Killclimbz and Snowolf - Thanks for the comments and input.
The only powder I've been in is a few inbound glade runs at Breckenridge with depths up to mid-shin and pockets where it had drifted to mid-thigh. Even that really felt different, very floaty and a different weight distribution. Unfortunately, between now and the proposed trip I don't know how/where I could get any more powder experience. I am getting married in June so all vacation days and money are going to the wedding and honeymoon. I won't be able to take a trip out west this winter. My only hope is that I have co-workers in the Portland area and I am going to try to set up an excuse to get out there for a late afternoon meeting on a Friday and stretch it into a weekend trip.
So any first-timer tips on riding powder?
From what I understand, Snowwater does have cats for those days when the helicopter cannot fly. My coworker (also in Portland) who went with them said the best day of his trip was a cat day when the heli couldn't fly because they got dumped on.
A 3 or 5 day trip would be easier on the wallet but part of my thoughts were that a 7 day trip does give me more flexibility to take a day off, or alternate days, and still get a lot of vertical. I need to look into their itinerary on 5 and 7 day trips to get a better idea of how much time I'd have available. Starting a good fitness program early will also be critical for me!
I downloaded the book Killclimbz suggested on my kindle last night and started reading. I certainly have no illusions that anything I do between now and then is going to be anything more than token/intro knowledge but I'd rather have some basic knowledge on the subject than none at all and above all - be humble that Mother Nature can ruin your day in a heartbeat so pay attention and listen to the guides!
I am leaning more towards my SL at this point. My Premier is from before NS did R&C, it is a camber deck. I love my Proto but I'm thinking between the two for this type of riding the SL may be better just due to the directional nature of the board and the off-set vs. a true centered twin. Am I over-thinking the differences between the two boards in these conditions? I am a gear-whore of the first order and buying a new powder specific deck... I mean you know, if someone with lots of experience in backcountry riding on an internet message board happened to say I'd be better off with a powder board well darnit how could I NOT go buy one. It would be silly to ignore advice like that. Mmmm, new gear!
Alright, thanks again guys. Lots to think about and I have quite a bit more research to do to figure out if this is even feasible. I appreciate the input so much!