So, you want to heli-ski in South America this summer. You’ve saved up, got another (even weirder) roommate to cut costs, sold your cat, did whatever it would take… but you don’t want to find yourself stuck straight lining flats with randos who put the Jerry in geriatric. Enter Third Edge Heli, founded by legendary guide Greg Harms to be the kind of op he’d want to book for himself. See a couloir you want to drop into? Third Edge will take you there—in your own private bird with people who ski as well as you do.
Third Edge is like the Wild West of heli-ops—only way safer. You and two of your buddies get your own heli with two guides (Third Edge boasts one of the highest guide-to-client ratios in the industry) who actually care about what you want to ski. Third Eye has three helicopters, which means nine guests get access to 5 million acres of untouched peaks in the Andes, the world’s longest continental mountain range. Their logistics are dialed and the guides put an emphasis on photography, sending you home with enough Insta-fodder to tick off all your friends who wasted a perfectly good summer hiking and biking.
Third Edge prides itself on customization, so your adventure will truly be what you want it to be. “We’ve never delivered the same trip twice,” says Cassia Cadenhead, sales and logistics manager. Choose between two location options: a lodge in Farellones or a hotel in downtown Santiago. The former gives you a more traditional heli-op experience and the latter a completely unique city scene you won’t find anywhere else. According to Cadenhead, most guests book Santiago, but either way, a big part of the fun happens after the rotor blades stop spinning.
Both locations access the same terrain: Endless and massive volcanic peaks, with 21,555-foot Tupungato—one of the highest peaks in the Americas—looming in the foreground. The average run length is 4,300 feet (which is roughly the vertical of Jackson Hole, from the top of the tram to the bottom of the Hobacks), but can stretch to more than 6,500 feet—the longest heli-accessed runs in the world. The landing zones are higher than the summits of most South American ski resorts, which translates to blower pow pretty much all the time. They will cater the terrain to your ability level, which means spicy couloirs and steeps are on the menu if that’s what you’re craving. And, on the relatively small chance you get a down day, the heli will take you to the beach, the vineyard, the local watering hole—pretty much wherever you want to go. Here, the best time for cold, dry pow is generally mid-July through mid-September.
Package: Trips include seven days of guided heli-skiing (weather permitting), seven nights of lodging in Santiago and round-trip shuttle service from the Santiago International Airport.
Accommodations: These are up to you, but Third Edge recommends The W, the Hyatt or the Ritz Carlton. The helipad is located on top of a building downtown, close to all of these locations.
Getting there: Fly into Santiago International Aiport, where Third Edge will meet you and drive you and your bags to your hotel.
Package: Trips include seven days of guided heli-skiing (weather permitting) and eight nights at Casa Farellones, a lodge on the flanks of La Parva and Valle Nevado, fancy meals and roundtrip airport transportation.
Accommodations: Casa Farellones is an eight-bedroom, eight-bath, three-story lodge on a ridge above the town with a helipad out back. It has full kitchens, two hot tubs, wi-fi and cell service. If you need more nightlife than time in front of your fireplace, La Parva is a five-minute drive away.
Getting there: Fly into Santiago International Aiport, where Third Edge will meet you and drive you and your bags 90 minutes to the lodge.