The U.S. Forest Service has chosen a heli-skiing guiding service owned by Pocatello resident Gabe Monroe as one of just three operators allowed to access some of the premier backcountry terrain in Alaska.

Monroe’s company, Pulseline Adventure, has been awarded a coveted 15-year permit to guide heli-skiing trips in Alaska’s Chugach National Forest.

Monroe, 41, who also owns the Pocatello construction company Cornerstone Concrete, said it was the first time Pulseline had applied for the permit, and filling out the reams of paperwork was a huge undertaking.

But the prize is big — access to eye-popping powder throughout 6.9 million acres within America’s second largest national forest. Located in southcentral Alaska, the Chugach is larger than New Hampshire and harbors 20 glaciers, according to Alaska.org.

Monroe explained the frigid glaciers hold some of the lightest, most idyllic powder to be found. There are 327 named peaks in the Chugach Mountains, the tallest of which is Mount Marcus Baker at 13,176 feet, as well as a host of unnamed peaks. His clients will be treated to 4,000- to 6,000-foot descents.

“It’s just a magical area. It’s pristine, it’s protected. It’s some of the best skiing in the world. You feel like you’re alone in the mountains,” Monroe said. “We want to explore all of it.”

Pulseline, based in Valdez, Alaska, had to compete for the permit with several multimillion dollar heli-skiing businesses. Monroe takes his success with the permit as a testament to his staff’s commitment to safety.

“We beat out some really big players,” Monroe said. “It proves we have a safe, robust and experienced guide team and says a lot about our operational safety plan and rescue protocols.”

He explained the application requested detailed descriptions of his team’s experience, his company’s safety plan, operational procedures and training procedures.

“We honestly just thought, ‘Hey, if we want to be guiding heli-skiing, let’s be the best at it, and gaining this permit allows us to ski what’s arguably the best heli-skiing terrain in the world,” Monroe said.

His company also holds a pair of other permits in Alaska and works in South America, Antarctica and Europe. His clients come from throughout the world, paying between $4,000 and $9,000 each for about a week of adventuring, plus food and lodging, depending on the package.

Monroe expects to offer trips to the Chugach in March and April. He’ll stay in Pocatello and commute between Idaho and Alaska to be with his children. He employs about a dozen staff members. Staff undergo rigorous annual guide training, and even clients are expected to complete four hours of training before going up in a helicopter.

Having the permit is already gaining Pulseline some additional notoriety. His business has been in negotiations with some ski movie production companies. His early guest list also includes U.S. Ski Team member Colby Stevenson and 2008 freestyle world champion Elyse Saugstad.

Monroe’s obsession with heli-skiing traces back to 1996, when he saw a photograph in Powder magazine of a group of skiers getting dropped off by helicopter on a snowy mountain peak.

“I said, ‘That’s what I want to do.’ I called the number on the ad and I said, ‘Hey, I want to guide for you guys.’ The lady said, ‘This is the reservation line,’” Monroe recalled.

But she put him in touch with a certified guide from the company, who visited with Monroe for more than an hour, telling him the steps he’d have to take to become a professional guide. At 16 years old, Monroe began working on his guiding certifications. He started his concrete business in 1998; his concrete business typically slows down in the winter and pairs well with guiding.

In 2001, when he was 21 years old, he took a crevasse rescue course. Monroe said the experts offering the training were so impressed by his attention to detail that they hired him on the spot. Monroe worked for about 12 years for that company, H2O Guides, including nearly a decade as its head guide.

For several of those years, H2O was the sole permit holder for heli-skiing in the Chugach.

In 2015, he took over Pulseline. The company charters two to three helicopters. The agreement also covers time with a couple of pilots.

Many of the guides he worked with at H2O have since joined him at Pulseline.

In 2016, Monroe also completed a two-year master’s program at Idaho State University to become a certified physician assistant. He figured a medical background would prove useful in the mountains.

“Helicopter skiing started off as a passion, and now we’re hoping we can further expand the business,” Monroe said.

For more information visit www.pulselineadventure.com.