Valhalla Adventures entices those seeking uncut, deep powder. Now, the cat-ski operation is seeking to expand into the heli-skiing business.
Fred Dietrich, owner of Valhalla Adventures, applied to the Stillwater Unit of the Department of Natural Resources and Conservation for a permit to run heli-skiing in conjunction with his cat-ski operation on Stryker Ridge outside Olney. “It’ll be an experimental thing this winter if it happens,” says Dietrich. The DNRC is collecting public comment on the proposal.
“The state is mandated to make money with the land every year, and I pay five percent of the total gross to the state for the school fund,” says Dietrich. “I think this is a fairly sustainable and eco way of making money on a regular basis.”
Dietrich plans to continue his full cat-skiing operation, too. “You have times here with fog when you just can’t fly,” he says.
With Whitefish Mountain Resort scuttling their cat-skiing off Flower Point, Dietrich’s service provides the Flathead’s only cat-ski location. It will see some improvements this winter, with a new twice-as-powerful and quieter engine in the Hagglund cat. Due to continued logging on the state lands, more roads have improved the access, and the slopes opened up glades.
In addition to his menu of one-day, overnight yurt, and full moon trips, Dietrich plans to continue offering his Avalanche II certification classes. He also aims to lure first time cat riders. “I want to group them with other first timers to have more fun without the anxiousness and pressure of skiing with others who want big vertical,” he says.
The DNRC is accepting comments on the heli-skiing proposal through Oct. 10. “We’re getting lots of comments,” says unit manager Brian Manning, who notes that a Triple-X Helicopter request is also part of the proposal. “We’re researching other land management agencies to see how heli-operations work for them.” Comments should be emailed to [email protected].
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