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“totally worth it!”

Temsco Helicopter Tours
Ranked #17 of 80 Tours in Juneau
Certificate of Excellence
Attraction details
Reviewed September 1, 2013

We booked the Pilot's Choice Ice Age Exploration excursion thru Princess Cruises...(cost $50 extra per person..go to Temsco website...I should have known better). Anyway this tour was totally awesome! We had front row seats in the helicopter. The view was spectacular!!! We just wished we had been given more time to take photos during the 2 glaciers walk segments.

1  Thank RashidMarwat
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed August 29, 2013 via mobile

We booked this Mendenhall Glacier helicopter transportation to the glacier and a short guided tour. Amazing experience to take a short helicopter ride, experience the glacier and drink from its channels of melted water. Very unique.

2  Thank Scott S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 21, 2013

We booked the Helicopter and Dogsled Tour through our Princess Cruise. At $550 a person, it's a serious investment and a big chunk of our vacation budget. We scheduled the earliest possible departure, so that if weather were a factor, we might be able to rebook for a later time. We had amazing weather but heard they had a 50% cancellation rate the week prior, due to visibility factors. Weather can change hour to hour, so try for the earliest trip of the day so you can reschedule if things clear up.

Our comfortable bus was waiting at the bottom of the cruise ship gangway. We had about a 30 minute drive to the heliport and Temsco headquarters. We watched a brief safety video about entering and riding the helicopter. Six individuals were assigned to our helicopter by weight, with our younger son between the pilot and my husband. Another couple rode in the back seat with my older son and myself. I put him by the window for a better view. Our pilot was Caleb and he was professional, nice, friendly, and focused on flying.

After the safety video, you put on provided complimentary over-boots with cleats (pull on and close with Velcro--they worked great) to grip the snow on the glacier. They had boots in many sizes from small kids to XXL men's shoes. We only needed lighter jackets and gloves (for throwing snowballs!) as it was 75 degrees on the glacier (and 85 at the ground) that day. The couple who flew with us got jackets from Temsco--I don't know if there is a fee for this or not, but it would have saved a lot of room in our suitcases not to have had to have packed coats for four people if we had known it was an option. Use the restroom before you board as there are only port-a-potties on the glacier. Bring $20 cash if you want to purchase the photo they take of you on the dog sled. Everyone flying in the helicopters puts their belongings, except your cameras/phones, in a single large locked cabinet for the entire group of passengers. No snacks or drinks are available on the glacier. Bring your sunglasses as it is very bright. Complimentary sunglasses (regular and large to fit over eyeglasses) are provided on the glacier, but they aren't too glamorous and they'll star in your photos! Staff took photos of us in action and our guide was super nice about taking photos of us with our cameras too.

We had beautiful views of Mendenhall Glacier from the helicopter and good commentary from our pilot. My husband loved his first ever helicopter ride. It lasted maybe 15-20 minutes, I'm not sure.

Our chopper was the first to land and we were connected with our sled dog trainer, Autumn. She introduced us to each dog on the team and let us know which ones liked to be petted. We are not big dog lovers, but it was interesting to met each one and see their very different personalities. Since I read a book about dog sledding in my curriculum to my students, I was eager to get to experience this mode of transportation first hand.

We easily climbed onto the dog sled, which is a double-seater with the trainer standing driving at the back and a single back seat "caboose" with my older son standing at the back of it as a secondary driver. You stand on the side rails and hold on to a handle. There is a brake that is metal bar across the center that you step on to slow the sled. It was a much smoother and easier job than we expected, as the dogs follow a circuitous path around the glacier area. The dogs adroitly respond to Gee and Haw for right and left and Hike and Whoa for Go and Stop--but the dogs really don't need encouragement to go! They are literally JUMPING up and down straining against the leashes when they know it's time to go and all the dogs in the camp not on the sled loudly bark their disappointment at not being included.

Autumn would take a break about every 5 minutes to let the dogs rest, as the weather was warm for them. Each turn she asked for a volunteer to drive next. Since there were 4 of us on the sled, we assumed there would be 4 turns to drive. She did not ever inform us that she was only planning to take 3 driving turns, or we would have asked to have 4 shorter turns so that we could all drive or we would have asked to let my 69 pound light weight son share a turn with me. We were so surprised at the end of the ride that she said we were done and that I wouldn't get a turn to drive as well. As a teacher, it was my great goal to experience dog sledding so that I could tell my students about my first hand experience of what it was like. We had chosen this very expensive $2000+ excursion just because I thought it would be a once in a lifetime opportunity and so very fun to try.

When I immediately expressed my surprise and disappointment at the lack of communication and opportunity, I was surprised that the staff did not allow me a chance to even just take a very short run for a few yards just to be able to experience it. They all just said that usually only one or two people in a group of four want a turn so they just don't ask who wants a turn up front or stop often enough to let everyone have a chance. Autumn even at this point handed me her card and asked me to put her name in for a compliment on the Princess cruise cards as the guides who get the most get a bonus. One staffer did offer to let me hold a brand new puppy that most guests don't get to hold to make it up to me. But since I'm not really a dog person, it wasn't the thrill that I guess he thought I'd have. My husband and sons really felt so badly for me and it diminished their enjoyment as they felt badly that I hadn't had a turn to drive the sled. Each said they'd have happily given me their turn if we had just known only 3 turns would be offered. The staff just said we'd just have to get back on the choppers soon, even though we were the first group to begin and end our sled ride and our chopper was one of the last to return. They were not flexible at all nor did they offer any discount or refund.

In final--my parents took a dogsled ride several years ago in Skagway, and their experience was on the dirt soil so their sled did not go very far. The glacier they walked on was in a different location than the dogs. That excursion was slightly cheaper than the Juneau Temsco one, but not nearly as enjoyable as the dogs can't pull far without the snow. If I were to choose between the two, Juneau would be my recommendation. I would just make sure that I let the dog team driver know how many people in the group of four wanted a turn to drive the sled and work out an agreement at the beginning. Otherwise you will feel your day and money were wasted and leave frustrated. You shouldn't have to do it, but I guess it's required when you hire young college students who love dogs but don't have good people skills.

BTW, our whale watching tour with Alaska Galore in Juneau was fantastic. Check out my review on it. And please check YES if my review was helpful. My kids love to see how many votes we receive. THANKS!

42  Thank CaryPlanner
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 18, 2013

We booked through our cruise. It was definitely an expensive excursion but worth every penny. I would do it again without a hesitation.

Our excursion started with a helicopter ride to Mendenhall Glacier and a dog sled ride on the glacier. The views from the helicopter was amazing. When John, our pilot, went over the top of the mountain and you're greeted by the glacier... words can not express. It is just AMAZING!
Trust me when I say there is a difference between looking at a glacier and being on it. The dog sledding was so much fun.

**Bring money with you on the helicopter ride. You need to tip the dog sled guide and you will need money to buy pictures they take of you on your dog sled ride.
**You also need to tip your pilot as you get off the helicopter when you return. Temsco needs to come up with a better plan. In Hawaii, we were given envelopes with our pilots name so we can leave the tip with the office.

1  Thank Emilynyc14
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 12, 2013

Loved your helicopter tour, pilot explained all the surroundings so well, the guides at the glaciers did a good job.

We enjoyed it a lot; my kids are still asking how much I paid for it. Hey, but they don't need to worry about money when they are with their parents; right?

Thank TripsiloveTotake
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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