Heli-ski-ruby 

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By Doug Schnitzspahn; Photograph by Joe Royer, Ruby Mountains Heli-Experience

Located about halfway between Reno and Salt Lake
City off a lonely stretch of Interstate 80, Ruby Mountains
Heli-Experience offers an Alaska-size day of powder shots in the Lower
48. Only in the isolated Ruby Mountains, you won’t have to share any of
it with other backcountry skiers or snowboarders. Plus, this overlooked
little range offers the ideal terrain for big mountain powder with ten
peaks topping out over at 11,000 feet (3,353 meters) and an average of
300 inches (nearly 8 meters) of dry, desert snow each year—not
necessarily Alaska levels, but the snow here is pure western fluff.

The
best package consists of three days of flying to untracked skiing in
terrain ranging from trees to open glades to steeps (depending upon
conditions), with a guarantee of 39,000 vertical feet (11,887 meters)
of turns for the trip. If the weather grounds your bird, the guides
will still take you out cat-skiing and prorate your bill according to
the amount of vertical you missed by not flying.

Best of all, when your legs are shot, you can relax back at the ranch. Reds Ranch (www.redsranchnv.com),
that is, a ten-bedroom lodge that features in-room massages and gourmet
meals. And save room for dessert: After eating up powder all day and
feasting at the lodge, you’ll be served a seven-layer opera cake and a
glass of Crown Royal.

Need to Know: Opt for the all-inclusive, three-day trip from Ruby Mountains Heli-Experience, starting at $4,250 (www.helicopterskiing.com).

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