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Frequently Asked Questions

Why ski or ride with BOV?

BOV is Alaska’s premier mechanized ski guide operation comprised of veteran guides who pioneered the range, industry professionals, and some of the best pilots and terrain in Alaska. Along with unsurpassed, classic Alaskan style lodging at Robe Lake Lodge. BOV has quickly become the go-to operation in Valdez, the Chugach, and Alaska overall by first time and experienced heli skiers and professional film companies.

Here at BOV, we want to give you the best overall heli skiing experience possible. We have a great program built around Hobbs hours that allows you to see where your money is being spent.  Our prices are set to be realistic. We build in down days for our packages, because the weather is unpredictable.  You can always buy more Hobbs time if you hit the jackpot on the weather, and fly more Hobbs than what was included in your package.  We sell you a reasonable amount of blade time, instead of overselling you more than can be feasibly burned. Some operators have overpriced (expensive) remote lodging, or charge you for other things you may not use like snowcat skiing. BOV is a Valdez Alaska local family owned company.  BOV also has the largest selection of additional activities and down day options over any other operator in Alaska.  If you wish to purchase options such as snowcat skiing, rest assured, with BOV’s largest snowcat skiing operation in North America, stretching from tidewater Valdez to mile 45 inland, we have access to a variety of terrain and snowpacks to suit any age or ability.  We don’t make promises that we can’t keep, and we aim to set the highest standard for professionalism in the industry.  Plus, we love to get our customers to the best snow and terrain in the Chugach.

Do you ski the same terrain as other operators?

All Alaskan Heli Operations hold permits for Alaska State land (DNR) and some including ourselves hold permits for Federal (BLM) managed lands. Although we all basically have the permits to ski in the same places…the amount of land is HUGE, and you very rarely see another operation’s group during your day.

What kind of experience do you and your guides have?

The owners and operators of BOV have been working in the heliski industry for over 18 years covering all aspects of the operation. Our guide team is comprised of a variety of experienced guides from all over the world. One of our guides is a true Valdez heli ski pioneer with over 35 years Chugach experience, others guide heliskiing and ski mountaineering expeditions on some of the most sought after locations and peaks world wide.  All of our guides are experinced avalanche educators or snow professionals, and have extensive medical experince, training, and backgrounds.

Why do you charge by the Hobbs hour?

Our Hobbs pricing structure makes us different from other operators, but it also makes the most sense. All Alaskan heli operators have to pay for their helicopters based on Hobbs, so why not use the same structure for the skiers/riders that are using the Hobbs? This allows you to know where you stand at any time. Other operators tally vertical feet or count runs, but something to keep in mind with vertical foot or run guarantees is that they can be tallied in a way to benefit the operator and not the customer. For example, on a vertical foot guarantee, you may ski long mellow glacier run-outs to bulk up your total, maybe not what you want to pay for when you go heli-skiing. Similarly, on a run guarantee, you may ski very short runs, or they may count the top part of the run separate from the run-out, essentially counting two runs on one descent. In contrast, with Hobbs time, you are paying for the helicopter when it is climbing, flying to/from a destination, or stabilizing on a landing zone. Essentially, whatever you ski down, you have to pay to fly up. In this way, you can see exactly where your money is being spent.

For experienced heli skiers, it’s also possible to help make decisions on how and where your Hobbs time is spent. For example, flying to unridden peaks, or where the weather is better, or lapping classics close to home.

When is the best time of the season to come?

Anytime of our operating season is really the best time of the year to be in Valdez. The best answer for this question would be, whenever you have the most time to get away and spend some time skiing. A 3 or 4 day getaway is great, but we really recommend a 7 day trip if at all possible.

How many runs can you get per hour?

A range of 6-10 runs is standard

If we don’t have four people, how do you partner us up?

Obviously it’s best when guests come with at least a group of four, but in the instance where we are tasked with pairing skiers/snowboarders to form full groups, we do our best to use the info that you give us on your reservation form to build like ability groups. Generally after the first run or two, your guide will be able to evaluate the group dynamics and abilities and make changes in the field if needed (accordingly). Please be as accurate and honest as possible when rating your experience and ability levels.

Do I need to be an expert to ski in Alaska or with BOV?

No. The terrain is vast and we can find something for all ability levels. We do recommend being a strong or advanced intermediate skier/rider with experience in variable snow conditions.

How far is airport from the Lodge and Base?

The lodge is perfectly situated halfway between our heli pad at our Keystone Village at the base of Thompson Pass and the Valdez airport.  The aiport is 6 miles from the Lodge, which is 10 miles from our base.

Can we fly right from the lodge?

We have and can with either ship, but most often our Public guests drive 10 minutes to our Keystone Heli base, while our Private ship generally flies directly from the lodge.

Is transportation provided?

BOV provides complimentary transportation once you have arrived in Valdez. This includes any and all transportation to/from the Lodge, airport, town, Keystone Heli base and Thompson Pass, and any other activities you choose to do.

Why Valdez vs. Haines, Girdwood, Juneau?

Valdez and the SE Chugach surrounding Thompson Pass offers hands down the largest chunk of land and permitted ski terrain in Alaska. While Valdez may be home to more operators than other locations, this doesn’t come without good reason. Valdez and the surrounding Chugach offer the most stable snowpack and widest variety of terrain of anywhere in Alaska. Despite multiple operators claiming Valdez as their home, very rarely is another operator seen when in the field. The terrain here is vast and stacked with thousands of runs. Locations like Girdwood and Juneau have far less terrain and see more rain in general. Haines has become increasingly regulated over the past few years and each and every year, more and more terrain is deemed un-skiable, limiting the amount of variability and sheer size of the ski area. Valdez also has the shortest flight distances to the ski terrain since Valdez and Thompson Pass are located smack dab in the middle of the terrain.

Do you provide airbags?

We provide complimentary BCA Float Airbags at no additional charge for all our package clients. If you have your own, you’re welcome to bring it along and depending on brand, we can re-fill ourselves.  

Can I bring a non-skiing partner?

Yes! Their stay with you in your room is absolutely free! Meals and transportation is $100/day, and any activities they may choose to do would be an additional cost.

Can you accommodate special dietary needs?

Our Private Chef is here for you and only you. If you have special dietary restrictions or requests, please let us know in advance. There will be a place on your reservation form for listing this.

Is it better to drive or fly from Anchorage?

Both ways have their advantages. Flying into Valdez is the easiest, but if you wish to explore on your own, the 5 hour drive from Anchorage to Valdez is beautiful as well. You either fly over the mountains you have traveled to ski or drive up and around them.

Do you have or provide rental gear and/or skis /snowboards?

We have both ski and snowboard gear available for rent for $45/day. All safety gear including airbags are free of charge and included in all packages.

What is your payment and credit policy?  




  • Prior to January 1st of the season booked, a 50% non-refundable deposit is due at time of reservation.  After January 1st of the season booked, payment is due in full at time of reservation.
  • The final balance will be due no later than January 1st of the season booked. Partial payments will be accepted prior to January 1st.
  • NO REFUNDS are available for any deposit or payment.


  • NO REFUNDS are available for cancelation for ANY REASON.
  • IF government travel restrictions or mandates prevent travel to Valdez, then the guest will be issued a 100% CREDIT towards a future trip within two years.  NO REFUNDS will be given.


  • Guests are expected to arrive physically capable of participating in their outdoor activity for every day booked.
  • NO CREDIT will be given if a guest OPTS OUT of a scheduled activity for ANY REASON, including but not limited to:
    • Injury
    • Illness
    • Work or Family issues
    • Physical Fatigue
    • Hungover
    • Hoping for better weather in the coming days
    • Hoping for better snow conditions in the coming days
  • If a guest chooses to OPT OUT of a scheduled heli day, the guest will automatically be deducted ONE HOBBS HOUR for that date.


  • Guests are required to meet the following minimum requirements of skill:
    • Intermediate to Advanced Intermediate and above
    • Comfortable skiing or riding in deep powder
    • Comfortable skiing or riding in variable snow conditions
  • If you have never skied powder before, this may not be for you.
  • Guests are expected to arrive physically capable of participating in their outdoor activity for every day booked.
  • Guests are expected to be physically capable of skiing a full day, multiple days in a row.
  • BOV reserves the right to refuse service to a guest that misrepresents their skills or fails to meet the minimum skill required.


  • “Hobbs time” is a term used to describe heli flight time
  • A Hobbs meter is kept in the aircraft and measures the use of the machine
  • Hobbs is burned when the pilot pulls pitch on the main rotor blades (ie, in sustained level flight, flying up in elevation, or stabilizing on a landing)
  • We average 8 runs per Hobbs hour, but it can be anywhere from 1-10 runs per Hobbs hour depending on where we fly to ski
  • Reservations require a booking of a minimum of 1 Hobbs hour.  Your ski day may be more or less than 1 Hobbs hour depending on weather and other factors
  • Hobbs accrued over the amount pre-purchased will be  pro-rated to the 1/10th Hobbs hour
  • I am aware that I may incur additional, prorated charges above my pre-purchased Hobbs time
  • We will do our best to stay as close to 1 hour as possible for Single Day Heli Skiing


  • This credit applies to ALL scheduled outdoor activities.
  • CREDIT is available ONLY for scheduled outdoor activities and NO CREDIT is given for lodging or meal portions of a package.
  • To receive this credit, the activity must be PAID IN FULL
  • To receive this credit, a guest must have been PRESENT, and CAPABLE OF PARTICIPATING in the scheduled activity.
  • IF weather or a mechanical issue prevents a scheduled activity, a CREDIT will be issued in the following amounts:
    • A 100% CREDIT will be issued for use in the SAME SEASON
    • A 50% CREDIT will be issued for use in the NEXT SEASON
    • A 25% CREDIT will be issued for use in the SEASON FOLLOWING THE NEXT


  • Your CREDIT will be given a dollar value (in USD).
  • For HOBBS unused, your credit value will be determined by multiplying the amount of unused Hobbs (to the nearest tenth) by the rate paid at time of reservation.
  • For other scheduled outdoor activities, your credit value will be determined by adding the amount paid at time of reservation for each unused activity.
  • CREDIT is only issued after the date(s) of the scheduled activity.


  • HOBBS credit (heli time) CANNOT be rolled down to other scheduled outdoor activities (i.e., Snowcat skiing, sled skiing, snowmobile tours, etc.).
  • The credit value of other scheduled activities CAN be rolled up to Hobbs (heli time).


  • Credits on All-Inclusive Packages may only be applied to another all-inclusive package.

There is no restriction on the size of all-inclusive package that must be purchased.

  • Credits on Single Day Heli may only be applied to Single Day Heli or an All-Inclusive Package. There is no restriction on the size of all-inclusive package that must be purchased.
  • Credits on other scheduled activities may be applied to any other scheduled activity, single day heli or all-inclusive package.
  • Administrative fees may apply when rebooking using credit.


  • Other outdoor activities may be available for purchase separately, as down day options, during your stay.
  • Activities will be offered based on weather and logistics, and availability based on pre-bookings for these activities on a day-to-day basis.
  • Activities requiring additional charge include, but are not limited to:
    • Snowcat/Sled skiing
    • Snowmobile Tours
    • Scenic Boat Cruise
    • In-house Massage
    • Firearms Shooting
    • Ice Climbing
    • Ski Touring
  • Activities requiring NO additional charge include, but are not limited to:
    • Hiking and Exploration of the Valdez Glacier ice caves
    • Snowshoeing
    • Fat Biking
    • Use of the Hot tub or Sauna
    • Visit to Downtown Valdez (harbor, restaurants or shops)
    • Visit to Valdez Museum


  • This activity is sold as motorized access utilizing a number of tracked machines to ski and snowboard
  • Whether you book Snowcat OR (snowmobile) snowmachine skiing, you may be utilizing any machine on any given day
  • Sleds is another term used for snowmobiles (which are also known as snowmachines in Alaska)
  • Our snow kittens are side by side UTV/ATV on tracks
  • Black Ops Valdez uses any and all of these types of vehicles for transport for skiing and riding.
  • Whether pre-booked or chosen for a down day activity, the type of vehicle we use is NOT GUARANTEED

BOV will opt to use either snowcats, UTVs or sleds based on a number of factors including but not limited to: weather and snow conditions, safety of potential operating area, avalanche conditions, number of participants and staff availability on any given day, maintenance concerns, etc.


  • All-Inclusive Package guests will be provided lodging at the Robe Lake Lodge and Cabins unless expressly listed in the package description as being off-site or in-town accommodations
  • Room assignments on the Robe Lake Lodge property may be in the main lodge, or an on-site cabin at the discretion of BOV and RLL staff
  • Guests will not be guaranteed a single room, but will not be forced to room with someone outside their immediate party
  • Guests will be assigned to rooms and cabins based on many factors including, but not limited to: the size of the party, if there are couples sharing beds, if there are family groups, or if there’s a medical preference for a single occupancy room
  • If unforeseen circumstances require a guest to be moved from the RLL property to off-site or in-town accommodations

1) the guest will be contacted in advance

2) the guest will be compensated with a partial refund depending on the cost of the accommodation they are moved to.

  • ADD-ONS, or additional nights added to a standard package, will be booked off-site or in-town.

If, at the time of the stay, accommodations become available on the RLL property, then those options will be presented to the guest.

  • Off-Site or In-Town accommodations may include local hotels or AirBnB’s


  • Trip or Travel Insurance is HIGHLY recommended to cover any unforeseen events that may impact your trip.
  • Without REQUIRING guests to purchase trip/travel insurance, we again reiterate that it is very highly recommended.
  • This is a reminder that NO REFUNDS will be given for ANY REASON.


  • Fuel is a major expense in any of our mechanized outdoor activities.
  • Due to high and rising fuel prices and continually increasing inflation rates, BOV reserves the right to charge an additional fee for any of our activities or packages.
  • If a surcharge fee needs to be applied to any of our activities or packages, BOV will notify guests prior to trip arrival of the changes.


  • I hereby grant Black Ops Valdez, LLC, his/her legal representatives and assigns (including but not limited to any agency, client, or publication), irrevocable permission to publish photographs and/or video of myself taken in Valdez, Alaska or vicinity
  • These images may be published in any manner, including (but not limited to) calendars, advertisements, periodicals and online.  Furthermore, I will hold harmless the aforementioned photographer and his/her legal representatives and assigns, from any liability by virtue of minor cropping that may be required, and color and exposure shifts, that may occur in reproducing photographs.
  • I affirm that I am 18 years of age or older, and competent to sign this release on my own behalf.
  • If participant is not 18 years of age or older, I affirm that I am the parent or legal guardian of the minor participant and have legal authority to execute this release on his/her behalf.
  • I have read this release and fully understand its’ implications.