
  • @anonoptics
  • @electricvisual
  • @Obermeyer
  • @Spy_Optic
  • @epicplanks
  • @GarmontUSA
  • @Neff_Headwear
  • @rideonscott
  • @factionskis

Professional Skiers/Snowboarders

  • @tjschiller
  • @SteepSkiing (Chris Davenport)
  • @SimonDumont06
  • @MikeDski (Mike Douglas)
  • @sethmorrison1
  • @sarah_j_burke
  • @Shaun_White
  • @DRahlves (Daron Rahlves)
  • @Bobby_Brown1
  • @jenhudak
  • @MattMargetts
  • @TannerHall
  • @GRETEGIRL
  • @KeriHerman
  • @codytownsend
  • @lindseyvonn
  • @leannepelosi
  • @ingridbackstrom
  • @mike_riddle
  • @NicholasMartini
  • @ChrisAnthonyski
  • @jonnymoseley
  • @Erikroner
  • @peterolenick
  • @JossiWells
  • @SammyCskiing
  • @KristiLeskinen
  • @TWallisch
  • @akselsvindal
  • @kayaturski
  • @terje_haakonsen
  • @jameyparks
  • @GretchenBleiler
  • @jeremyjones
  • @MyshellParker
  • @scottylago
  • @louievito
  • @peetard (Peter Line)
  • @ChrisBenchetler
  • @byronjwells
  • @Dania_Assaly
  • @guskenworthy
  • @JuliaMancuso
  • @seanpettit
  • @tedligety
  • @colbyjameswest
  • @T_Payn (Trennon Paynter)
  • @WileyMiller
  • @TimDurtschi
  • @JonOlsson
  • @elysesaugstad
  • @lynseydyer
  • @KCDeane
  • @PepFujas
  • @aschlopy (Alex Schlopy)
  • @sageAdventure (Sage CattabrigaAlosa)
  • @ashleybattersby

Ski/Snowboard Production Companies

  • @Level1
  • @TetonGravity
  • @dendritestudios
  • @Poorboyzlive
  • @mspfilms
  • @MeatheadFilms
  • @InspiredMediaTV
  • @Standard_Films
  • @SweetgrassP
  • @WarrenMillerEnt

Powderbird FAQ: When is the best time of year to heli-ski?

When a first-time Powderbird guest calls our heliport, we typically go over the basics:

  • What is the day’s itinerary
  • How many runs can we expect to ski
  • How many vertical feet in a day of heli-skiing
  • What areas do we ski in from each base of operation
  • Do we need to provide our own safety equipment
  • What is the cost for a day of heli-skiing
  • Can we rent powder skis, and what are the benefits

The list goes on—as I’m sure you can imagine, first-time heli-skiers understandably have a lot of questions about the experience. Despite the multitude of questions our staff fields on a daily basis, one of the most common questions is:

When is the best time of the season to come heli-skiing in Utah?

This can be a difficult question to answer, due to the fact that next season’s weather is completely out of our control in July, or even in the midst of Powderbird’s season. Utah weather is notoriously unpredictable and changes drastically on a daily and weekly basis. However, based on our previous experience and historical snowfall averages, we can give you a pretty good picture of the winter in Utah.

Sidenote: Even during a “bad” or “dry” winter season, you can expect 500″ of the “greatest snow on Earth”. Not too shabby. During an amazing season, you’re looking at over 700″ of that dry fluffy stuff! For your reference, 2006-2007 was a historically weak ski season. Many locals will recall it as the worst in recent memory. Alta reported 390″ that winter.

Here’s a run down of Alta’s average monthly snowfall (the most accurate representation of our backcountry snowfall):

As you can hopefully see from this chart, we are blessed with a ton of snow each winter month Utah, and it also tends to vary which month is the most snow heavy. According to Alta’s calculations, over the course of 31 seasons, Utah’s snowfall averages a water density of 8.55%, with the driest snow falling in February (7.55% on average). Likewise, the largest quantity of ‘snow on ground’ can be found in February and March, with 104″ and 122″ respectively. Early season we may not be able to access every ski route in our arsenal due to insufficient snow coverage and other potentially dangerous obstacles.

Alta’s chart also depicts Utah’s Wasatch front receiving high early and late season snow totals. Budget conscious travelers can often save some money by visiting Utah in early January or throughout March, by securing “low-season” rates.

A beautiful April powder day at Alta Ski Resort (4.14.2011)

As a heads up, Sundance Film Festival skyrockets the cost of lodging in Park City (and beyond) during the last two weeks in January. The 2012 Sundance Film Festival will take place January 19-29, 2012.

If you have any questions about booking, please don’t hesitate to call (801.742.2800) or e-mail (info@powderbird.com) us. We are also available to answer any questions on Facebook and Twitter.

Heli Skiing Tips: Getting Ready for Your First Trip

Are you new to heli skiing? It may be hard to determine whether or not you are ready to take the next step in your skiing career. Our website has some resources to help you determine if your skiing abilities are a good match for heli skiing.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. “My 16-year-old wants to go heli skiing. Is there an age limit?”

This is a very common concern. Many families travel to Utah for skiing vacations and want to experience heli skiing with the entire group. In short, there is no age limit for heli skiing at Powderbird. Skiing ability, fitness level, and previous powder experience are far more important than age. As long as your teenager (or your grandfather) meets the ability requirements, you’re good to go!

Heli skiing with the kids

2. “I’m from the East Coast and I’ve never been skiing in Utah. Can I still try heli skiing?”

Although we recommend skiing at a Utah resort, or a similar resort in the Western United States, it is not necessarily a dealbreaker. We encourage skiers and boarders to visit a resort out West because everyone who has been to Utah (or many Colorado resorts) can attest that not all ski resorts are created equal. A black diamond at your home resort may be very different than a black diamond at Snowbird or Alta. Our terrain is based off of the best the Wasatch Range has to offer, and we want to make sure that you’re not getting in over your head. If you’re on the fence, try a day or two at the resort before making the final call on heli skiing.

Early Season Skiing

3. “I don’t have a lot of powder experience, but I’ve been skiing for 20+ years. Do you think I’ll be OK?”

This is a tough question to answer. Everyone’s experience level is different, depending on the skiing conditions they are most frequently exposed to. The key is be honest when assessing your own experience. If you live in a place that receives little to no powder, you are in for a surprise the first time you find yourself in 15″ of blower Utah powder. Powder is extremely different than hard-packed snow. It can be very tiring, and more aggressive physical conditioning is required to sustain a full day of powder skiing. If you have skied powder a few times, didn’t struggle too much, and were able to ski nearly an entire run without stopping or falling, then you should remember those skills the next time you are in Utah.

Skiing in Utah's light and dry powder

4. “This trip is for my husband’s 60th birthday. We’re not as extreme or aggressive as we used to be. Do you think the terrain will be too challenging?”

Our terrain can range from steep chutes to wide open bowls and gullies. We group skiers together based on their previous experience, their overall skiing ability, and also their expectations for their heli skiing day. Some Powderbirds are only interested in the steepest and deepest conditions. Some prefer the more mellow open bowls. Some love trees. We have nearly 100,000 acres of skiable terrain, we are sure to have something that meets your needs. If you are looking for a very specific experience, a private group is a great option. This provides you and your group with your own private guides and gives you the ability to choose the exact type of terrain you wish to explore. Essentially, it’s a customized heli skiing experience.

Beautiful open bowl, typical Powderbird terrain

Some tips that will make the transition to heli skiing easier:

1. Get powder skis. Or at least rent them when you are on vacation in Utah during a snow storm and for your heli skiing day. They will help immensely; they are designed to make skiing in powder more effortless.

2. If you are at all worried about your powder skills, take a ski lesson before signing up with Powderbird. There are many talented instructors at our various resorts that will be happy to help fine tune your powder skills and prepare you for heli skiing.

3. Exercise regularly during the weeks and months leading up to your Utah heli skiing vacation. This will only enhance your experience. You’ll feel confident and strong, and won’t have to worry about your leg muscles burning out on you.

I realize that every case is unique. If you have any questions that weren’t covered here or on our website, give us a call and we’ll be happy to help steer you in the right direction.

Do you have what it takes to heli ski?

As winter in Utah is winding down, most people are ready to leave the cold weather behind—but many are already looking forward to next season’s adventures! Powderbird is already getting many inquiries for 2011-2012 heli skiing trips. For first time heli skiers, often the most common question is: “Can we really do this?”. In most cases, the answer is ‘yes’. Many people fear they are not capable enough skiers to handle heli skiing. The truth is, most accomplished skiers and snowboarders have the necessary skills to heli ski. Wasatch Powderbird Guides tries to match your ability to our broad mix of terrain, from gentle ridges and bowls to the steep and deep. Perfect style and technical expertise are not pre-requisites, but the ability to control your speed in a variety of snow conditions is critical.

It is absolutely necessary that you are proficient at:

  • kick-turning
  • traversing
  • side-slipping
  • snow-plowing

These skills will help you handle anything we might encounter.

Family heli skiing in Japan

Heli skiing can be fun for the whole family

Tips to make sure you are ready for heli skiing

  1. Some previous powder experience is a must. Even if you are an expert on the groomers, you will not enjoy heli skiing if you’ve never been off piste.
  2. Do yourself a favor, try some powder skis. The new technology available (wider underfoot, rockered tip and tail, etc.) will make heli skiing far more enjoyable! Don’t just buy a pair though, demo some first, or better yet rent a pair from us if you aren’t sure about your current equipment.
  3. Come to Utah in reasonable physical condition. Once we leave the heliport, we are in the backcountry for 6-7 big runs. You must be able to ski or snowboard a full day at a moderate pace to keep up with our crew.
  4. It’s ok to fall, but you should be able to get up quickly and not let your mistakes get in your head.
  5. Don’t over or under estimate your skills. Be honest when you make your reservation, and we’ll make sure you get the best experience possible!

If you have any questions about your ability level, feel free to take our Heli Ability Questionnaire, located at the bottom of our ability guidelines on our web site. And always feel free to call or e-mail us with any specific questions. Remember, you don’t have to be expert skier to experience the thrill of heli skiing, but you do have to do a strong resort skier. Our goal is to make this the greatest skiing adventure of your life, which begins with matching you and your other groups members with skiers and riders of a comparable ability level.

Powderbird Wraps 38th Season

Hello everyone! It’s official. The birds have left the building. We have completed operations for the 2010-2011 season at Powderbird—and it was a great year! We have had the privilege and pleasure to ski with many new faces, as well as old friends, out of Snowbird Ski Resort in Little Cottonwood Canyon, UT and Canyons Resort in Park City, UT. Utah experienced an abundant snowpack this season (currently over 650″ of snowfall to date), making for consistently excellent backcountry conditions. We were able to fly approximately 50% of our season, slightly lower than the previous season’s count. Merchandise sales were up, likely due to increased merchandise options for men and women. Powderbird just wrapped a week-long trip in Greenland as well! Photos from Greenland will be posted shortly. Here are some photos to remember the amazing 2010-2011 season in Utah.

Helicopter preparing to touch down in beautiful Wasatch

Snowboarder enjoying a bluebird heli day

OrangeStar picking up Powderbird guides and skiers

Powderbird skiers picking their perfect line

Powderbird heli in flight

Beautiful day in the Wasatch with Powderbird

Thanks to everyone for another amazing season! We hope to see all our favorite skiers and boarders again next season, along with some new faces. It’s never too early to book your next Powderbird heli skiing adventure. We’re now taking reservations for 2011-2012, book early to reserve your spot!

Check out this Powderbird story recently printed in the Salt Lake Tribune: Heli Skiing Business Boosted by Park City Flights.

Pictures and Video from February 2011

Guest Submitted Photographs

As always, it has been an interesting winter in Utah. After a few weeks of high pressure, we are now being pounded by back to back storms. This past weekend Snowbird and Alta were blessed with three feet of the “greatest snow on Earth”. With great snow comes the downside of heli-skiing: lingering clouds and high winds often prevent us from flying immediately after a huge storm. Conditions for tomorrow look good, but the weather in Utah can change minute by minute. Hoping for a break in the clouds!

If you haven’t been heli-skiing with Powderbird before, here’s a taste of what you can expect from a day in the backcountry. Check out our Facebook page for videos posted by recent Powderbird guests. There’s still plenty of powder left to share! If you haven’t made it out yet, consider visiting us in March. Looks like it’s going to be a wet spring out here.

Powderbird heli out in the field

Tim Martin's lines in the backcountry

Top of the Wasatch with Powderbird skiers

Our orange heli making up a pick-up in the field

Getting to (and around) Utah

Getting to Utah—Easier than Ever
Utah is truly the most accessible and convenient ski destination. Once you arrive at the Salt Lake International Airport, you are within a one-hour drive of 11 (yes, 11) renowned ski resorts. And you’re only 10 minutes from downtown Salt Lake City, and 40 minutes from Park City. All you have to do is choose your own adventure. Powderbird conveniently operates in Little Cottonwood Canyon and Park City, offering resort backup skiing on no fly days at Alta and Snowbird Ski Resort, as well as the Canyons Resort in Park City, which is also minutes away from Park City Mountain Resort and Deer Valley. That leaves you with a whole lot of options.

Utah Resorts Map

Utah’s Ski Resorts:
Snowbird Ski Resort
Canyons Resort
Alta
Brighton
Solitude Mountain Resort
Snowbasin Resort
Powder Mountain
Deer Valley
Park City Mountain Resort
Sundance
Eagle Point
Wolf Mountain

Flights to Utah
Salt Lake City International Airport is easy to negotiate, has a friendly and helpful staff, and extremely fast check-in, security and baggage pick-up. JetBlue, Southwest, Delta and American all offer a wide variety of reasonably priced flights into Salt Lake City. Check out Kayak to see for yourself.

Once You’ve Arrived
Getting around Utah is easy. If you purchase a Super Pass through Visit Salt Lake a Ski Bus pass is included! Check out the UTA winter Ski Bus route and schedule at www.rideuta.com. Other options include airport transfers through Canyon Transportation directly to Snowbird, Alta, Brighton, Solitude or Park City, which runs for $68 round trip per person. Renting a car or SUV is also a very convenient way to navigate Salt Lake City and its surrounding resorts. There are tons of options available directly from the airport. Shop around for the best rates and service.

Many people don’t know how easy—and affordable—it is to get to Salt Lake City and Park City. Next time you’re planning a ski vacation consider Utah. There are many amazing ski resorts, hotels, bars, restaurants, and heli-skiing all within one hour of the airport. Spend less time traveling and more time enjoying your vacation!

Tips for Planning a Utah Heli Trip

We get calls every day from skiers and snowboarders, young and old, families, couples and large groups of friends, who are trying to plan a Utah vacation around a day or two of heli-skiing or boarding with Powderbird. As most people familiar with heli-skiing already know, even if you make a reservation, it is not a guarantee that you will be able to complete your heli day. Utah has extremely unpredictable weather patterns that often result in day after day of snow during a storm cycle. Here is the best advice I can give to make the most of your trip to Utah (whether you are able to heli-ski or not), and also how to increase your chances of experiencing an unforgettable day with Wasatch Powderbird Guides.

Choose your Lodging and Resort Wisely
Make a specific checklist of what you are looking for in a ski resort and a hotel/condo. The great thing about planning a ski vacation to Utah is the variety of resorts and lodging options—all within reasonable driving distance from the Salt Lake International Airport. Your lodging options range from:

1. Rent a car and stay in downtown Salt Lake City. This gives you the opportunity to hit up more than one of Utah’s unique resorts during your vacation. You can also ditch the car and try Utah’s public transportation system. The UTA Ski Bus is available from many pickup locations for $7 round trip to Alta/Snowbird or Brighton/Solitude resorts. For schedules visit www.rideuta.com. The upside to staying in Salt Lake is possibly saving money on your hotel package. The downside is a further commute to the ski resorts.

2. You can also choose to stay at any of the properties offered by Alta Ski Resort and Snowbird Ski Resort, located in Little Cottonwood Canyon, a 45 minute drive from the airport.

High speed tram, Snowbird Ski Resort

Here you will have everything you need, along with ski-in, ski-out access to two of the country’s and most highly regarded and challenging ski resorts. The bonus of staying at a hotel in Little Cottonwood Canyon is your close proximity to Powderbird’s heliport—located on the Alta bypass road, nestled in between the two resorts. Both resorts offer a variety of terrain, lodging and restaurants choices, but they each have their own unique feeling environment and culture. My advice is to check their web sites and other reviews on the Internet to decide where you and your group will fit in best. The upside of staying in Little Cottonwood Canyon is the ease and convenience of sleeping, skiing, eating and heli-skiing within walking or shuttle distance.

3. If you are looking for a more high-end, full-service experience, you may want to consider staying in Park City. Powderbird now offers daily heli trips out of the Canyons Resort in beautiful Park City. The Canyons itself has a wide selection of high-end properties (with 4-star restaurants, spa services, and a helpful concierge team on site), many within walking distance of the gondola and brand new heated bubble chair.

Sundial Lodge at Canyons Resort

If you are planning to go heli-skiing with Powderbird, but are also looking for more activities outside of skiing, Park City is the way to go. Downtown Park City and historic Main Street are a short bus ride (free!) or drive from the Canyons and offer a variety of nightlife options. Park City Mountain Resort and Deer Valley are also nearby, which offer an entirely different resort feel, along with many additional lodging, dining and skiing terrain options.

Do your research. Ski vacations are not inexpensive! You want to make the most of this trip. Read about all the different activities each resort has to offer—ski school, shopping, restaurants & bars, nighttime events, spa services, childcare, etc. The options are endless. And now Powderbird offers our guests the convenience of staying any of these places during their Utah ski & heli vacations!

Allow Room for Unfavorable Weather Conditions
Like I said before, high winds and low visibility often leave our helicopters grounded, sometimes for a few days in a row. Allow some flexibility when planning your trip. If you are planning to spend four or five days in Utah, I suggest one (or two) day of warm-up at any of Utah’s wonderful resorts, then book your heli trip on the 2nd or 3rd day, allowing a few days afterward if we need to reschedule your trip. Of course the trip is 100% refundable if we are grounded for poor weather, but spare yourself the disappointment and allow a few days of leeway around your scheduled heli trip. The more flexibility in your vacation, the better your chances of getting out in the heli. Also feel free to check the weather. Although is impossible to accurately predict more than 48 hours out, do a little research to see what Utah is expecting in terms of weather during your stay. Here is a good resource: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) .

Stay in Shape
Most people don’t understand how much physical strength and endurance are required to complete a full day of heli-skiing or boarding—feel great about it instead of beat up and exhausted when the day is finished. I understand that not everyone is lucky enough to live within such close access to ski resorts, like we are here in Utah, but there are other ways to stay in shape in the days and weeks leading up to the heli trip. Run, bike, life weights, do lunges and squats, take yoga—anything you can do will help to make you feel better throughout your ski vacation!

And don’t forget to relax and have fun when you get here! Good luck planning! If you have any other questions, please feel free to contact Wasatch Powderbird Guides at info@powderbird.com or 801-742-2800.