Maximize your experience in the North Cascades

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

 

Photo Credit
Josh Cooley
Fat skis for heli-skiing
Skis & Snowboards

We recommend that you use powder skis and snowboards that are better suited for variable backcountry conditions including deep powder. Skis that are 105 mm or wider underfoot are preferred. 

We have a fleet of complimentary K2 powder skis mounted with Marker alpine bindings (none are mounted with touring bindings) and several K2 and Ride Snowboards. Our fleet includes Powabungas, Darksides, Hellbents, Mindbenders and Pontoons with various widths and lengths. However, please feel free to bring your own skis or board if you wish. Generally, shorter and wider powder skis and wider boards with rocker are better suited for our terrain and snow. We have a variety of ski poles for you to use. If you bring your own poles we recommend poles with powder baskets.

We don’t provide ski boots or snowboard boots.

We don't provide alpine touring skis or splitboards.

Photo Credit
North Cascade Heli
Choose the right clothing for heli-skiing
Clothing

We encounter highly variable weather conditions while heli-skiing in the North Cascades. 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 mountains (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:

  • Reusable 1 liter water bottle (avoid plastic bottles) with a secure lid 
  • Compressible puffy jacket/vest 
  • Warm ski hat/beanie
  • Waterproof gloves
  • Goggles (photochromic or interchangeable lenses for variable lighting conditions)
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen
  • Lip balm
  • Balaclava/neck gaiter (thin)
  • Helmet (optional)

Avoid packing extra items to minimize weight and space. Please remember to bring your own reusable water bottle that you may fill up here at the Heli Barn (we have delicious clean water here in the Methow Valley!) since we're no longer providing plastic water bottles and striving to reduce waste. 

Avalanche Safety Gear

Avalanche safety gear is mandatory for all of our heli-skiing programs. We require you to use our BCA transceivers plus shovels and probes. The use of our BCA Float 22 Avalanche Airbags is required for our heli-skiing program. All of our guests will be instructed on the proper use of avalanche airbags before flying. The BCA Float 22 Avalanche Airbag is medium-size yet has enough room to pack your shovel, probe, extra clothing, food, and a reusable water water that you bring.