I'm in the early stage of planning a monumental "bucket list" type trip for the 2013/14 season - I want to do a 5 or 7 day heli-boarding trip. Based upon a recommendation of a coworker, I'm looking at Snowwater.
About me - 43 and a bit overweight. I've been snowboarding for 24 years now but almost exclusively in the mid-west region of the U.S. (Ohio, Pennsylvania). I have done a few trips to Colorado over the last few years to Breckenridge. I really do not know how to categorize my skill level as the majority of my experience has been on non-challenging mid-west resort terrain. Obviously on the terrain I have access to here in Ohio, I'd consider my skill level to be advanced but that is not exactly challenging terrain and there is no such thing as backcountry, chutes, bowls, or powder runs. The few trips out west I have not had any trouble at all with black diamond runs. That being said, I also did not hit any of the double-black summit terrain at Breckenridge.
I'd appreciate anyones suggestions or feedback on a variety of subjects:
- Skill Level - Would I be getting in over my head with a guided heli-boarding trip in BC? Yes, I realize this is a horribly subjective question and almost impossible to answer from the internet but I'd be curious for those who have done this type of thing - what was your experience level before hand? Is logging resort-based powder days or having backcountry riding experience more or less important?
- Recommendations - Anyone with experience with the snow water group? Alternative suggestions?
- Board(s) - I do not have a powder specific board. My quiver includes a NS Proto CT 157, a old NS Premier 168 (circa 2002ish?), and a NS SL 155. For a heli-boarding trip of powder riding, I'm assuming the SL or the Premier so the question is would the big-mountain long/stiff Premier be the board to choose or the smaller and more agile NS SL. Or do I just buy a new powder deck?
- Softgoods - I've never rode deep powder so the idea of a powder skirt or a jacket/pants interface has never fit into my buying considerations for coats/pants. How "air-tight" do you need to be in deep powder? Any other softgoods considerations? As a result, my jacket is one manufacturer, my pants another, and the two do not interface. Naturally the jacket has an internal powder skirt although I've never really used it.
- Pics/Video - As this trip may be a once in a lifetime trip for me, I'd like to get some photos and video. Is a GoPro with a helmet mount the best option? Anyone know if the heli-boarding companies offer video/photo packages (didn't see it on any websites I looked at). For example when I went sky-diving I paid the extra for photos and video. Just wondering if this is customary or should I just self-video with a GoPro?
- Conditioning - So how much harder/easier is powder riding all day for 5-7 days vs. resort riding? Anytime I've been out west, I usually would hit days 1-2 and sometimes make it to day 3 very hard (by my standards and fitness level) and need a day to recoup before finishing out the remaining day or two riding. Either way, if I do book this trip I will start a big fitness routine well in advance to make sure I'm in as best as possible shape.
- Avalanche Training - From my coworker I understand snowwater provides ASB packs, probes, shovels, transponder, etc., along with guides for guests and at least some level of training. Any good resources to dig into before the trip like books on avalanche safety? Needless to say in Ohio we don't have avalanche safety courses.
Any comments or suggestions are welcome and thanks again!