Helicopter Skiing for Nothing

Helicopter Skiing for Nothing

Forty years ago I had the opportunity to go helicopter skiing for nothing. At the time I was managing a sporting goods store at what is now Park City Mountain Resort and we had an employee who had been a helicopter pilot in Vietnam. He worked in the ski repair shop but also was a pilot for Hoskins Helicopter Service on his off days when he flew skiers to the backcountry for some true powder skiing. This was before Wasatch Powderbird Guides or Park City Powder Cats existed.
 
If I remember correctly, it was an operational rule that for every four hours of flight time the pilot had to fly one hour of maintenance. During that hour of maintenance flying, our employee would pick us up at the top of the gondola in Park City and fly us to the top of other peaks in the area. Jupiter Peak, (before it had lift access) Murdock Peak and others along the ridge between Park City Mountain Resort and the old Park West where he would drop us so that we could ski. Lots of delightful untracked powder! We just took off and “let her rip.” We got to ski down the greatest uncut snow you’ll ever find. Our pilot would then pick us up at the bottom of each run and ultimately fly us back to the resort.
 
I remember one day making 40 continuous linked turns from the top of Murdock Peak down an east facing bowl without coming to a stop. One of my skiing companions followed me down making figure eight turns in the deep snow. What a sight that was to look back and see our tracks! Too bad we didn’t have a camera. We also took turns jumping off the cornice getting 30 or 40 feet of air. Today this kind of crazy “out-of-bounds” skiing is strictly forbidden by the resorts.
 
Thank goodness we had no accidents or snow slides to deal with and the days were filled with incredible memories.
 
Jan Peterson

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