46 Years of Utah Heli-Skiing

Largest Ski Terrain Access in Utah

For 46 years, we have been traveling in Utah’s backcountry with skiers and snowboarders from around the world. Back in 1973, operating as Wasatch Powderbird Guides, we started our heli-skiing operations in the dirt parking lot of Alta Ski Resort. We had a single aircraft and a small group of individuals with big passions for adventure.

Utah to Greenland & Beyond

Powderbird is built on the idea of sharing our passion for the mountains

Today, the adventure lives on. Powderbird continues operations as the only permitted helicopter ski outfitter in Utah. We have expanded our operations to offer our guests two convenient facilities located at the base of Snowbird Resort and near Park City, Utah. We also have multiple high performance aircraft, a team of world-class guides and helicopter operations around the world. Whether you are interested in our world famous Utah operation, exploring the arctic mountains of Greenland or joining us on one of our discover destinations abroad; Powderbird has the team and the experience to make your powder dreams a reality.

Safety Focused

Powderbird makes safety the number one priority

All of our guests are provided safety equipment issued by Backcountry Access which includes an airbag pack, beacon, shovel, and probe. Each morning our guests are trained in the basics of avalanche safety and how to use their safety equipment. After orientation, our guides prepare for the day by picking appropriate runs based off of each groups ability level and current snow conditions.

Prior to the arrival of our guests, our guides and forecasters arrive early in the morning to discuss the current snowpack, avalanche conditions, and aviation considerations for each days adventure. When you climb aboard and head into the backcountry, you can be sure our team is there for you and will make every effort to ensure the best possible experience.

Helicopters & Pilots

Offering you a truly exceptional flying experience

One of the most exciting aspects of helicopter skiing will be your time riding in the helicopter. You’ll feel a visceral rush when the helicopter lifts off, accelerates and descends. Unmatched bird’s-eye views of mountain crags and upcoming runs will be yours right from your seat. Best of all, the helicopter is fast, enabling you to ski thousands of vertical feet in a single day.

Powderbird’s A-Star helicopters are equipped with a guide and a pilot seat upfront and 4 forward facing guest seats directly behind. A configuration that provides you with spectacular panoramic views. Our helicopters are specifically suited for winter mountain flying and when paired with an experienced mountain pilot, these machines offer a truly unique flying experience.

Get Ready to Ride

powderbird is here to answer your questions and ensure you are ready for a legendary Experience

You don’t have to be an expert skier or snowboarder to ride with us, but you do need an adequate skill set and fitness level to enjoy helicopter skiing. Our approach is to ensure that your experience is personal – we will answer your questions while discussing every aspect of the day in order to pick the appropriate terrain for you.

Guides

Meet Our World Class guide team
Spencer Storm
Director of Operations. Heli-Ski US Lead Guide

Growing up in Colorado, Storm spent his childhood skiing and climbing. He has lived his life in the mountains, spending the past twenty years living in Little Cottonwood Canyon working as a patrolman, forecaster, military weapons gunner, paramedic and guide. During this time he has worked as operations manager for multiple operations in Alaska, Colorado and Utah. With a focus on business and operations development, he spent five seasons guiding and working as operations manager for Valdez Heli-Ski Guides, at the same time co-founding and directing Snowbird Guides and Cloudveil Mountain Heli. Certifications include HSUS L3 Lead Guide, AAA certified Instructor, AAI Level 3, OEC Technician and Instructor, AAI Mountain Meteorology, Campbell Scientific Data Logger Programmer, as well as prior certifications as Paramedic(NREMT-P) and OEC Instructor Trainer. Spencer has gained vast national and international helicopter guiding experience across various mountain ranges over the past decade having led helicopter operations in Alaska’s Chugach mountains, yacht based expeditions in Greenland and of course guiding in the heart of the Wasatch, where he is Director of Operations for Powderbird.

Mike Kok
Meteorology Officer. Heli-Ski US Guide

If you want to run a great heli-skiing operation, you need great weather information. Every. Single. Day. Mike is a local meteorologist and our in-house weather expert. He has been helping us gather and analyze important weather data since 1990 when he joined Powderbird as a part-time guide. In 1995, Mike founded the Alta Weather Program to augment weather information and forecasting to support both Big and Little Cottonwood Canyons. The program has become a critical information source for the Utah Department of Transportation, the avalanche control crews for Snowbird and Alta, and of course, Powderbird. In the summer, Mike lives on the shores of Flathead Lake, Montana.

Matt Biddle
Storm Day Officer. Heli-Ski US Lead Guide

Matt is a Grand Canyon raft guide in the summer and a Powderbird guide in the winter. That's the guiding equivalent of playing Major League Baseball and Football in the same year. Matt loves guiding because he believes that showing people amazing places, that they may otherwise not access on their own, is an honorable way to make a living. And the lifestyle is a hell of a lot of fun.Born and raised in Virginia, Matt sought bigger mountains in Colorado. He went to the University of Colorado, then to Telluride and eventually found his way to Utah where he joined the Alta Ski Patrol. Matt is now at his current winter home here at Powderbird. Guests who ski with Matt always feel comfortable as soon as they meet him because he exudes guide ethos and confidence. Matt has figured out how to have the best of both worlds and is passionate about sharing his experience with others.

Spencer Wheatley
Heli-Ski US Lead Guide

Sure there's the 'New School'. But let's not forget that many of the pioneers in extreme and big-mountain skiing came out of the great ski racing programs around the west. Spencer rose from that tradition. He raced for the Ogden Valley Ski Foundation as a kid. Then it was to the University of Utah, where he studied, worked at Alta, and skied his way to a degree in Commercial Recreation & Tourism. Once graduating, it was off to Alaska where he became a helicopter ski guide and while there, won the 1999 World Extreme Skiing Championship.

Jenna Malone
Medical Officer. Heli-Ski US Guide

Jenna's curriculum vitae reads like the backcountry guiding equivalent of an Ivy League education. Originally from the banks of the Mohawk River in upstate New York, her outdoor resume began as a Jackson Hole Pro Patrol member. She has also trained and taught at the prestigious National Outdoor Leadership School and led trips for the bike tour operator Backroads traveling through the the U.S., Mexico and Europe. In addition, Jenna is a University of Utah-trained Physician Assistant and works in the neurosurgery and trauma centers at Intermountain Medical Center.Jenna leads the Outdoor Emergency Care instruction and medical training coordination for Powderbird. Last spring she spent 31 days on the West Buttress of Denali on the rescue patrol and she has made three humanitarian trips to Haiti with a volunteer surgical team. Being the super-prepared-bad-ass that she is, Jenna typically shows up early in the morning at our headquarters so she can review the early data, forecasts, and guest lists to prep for the day.

Scott Bedford
Director of Business Development. Heli-Ski US President

With one semester left to complete his college degree, Scott faced a very difficult life decision: He was offered a patrol job at Sun Valley. That's the ski patrolling equivalent of getting a seat on the Supreme Court. After an evening of deep contemplation at Whiskey Jacques, Scott drove south out of Ketchum, got his degree, and landed on Wall Street. Scott did pretty well, but still had a love for the mountains and deep snow. So while he did his years in the financial services business, Scott also did years of heli and expedition skiing as a guest all over the world.In 2001, Scott joined up with Powderbird and progressed from guest to investor to guide. Scott has been spending winters in Utah for more than a decade. He continues to ski and guide with passion and love for industry.

Logan Cookler
Snow Safety Director. Heli-Ski US Lead Guide

Logan began skiing as soon as he could walk. His parents both worked at Eldora Mountain Resort just outside of Nederland, Colorado. His father was a ski patroller and snow safety director and his mother taught skiing. Logan literally grew up at the daycare of the resort with lifelong friends from his high school ski team. Ski guiding is in Logan's blood and it has taken him around the world. His career includes patrolling, guiding and avalanche forecasting at Solitude, Mt Shasta, Rainier, and Denali.Logan holds a Level 3 Avalanche Certification from the American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education (AIARE), is a certified Outdoor Emergency Care Provider (OEC) and Wilderness First Responder. In addition to his detailed knowledge in snow science and outdoor medicine, he is also an Certified Ski Guide with the American Mountain Guides Association. Logan lives in Big Cottonwood Canyon with his wife and son. In the off-season, he can be found hunting, fly-fishing, motorcycling, and planning his next surfing adventure.

Mike Morris
Explosives Officer. Heli-Ski US Lead Guide

No Powderbird guide has been higher on any mountain than our Mr. Morris. How high is that, you ask? In May 2002, Mike stood at 29,029 feet on the summit of Everest. He'll tell you the view of Lhotse is sublime, but that he would have rather skipped the Khumbu Icefall. Born in the coastal town of Newport Beach, Mike moved to the Wasatch Front at the age of three, and proceeded to quickly become familiar with his surrounding. Mike disappeared into the hills skiing and climbing everything he could find, and when he hit legal age, he headed out of town.

Patrick Reddish
Heli-Ski US Guide

Patrick started skiing at the age of 3 years old in Alta, UT. Patrick has his Level 3 training with AAI and is also an OEC wilderness first responder. In addition to being a guide for Powderbird, Reddish guides for a snowcat operation in the Western Unitas and is a member of the snow safety team at Snowbird. In his free time, Reddish guides in South America, Nepal, and Africa between film jobs. He works as a cameraman for action sports shoots with RedBull Media House, Freeride Entertainment and others. He is currently enjoying watching his teenage son cut his teeth as a big mountain freeskier.

Tom Carruthers
Head Guide. Heli-Ski US Lead Guide

After growing up in the beautiful Adirondack mountains of Upstate, New York, Tom decided to change gears and move to Little Cottonwood Canyon at the young age of 18. Working for Alta Ski Lifts, he quickly found a deeper passion for skiing and decided to run with it. Tom has been a member of our team, along with Snowbird Ski Patrol and Snow Safety for over 25 years now. Holding a Level 1, 2 and 3 avalanche certification, EMT and OEC certifications, on top of numerous trips to ski the steep lines of Alaska, Tom has an extensive list of experience in the backcountry. He is in charge of our guiding operations, making sure the day runs smoothly for everyone.Tom resides in Cottonwood Heights with his wife, Linda, and daughter, Jess. He enjoys road biking, hiking, and climbing in the offseason. When not working in the winter, you can find him free skiing at the local resorts and passing his big mountain skills down to his daughter.

Nate Rothe
Operations Manager. Heli-Ski US Lead Guide

Nate's ski career began at the ripe age of 5 years old while growing up in the mountains of Steamboat Springs, CO. Before landing in Utah with Powderbird, he worked as a mountain guide in the Andes of Argentina guiding trips on Aconcagua. He also worked part time in snow safety at Snowbird where he assisted with avalanche control.In the summers, Nate works as a mountain bike and river guide. When he's not working, Nate enjoys rock climbing. Nate also carries credentials as a Wilderness First Responder and holds a Level 2 Avalanche Certification from American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education (AIARE). He is also looking forward to teaching his son how to ski.

Kevin O'Rourke
Vice President. Heli-Ski US Lead Guide

Kevin developed his passion for skiing as a young child, spending nearly every free day during the winter months on the slopes with his father and 4 siblings. After graduating from Siena College with a degree in economics, Kevin moved west in 1991. There he settled in Alta and began his career at Powderbird. Kevin developed his skill set as an apprentice at Powderbird and as a member of the Alta Ski Patrol. He now has over twenty years experience in the helicopter ski industry, mountain search and rescue operations, and avalanche mitigation.

Mike "Ole" Olson
Senior Guide. Heli-Ski US Lead Guide

Ole is a Senior Guide for Powderbird and has 30 years of experience heli-skiing and a member of the Alta Ski Patrol. You'd think that would make him one of the old men of the operation, but Ole has more spark and fire than even the youngest guides on the crew. Guiding in Utah isn't Ole's only job. He's been on descents in Alaska, Canada, Nepal, New Zealand, Greenland, Chile, Argentina and the volcanoes of the Pacific Northwest. He was a member of Expedition Inspiration, a climb for breast cancer on Aconcagua and a member of the 2002 American Expedition of Dhauligiri. He's been on three expeditions to Denali and numerous ascents of Rainier and other northwest volcanoes.Ole has also worked on film projects like The River Wild, Species, The History Channel, The Discovery Channel, National Geographic along with numerous ski and snowboard films and commercials. When he's not guiding, Ole enjoys spending time with his two daughters.

Wes Wylie
Medical Officer. Heli-Ski US Lead Guide

Wes talks about mountains. Wes talks about his favorite days in the mountains, his family, and his friends. Wes doesn't say much about Wes, so we are going to do that for him. Over his incredible career, Wes has gathered an impressive guiding and climbing resume that includes first descents in several Alaskan ranges dating back to the late 80s, numerous certificates and affiliations (CSGA, NSP Level III, Avalanche I and II) and is a Guide Member of the Heli-Ski U.S. Association.During the summer months, Wes is an Advanced Trauma and Life Support, Advanced Cardiac Life Support, Pediatric Life Support and OEC private practice physician. Saying Wes is a zen-master is an understatement. This lucky guide lives in Park City where he moonlights as a Ski Patroller at Deer Valley and spends time with his smart and beautiful wife and their three handsome sons.

Patrick McDermott
Snow Safety Officer. Heli-Ski US Guide

Patrick started with Powderbird Helicopter Skiing at the beginning of the 2015/16 season. He moved to Utah from Wyoming after spending 15 years skiing throughout the greater Teton area. During his time in Jackson, Patrick worked as a backcountry guide for the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, as well as a winter guide for Jackson Hole Mountain Guides. Patrick is originally from New England where he received a B.S. in Recreation Resource & Ski Resort Management from Lyndon State College, worked as a ski patroller at Burke Mt ski area in Vt. and long ago, as a ski instructor at Mt Southington in Ct. Patrick guides for Powderbird and in the early season is an instructor for the American Avalanche Institute. He's a professional member of the American Avalanche Association, has taken the AAI Level 3 Avalanche Course, the AMGA Ski Guide Course, has an OEC medical certification, is a guide member of Heli-Ski U.S.. Patrick also has a private pilots license and has commercial helicopter pilot training. In his down time, Patrick enjoys spending time with his family and as much time as he can in the mountains.

Powderbird Redefined

Redesigned Clubhouse & Hangar, New Adventures & great ways to bundle

At Powderbird we deliver legendary experiences, everyday. New for 2019-20 we have introduced the Flex Pass, which gives you all season access to heli-skiing, at the best rate possible. Looking for the single day experience? Great, our version of a "storm" day will have you skiing the most renowned chairlift accessible terrain and snow conditions in North America at Snowbird. Begin and unwind each day full of skiing at the newly remodeled Snowbird Heliport & Clubhouse.

Flex Pass

the all access heli-skiing season pass

Powderbird provides access to helicopter skiing on your terms. Our Flex Pass allows guest to purchase single day, and mutli-day helicopter skiing for a discounted rate. Even more, our Flex Pass gives you season long access to Powderbird's greatest perks.

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