It’s off-season for Points North Heli-Adventure’s owner Kevin Quinn, meaning he is down at Lake Tahoe, CA, but for Quinn, it’s never actually ‘off’ season. Chauffering people via air to fun stuff is what makes the PNH owner, operator, and lead guide tick. As in, right now, Quinn is having a blast prepping his plane, a 1953 Cessna equipped with giant bush tires, to fly another round of partygoers to the infamous Burning Man festival in the Nevada desert.
This curious endeavor is perfectly normal for Quinn, who comes from a family heritage of Alaskan bush pilots and clearly suffers from an obsession with aviation.
“The best way to describe the plane is a dune buggy with wings,” Quinn says gleefully about his Cessna, sounding like a kid explaining his or her dream bicycle. “I do this every year - I take 30 or 40 people up to Burning Man, they help me pay for the fuel. It’s just about a 30-minute flight.”
The plane, which fits just about 3 or 4 people plus gear, makes multiple drops, and then, according to Quinn, most of the passengers find their own way back after the festival. For making all these trips, however, he admits he’s never actually been inside the festival gates. “I’d like to go sometime, for one day and night, just to say I’ve been, but it’s not really my cup of tea,” he said.
This of course, is just as well, since even though Alaska heli-ski season seems far away, the attention it takes to maintain the successful business, which is now the largest heli-ski operation in the US, is never ending. “[PNH] is constant, year-round work,” says Quinn. “I’m always looking to upgrade – for example, we launched a non-motorized ski touring operation up there two years ago, and that has taken off like wildfire. We’re almost sold out for next year already.”
In addition to flying the Burning Man air taxi, gliders, and whatever else he can get off the ground, Quinn spends a full 40-hour work week on PNH, even in August. “I work on permitting, and of course I talk to guests and potential clients. We [Quinn owns PNH with his wife and fellow ski guide Jessica] do everything ourselves. We haven’t hired any outside help – but we are passionate about what we do. I’ve never met anyone who said they didn’t want to go heli-skiing.”
Quinn, who skis in this year’s Warren Miller Entertainment film in the PNH segment in Alaska, also hops back and forth to his native Alaska in the summer, running client fishing trips in remote and wild Katmai National Park. “All my aunts and uncles run fishing lodges now, and Alaska is in my heart and soul for sure.”
When it comes time to relax, for at least five or six minutes at a time, and enjoy some summer weather, Tahoe still gets a little credit on the PNH radar. “Tahoe is a pretty beautiful place, Quinn admits. “Squaw Valley is my second home.”
Check out Kevin Quinn and Points North Heliskiing in this year’s film Warren Miller’s Flow State.