Harsh weather is one of the realities of winter flying. Each region has its own weather challenges, from high winds to extreme fog and ice, or in some cases, even floods or wildfires. And though airlines and airports have multiple contingency plans to deal with extreme conditions, travelers have a role to play too.

At Stratos Jet Charters, we believe that well-informed executive private jet charter travelers have a better journey. With charter jets for winter, travelers also need to consider contingency plans.

Obviously, no one wants to risk their safety with dangerous airports, but there are things to consider with winter executive jet charters in regards to winter aviation.

So, to help you plan your next flight, here is a list of seven domestic airports that experience extreme winter conditions.


Not surprisingly, 4 of the 7 airports on this list are popular resorts in Colorado. That pristine powder skiing comes at a price – Colorado experiences its share of unpredictable mountain weather. But with some flexibility, executive jet charter travelers can usually find a nearby airport if their first choice is inaccessible.


Breathtaking views, world-class resorts… What’s not to love about Aspen? Executive jet charter pilots would argue that the limited runway approach and mountain winds make Aspen one of the more challenging airports in Colorado. The short runway aspect of this winter getaway, added to Aspen’s popularity and congestion, make Aspen/Pitkin County Airport somewhat troublesome for private jet travel. Fortunately, nearby Rifle and Eagle airports (see below) can act as alternatives.


Colorado is one of the best states to visit for an unforgettable ski or snowboard vacation during the winter season.

Eagle County Regional Airport is the gateway to the ski resorts and winter destinations in Vail. It also has the advantage of a longer, wider runway than at Aspen, making it a better choice for some types of executive jet charter aircraft. However, Eagle is only 40 miles from Aspen, and frequently both airports are affected by the same extreme weather systems.


Garfield County Regional Airport near Rifle has a shorter runway than Eagle, but is situated almost equidistant between Aspen and Vail. It’s a good alternative if one of the other two airports is unavailable.  But as noted, proximity is a mixed blessing. Rifle is not immune to the weather that impacts Eagle and Aspen.


Telluride’s charm and the nearby ski resorts have created a new “gold rush” in the former mining town. Airport congestion is a major concern in the winter. Telluride Regional Airport also has an infamous cliff take-off, with a steep cliff drop-off at the end of the runway. Smart pilots avoid Telluride if there is any chance of extreme runway conditions.


Hailey is 13 miles south of Sun Valley and Ketchum ski areas in Idaho. Hailey’s Friedman Memorial Airport has the advantage of a 7,500-foot runway (longer than Aspen). But, to get to it, your executive jet charter pilots have to fly through turbulent, unpredictable Rocky Mountain weather. Flight diversions can be expected.


The stunning sites of Bozeman are even more beautiful covered in snow.

During winter months, Bozeman Yellowstone International becomes Montana’s busiest airport. Bozeman’s proximity to Big Sky and Yellowstone makes it a magnet for skiers and outdoor enthusiasts.  If congestion or conditions become severe, your pilot may have to divert to Three Forks airport, 30 miles north of Bozeman, or to Ennis Field, 60 miles south of Bozeman.


Jackson Hole Airport is the only airport inside a US national park – Grand Tetons National Park. Not only does it face the usual mountain winter flying challenges, but it is also strictly-regulated for noise abatement and traffic congestion. It’s a stunningly beautiful, but sometimes frustrating destination.  Idaho Falls airport can handle the overflow, but is 80 miles away, requiring additional ground transportation.

Preparing for Winter Aviation by Private Jet

This list isn’t intended to discourage your winter travel. In fact, we hope it will inspire some new destinations for your next executive jet charter getaway or family vacation. After all, winter is one of the most amazing times to visit these destinations.  Plan ahead and call one of our expert Stratos Jet Charter Agents for your next winter charter adventure.

A few things to consider when preparing for flying in extreme weather:

#1. Flying non-stop is the only way to fly. We’ve all seen the horror stories around holidays when commercial airlines have to cancel hundreds or thousands of flights. And a big part of the problem is that everything works in a chain: when one flight is canceled, then the next flight from that plane’s next destination is going to be canceled, too.

Flying non-stop–especially flying private–will prevent this as much as possible. When your plane is only responsible for taking you and not an entire airliner full of passengers, you can be more confident in getting to your destination on time.

#2. Be prepared with alternatives. You should always be aware of what the alternatives are when you’re flying with bad weather. For example, as we mentioned above, a flight into Aspen might divert to Eagle 40 miles away.

Our staff at Stratos will keep you apprised of the situation and will be monitoring your flights. We’ll keep you well-informed of any potential changes in your route.

#3. Don’t be surprised by delays. Flying in extreme weather means there will be delays, whether you’re flying into bad weather or out of it. Flying down into a storm means there may be congestion at the airport and you may be circling for a bit. Flying out of a storm means there may be delays for de-icing or more congestion.

We’ll make every effort to keep you on schedule, but be aware that winter weather often slows things down.

#4. In all things, be patient and enjoy the journey. Remember the carol: “the weather outside is frightful, but the fire is so delightful.” There may be a place to go, but when you’re on a winter vacation sometimes getting snowed in and having to spend some extra time in Colorado or Idaho or Montana can make for some of the best memories.

To book a private luxury jet charter flight to these destinations or anywhere else in the world, call Stratos Jet Charters at 888-593-9066.