Heli-boarding - Snowwater
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:
Any comments or suggestions are welcome and thanks again!
Keep in mind I have only been heli skiing for one day but I am used to skiing in pow and in western Canada.
1 - If you can ride pow on a blue run you will be fine. There will be options to go steeper but you will pick it up quick. IMO it hard to ride ICE than deep pow.
2 - Don't know about the company sorry.
3 - When I went I rode my NS titan 160. It was fine. Just set your bindings one back from where you would normally have them. I have ridden plenty of deep pow on my 155 Evo with my bindings centred. You will be fine. Most companies usually have a Burton Fish or something powdery that you can rent if you are worried.
4 - I would not worry about the pants thing. You might get a bit of snow up your back but it will keep you cool! :)
5 - I have loads of stuff with my gopro. IMO the stuff that works best if the one on the end of a collapsible ski pole. You will have a back pack on as your avi shovel will be in there. So get one of these and a helmet mount and mix it up. Just don't do it on every run otherwise you will focus on that and not on the awesomeness!
6 -You will be doing less runs than normal but you will be working harder. I knew a guy who worked for a heli company and he said this is the most important factor. You want to make sure your legs can handle it. As I said above you will get the pow part in no time but if you are unfit your body will end your trip before you ability does. Start hitting the gym!
7 - Your mate is correct. They will give you the training you need. It doesn't hurt to do a bit before you go out there. I think snowolf has some sticky threads in the Back country section about web based avi training.
Do you realize that you will be ruined for all resort riding after this! ;)
roremc - Thanks for the information! Trust me, here in Ohio my local "resort" is 400-ish vertical feet and and 144 skiable acres. Yes, sit back and reflect on those awesome statistics for a moment. Needless to say, after trips to places like Breckenridge I get all-kinds of depressed taking laps locally. If I can pull this trip off, I might have to just quit to avoid growing despondent!
If you do go make sure you do trip report. Reports on Heli are few and far between! :)
We give free heliboard and heliski advice and recommendations.
We have been to Snowwater, as well as many other heli operators - we represent about 50 locations, essentially all of them.
We have a free article on the Top 10 Things to Consider in a Heliski/board Trip, which may help you.
Snowwater excels at the following:
Snow amounts - surprisingly, they get coastal influence
Small groups (3 groups of 4)
Small Lodge - 12 guests max
Night life (not kidding, they like to party)
Catski/board backup - So no dreaded 'down days'. They are very good at seamlessly switching from chopper to cat and back, too!
Vertical - many packages include unlimited vertical, and they are psyched to rack it up!
Room for Improvement:
Travel is not as easy as some (3.5 hr. drive from Spokane, WA)
Not the least expensive
Snow can be heavier than some at times
You can see our summary on Heliboard.com
And read my recent interview with co-owner Maria here
Regarding the board, most operators carry Burton Fish or Malolo. Call or email them to find out what they have for use.
I am happy to answer questions and/or research the best trips for you, or anyone else.
Chief Powder Officer (CPO)
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