In the past Valdez was referred to as Alaska's Switzerland due to it's amazing mountains. As one of the snowiest places in North America it's no surprise Valdez has the skiing/snowboarding to match or surpass the Swiss Alps. Numerous backcountry and extreme ski and snowboard videos have been filmed in Valdez. Pro's still pop in to Valdez to shake up their season. For a number of years Valdez hosted the world extreme ski challenge. Today skiing and snowboarding is achieved in various methods including; cat skiing, heli-skiing, snowmobile assisted runs, and even snow kiting.
Guided backcountry skiing/boarding are offered by Black Ops Valdez, Valdez Heli-Ski Guides, and Alaska Snowboard Guides.
Tok Air Service offers ski plane drop offs and glacier ski camps with no guide services.
View the most popular ski runs on our Valdez outdoors map.
The start of skiing in Valdez as it is known today can be traced back to the 1987 when Gakona pilot Chuck McMahan would come down the Richardson and fly skiers, including Michael Cozad, to some peaks on Thompson Pass. Together the purchased the Tsaina Lodge with the main intent of supporting skiing. 1989 they made the first helicopter-assisted skiing. In April of 1991 Cozad with support began the World Extreme Skiing Championship. Doug Coombs was one of the original participants and would end up founding Valdez Heli-Ski Guides in 1994. Todd and Steve Jones would guide and ride out of Tsaina Lodge. Eventually they would convince brother Jeremy out to check it out. Todd and Steve bought a film camera and formed Teton Gravity Research. Jeremy would leave the world of competitive snowboarding and embark on pushing the boundries of big mountain free ride snowboarding.