The logistics of our operation make it more challenging to accommodate solo guests, since we operate in multiples of four guests to one guide. With some schedule flexibility on your end, we may be able to sync you with another group looking for other skiers/riders, but we make no guarantees about a perfect match of abilities and fitness.
The Heli Barn has WiFi as does the Freestone Inn. Cell phone service is spotty at the Heli Barn, so your best bet is to bring a calling card or use Skype. Guests with Verizon or AT&T phones will be able to get reception in Mazama proper near the Mazama Store.
Many people choose to purchase trip insurance from one of the many companies offering this service on the internet. It can cover all of your expenses such as plane tickets, lodging, guiding fees, etc., in the event that you have to cancel a trip at the last minute or even during the trip. NCH highly recommends this for all our programs.
Yes. Please inform the NCH office of any dietary restrictions or food allergies at the time you make your reservation. We are generally able to accommodate all dietary needs with advance notice except for Kosher.
Yes, with some stipulations. Guests under the age of 18 must have their Registration Form and Participant Agreement, Release and Assumption of Risk form signed by a parent or legal guardian before beginning their program with us. Guests under 18 must be at least advanced-intermediate skiers or snowboarders, able to quickly and accurately follow their guides' instructions, and able to handle a full day in the mountains under potentially challenging weather and/or snow conditions. If we deem a minor guest to be a risk to themselves or others, we reserve the right to return them to the Heli Barn with no refund. We do not recommend that guests under the age of 14 fly with us.
The Methow Valley has an abundance of recreational opportunities. It is home to the second largest groomed cross-country skiing trail system in the U.S., and also has snowshoeing, ice-skating, sledding and snowmobiling. The nearby town of Winthrop has plenty to do as well, including shopping, enjoying coffee in several coffee shops, visiting art galleries, dining, and wine-tasting.
Avalanches are an inherent risk in any heli-skiing operation. Our priority is mitigating risk and avoiding avalanches. All of our guides have advanced to expert-level training in avalanche forecasting and avoidance, and several of our guides instruct avalanche courses to the public. We monitor weather and snowpack conditions continually throughout the entire snowfall season to gauge avalanche risk in the regions where we operate. During our daily morning guide meetings we choose daily regions and terrain based on numerous available data from a variety of sources including our own observations in the field. We utilize practical backcountry travel techniques and continually assess conditions to avoid being caught in an avalanche. All of our guests start their programs with safety briefings including avalanche and helicopter safety, as well as search practice with an avalanche beacon, probe, and shovel.
Our season generally runs from mid-January to late March. Snow conditions are often good to spectacular throughout our entire season with the usual variability inherent in backcountry terrain. Plus the higher altitude where we operate increases the chances that you will ski fresher, drier powder during your trip. Earlier in the season we tend to experience colder weather with dry powder top to bottom. Later in the season, with longer days and more sunshine, spring conditions are more likely — awesome corn on the south-facing slopes and powder on the north-facing aspects.
There are many beautiful mountain ranges in the world to explore by ski or board. There are also many good heli-ski outfits to help you experience these mountains. We are a small company of guides and staff living at the end of the road in the Methow Valley of Washington state. We consistently hear from our guests that our combination of professionalism, "laid-back" attitudes and intimate size are the reasons they ski or ride with NCH. Our backyard is the rugged east side of the North Cascades — an amazing location for powder skiing and riding, touring and adventure. We go out in small groups of five and come back with big grins.