Finding Untracked Treasure on “Rolling Thunder” in Nevada’s Ruby Mountains

If the winter of COVID-19 throws a wrench in your ski or snowboard adventure plans, consider one of North American heli-skiing’s best-kept secrets, hiding in a range just off Interstate 80. The crown jewel of Nevada’s Great Basin, the Ruby Mountains cover roughly 1,000 square miles, with 10 peaks topping out above 11,000 feet. Joe Royer, a Snowbird ski patroller and San Francisco surfer,
began exploring these mountains in the early ’70s and established Ruby Mountains Helicopter Experience to share their rugged beauty.


Backcountry recreation

For the last 44 years, Royer, his wife Francy, their son Mike, plus their guides and staff have known that “Nevada’s Yosemite” holds straight aces when it comes to backcountry skiing and riding. The terrain is varied and vast, offering 200,000 acres of world-class couloirs, wide-open bowls, steep chutes, and mellow glades. Making dry, light powder turns amongst ancient bristlecone pines is a specialty, as is the occasional first descent remaining to be claimed by guests of the remote range’s exclusive heli-ski operator.


Everglades National Park covers 1.5 million acres, the largest park in the Lower 48.

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