One benefit of flying privately is the ability to access alternate airports during bad weather
Winter weather in the mountains can mean airport closings and delays. Jet card and on-demand charter broker Magellan Jets says one benefit of flying privately to your ski vacation means while commercial fliers see their trips canceled, there’s always a backup plan with private jets. It says, “The Magellan Jets team is always prepared to give our clients up to the minute notifications when and if your flight’s plans must change due to weather at any of these airports.” Recently it outlined U.S. destinations most likely to be impacted by extreme weather and best alternate airports.
On its blog, Magellan Jets had identified the seven most popular ski destination airports that are susceptible to bad weather, and the best diversion airports below:
Aspen, Colorado (KASE)
Elevation: 7,820 feet
Alternative Airports Options: Eagle and Rifle, Colorado
Aspen is one of the few airports in the United States with a “one-way in, one way out” runway approach, simply meaning aircraft must take-off and land in the same direction. This can create major congestion at Colorado’s most popular airport come winter time given the major influx of both private and commercial traffic to Aspen. Its short runway makes it hard to land as is with any sort of tailwind, but combine that with strong winter weather high up in the Rocky Mountains and Aspen is one of the most difficult airports in the country in the winter months.
Eagle, Colorado (KEGE)
Elevation: 6,540 feet
Alternative Airports Options: Eagle, and Rifle, Colorado
One of the most-high traffic airports come ski season because it serves as the main airport to Vail, the Eagle County Airport sits about four miles outside of Eagle Colorado. It’s no surprise given its mountainous approach this regional airport came in at #8 on the History Channel’s most extreme airports in 2010. The elevation, weather vulnerability, and departure procedures all were factors that also contributed to Eagle’s Ranking.
Rifle, Colorado (KRIL)
Elevation: 5,540 feet
Alternative Airports Options: Denver, and Grand Junction, Colorado
Sitting in the heart of the Colorado mountains, Rifle presents many of the same problems its neighboring airports do come winter. This airport is located about 3 miles outside of the central business district in Rifle, which makes it a popular destination for both business and pleasure.
Jackson Hole, Wyoming (KJAC)
Elevation: 6,541 feet
Alternative Airports Options: Idaho Falls, Idaho
By airport standards, Jackson Hole sits within some of the highest mountain ranges in the world in Grand Teton National Park. Although it makes for incredible views when flying in, the airport is surrounded by 13,000 foot-high mountains, can cause more extreme weather conditions than other high-volume winter airports.
Telluride, Colorado (KTEX)
Elevation: 9,078 feet
Alternative Airports Options: Montrose, Colorado
There may not be an airport with a more frightening claim to fame than Telluride’s famous cliff takeoff. Essentially, the landing strip sits on the edge of a cliff, in which the aircraft takes-off over a steep drop at the end of the runway. This runway causes crews to be over precautious when missions take them to Telluride during extreme weather.
Hailey, Idaho (KSUN)
Elevation: 5,318 feet
Alternative Airports Options: Magic Valley Regional, Idaho
The Friedman Memorial Airport in Hailey, Idaho sits 13 miles south of Sun Valley. The popular “bowl of mountains” is attractive to many avid skiers around the world, but brings travel challenges when going to this remote location.
Bozeman, Montana (KBZN)
Elevation: 4,473 feet
Alternative Airports Options: Bert Mooney (MT), Helena Regional (MT)
The Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport is the busiest airport in Montana. It sees high congestion during the winter months with its close proximity to popular communities such as Belgrade, Bozeman, Big Sky, and more. Although no distinct feature makes Bozeman a challenge, the mountain weather and high volume tend to cause some headaches for those coming in for their vacations.
Earlier this year Magellan introduced a helicopter jet card and more recently set a partnership with St. Barth properties, a villa rental company. The company offers jet cards by both cabin size – light, midsize, super midsize and large – as well as aircraft specific aircraft types, including the Hawker 400XP and 800XP, Dassault Falcon 2000, and Gulfstream GIV/GIV-SP.