“This obviously is not a mass solution, it’s a solution for a select group. We can approach corporations, give them these helicopter hours, and have them be used for their executive team, for their employees as an incentive, for customers who may be coming in to consider a partnership — not dissimilar to how corporations use Jazz tickets.”
Hop in a helicopter, fly for hours over the beautiful mountains of Silicon Slopes, and this is how you will react:
I know this because I’ve seen it in person: the reaction, the mountains, even three enormous lodges spread across privately-leased land that hold hunters, skiers, and businesspeople alike.
Ted Kimball — trauma surgeon at the University of Utah, co-founder of both the R & K Hunting Company and Cloudveil Mountain Heli — invited the Silicon Slopes team into the skies, showing us what he hopes is the next big perk used by Utah’s corporations. He envisions CloudVeil enabling heli-skiing in a way that Utah has never seen, while giving businesses another option to attract or retain executives, customers, partners, and employees.
“This obviously is not a mass solution, it’s a solution for a select group,” said Kimball. “We can approach corporations, give them these helicopter hours, and have them be used for their executive team, for their employees as an incentive, for customers who may be coming in to consider a partnership — not dissimilar to how corporations use Jazz tickets.”
Years ago, Kimball created the R & K Hunting Company to take advantage of Utah’s prime hunting opportunities. He leased 700,000 acres of private land spread across Utah and Wyoming, built three lodges tucked in remote areas of the wilderness, hired hunting guides, and began laying the framework for an award-winning hunting expedition company.
Three years ago, Kimball got together with Spencer Storm (a former heli-guide in Alaska) and began brainstorming ways they could offer heli-skiing during winter time. Through his hunting operation, Kimball had identified about 100,000 acres of land that also doubled as incredible skiing real estate. Without hunters around during winter season, the idea was simple: branch out into another market, taking advantage of the land and lodges already at their disposal.
That is the story of Cloudveil.
“We created Cloudveil Mountain Heli so people can buy helicopter time that allows them to pick the day they’re going to ski,” said Kimball. “A storm cycle blows through and suddenly it’s one of those perfect bluebird days in Utah, it’s first-come first-serve.”
For skiers, heli-skiing is the pinnacle of existence — dropped in backcountry, subject to unlimited powder, tasting nature’s beauty. Cloudveil purchased a helicopter and began offering heli-skiing excursions where customers could rent helicopter time anywhere between January 1 and April 31, with a rollover system based on weather. If winds are too high or snow too thick, just roll the helicopter time over to a different day.
Cloudveil also offers access to any of their lodges, making it suitable for corporate retreats — heli-ski by day, brainstorm by night. For those that don’t ski, Cloudveil can arrange other options such as snowmobiling, snowshoeing, and dog sledding. No matter the activity, a corporate retreat to a remote cabin surrounded by fresh snow is something that appeals to a lot of business people. And for those that ski, it’s basically nirvana.
“We recognized we had a great, unique platform and foundation to build upon,” said Kimball. “We’ve never had destination heli-skiing in Utah like Alaska or Canada, where you can stay multiple days and ski multiple days.”