Maximize your experience in the North Cascades

North Cascade Heli operates in a rugged backcountry environment where weather and snow conditions change rapidly. Maximize your experience by coming prepared with the necessary gear and clothing. Modern and well-functioning ski and riding gear is crucial for creating a safer and much more enjoyable experience. If you have questions or need recommendations regarding gear or attire email us at info@heli-ski.com.

 

North Cascade Heli
Skis & Snowboards

Due to the nature and type of snow conditions that we encounter, we strongly recommend that you use fat powder skis or longer, wider snowboards that are better suited for backcountry riding. More flotation equals more fun!

We encourage our guests to use our complimentary K2 powder skis mounted with Marker Bindings or K2 Snowboards. Our line of skis includes K2 Coombas, Darksides, Hellbents and Pontoons with various widths and lengths. However, please feel free to bring your own skis or board. Generally, shorter and wider powder skis and wider boards with rocker are better suited for our terrain and snow.

We prefer that you use alpine bindings and boots for our heli-skiing program, but you may use AT or Telemark equipment.

Bring your own boots as we don’t provide boots. Ski and snowboard boots should provide plenty of warmth and be flexible enough to allow easy bending at the knees and ankles. Finally, ski poles with larger baskets make traveling in deep snow easier, and snowboarders are encouraged to carry a pair of collapsible poles.

North Cascade Heli
Clothing

We may experience highly variable weather conditions during a full day in the mountains. The goal is to stay warm and dry, block wind, and prevent excessive sweating and overheating. Layering is key so that you may add/remove layers since conditions can change rapidly in the backcountry (no cotton).

Key layers include:

  • Waterproof/windproof/breathable hard-shell jacket and pants
  • Warm synthetic mid-layer under jacket
  • Synthetic base layers
  • Ski/snowboard socks

Additional items to bring include:

  • Compressible puffy jacket/vest
  • Warm ski hat/beanie
  • Waterproof gloves
  • Goggles
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen
  • Lip balm
  • Balaclava/neck gaiter (thin)
  • Reusable 1 liter water bottle (avoid plastic bottles)
  • Helmet (optional)
  • Backpack (20 liters is optimum)

Avalanche Safety Gear

Please note that avalanche safety gear is mandatory for all of our backcountry programs. We require you to use our BCA transceivers plus shovels and probes. We also provide a backpack that is small and light with enough room for avalanche safety gear, extra clothing, water and food, but if you bring your own pack please keep it at 20 liters or less to facilitate loading gear in the heli basket. Avoid packing extra items to save weight and space.

Avalanche airbag packs are optional. We do not have airbag packs or canisters available nor do we fill canisters. The Goat’s Beard Mountain Supplies shop in Mazama rents BCA Float 22 packs. You can reserve by calling 509-996-2515.