June 16, 2011 |

Borough helicopter group has yet to meet on 2011 season

Due to scheduling conflicts, the Haines Borough’s mayor-appointed helicopter skiing work group has yet to meet for an evaluation of this year’s season, said borough manager Mark Earnest.

Following five public hearings to discuss a revised heli-skiing ordinance, the Haines Borough Assembly in March adopted an ordinance permitting up to three operators to share a 2,600-skier-day limit for the season to run Feb. 1 to May 3.

The assembly also approved Alaska Mountain Guides (AMG) to join Alaska Heliskiing and Southeast Alaska Backcountry Adventures (SEABA) as heli-skiing tour operators in the borough.

Borough officials said the work group, which made recommendations to the assembly, would re-evaluate the ordinance after the season.

"It would be a review and a critique," Earnest said. "We’re going to examine what worked and what didn’t work and what we can improve, from every aspect of the operation."

The nine-member group includes Mayor Jan Hill, assembly members Daymond Hoffman and Joanne Waterman, residents Rob Goldberg, Joe Ordonez and Carolyn Weishahn, Sean Brownell of Alaska Heliskiing, Sean Gaffney of AMG and Scott Sundberg of SEABA.

Earnest said he tried to gather the group for a meeting earlier this month.

"Two of the heli-ski company representatives (Brownell and Gaffney) were out of Haines and not available for that timeframe that we were trying to get folks lined up for, so we’re still trying to see when that could occur," he said.