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Box Stores Take Notice of Freestyle Snow Sports' Olympic Popularity

As the popularity of Freestyle Sports increases by double digits each year, Big Box stores take notice; counteracting a challenging economy in a growth market, Alaska heli ski provider Valdez Heli-Camps joins forces with Costco Wholesale to open new doors to ski and snowboard athletes and enthusiasts alike

VALDEZ, Alaska, Jan. 4 /PRNewswire/ -- As December has brought record snowfalls to the Chugach Mountains of Valdez, Alaska, Alaskan helicopter and snowcat skiing firm Valdez Heli-Camps (VHC) announces a strategic alliance with Costco Wholesale Corporation. Costco Wholesale, simply known as "Costco," is the largest membership warehouse club chain in the United States. As of July 2009 it is the third largest retailer in the U.S. and the ninth largest in the world. Now for skiers and snowboarders ready to enter the elite league of big mountain Alaska free riding, Costco has joined with Valdez Heli-Camps to offer a new gateway for admission to these World Famous heli ski slopes surrounding Valdez through their Costco.com web portal.

Jay Nierstheimer of Costco.com says, "After buyer introductions at a Seattle market event, Matt (Matt White of Valdez Heli-Camps) was inspired to produce some unique and exciting options for our membership that fell well within our mission of providing high-quality products at low cost to our members through our online outlet and tickets and gifts program." Niche market product distribution by large outlets marks an increasing trend in product diversification of the big players in U.S. retail where Costco is a leader. Today, White and Nierstheimer announced the first new Costco inspired product has gone live at Costco.com. White said, "Costco approached us last year with a desire to provide high-quality unique adventure experiences to their membership. And we answered with The Alaska Heliskiing Experience item for Costco."

Valdez, Alaska, world-renowned for the hair-raising descents first seen in World Extreme Skiing Competition in the early 90s, has become a rite of passage for big mountain ski and snowboard professionals and a Mecca for industry leading ski filmmakers alike. VHC President Matt White chuckled, "At first I was shocked, and then thrilled to be a part of the adventure travel innovation Costco was proposing. Reaching out to niche markets and recruiting products like mine that certainly have never been considered mainstream motivated me to produce a product for the Costco team and the greater skiing public. Costco.com offered us a unique opportunity to reach snow riders that may not have considered heliskiing in Alaska as an option for them; skiers or snowboarders that have more time to dedicate to their sport than money. For those that have thought heliskiing in Alaska was out of reach this year, Costco has helped us find a way to make their skiing and snowboarding dreams come true, even in an economic climate that is almost as challenging and exciting as big-mountain skiing in Alaska can be."

Those formerly spurned by the high price of the sport, with costs topping well over $1000 per day at most operations throughout North America, now have opportunities with Valdez Heli-Camps through Costco.com. The introductory Costco item offers three (3) nights lodging, meals, airport transfers, local transportation, and 25,000 vertical feet of heliskiing for just $999 (taxes included).

Founded by Matt White, Valdez Heli-Camps has provided adventure skiing and snowboarding packages by helicopter and snowcat in Alaska's Chugach Mountains since 1995. Costco is headquartered in Issaquah, Washington. Costco has 566 locations in 8 countries including the United States, Australia, Canada, Mexico, Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, and the United Kingdom. Online, Costco.com attracted at least 58 million visitors in 2008.

Valdez Heli-Camps is Alaska's premier all-inclusive helicopter and snowcat operator. VHC offers multi-day heliskiing with snowcat alternative ski and snowboard adventures as well as backcountry ski touring experiences, private helicopter charter, and special heliski vertical punch cards. Mainly catering to a high caliber of skier/rider, VHC can tailor ski days throughout its vast Alaskan ski terrain to suit the desires of almost any compatible group of heliskiers or snowboarders. Whether by helicopter, snow cat, or touring from one of its specially designed huts, Valdez Heli-Camps' guides will lead groups through the awe-inspiring terrain that has given Alaska's Chugach Mountain Range its well-deserved reputation as the premier big mountain heliskiing destination in the World.

For details contact Valdez Heli-Camps at:

(907) 783-3243 EXT. 210
(907) 783-3513 (fax)
info@valdezhelicamps.com (e-mail)
http://www.valdezhelicamps.com/ (Internet)

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