Powder Day: Best Birds

Heli skiing is the ultimate ski experience. Sure, there are “heli-quality” mornings at big-vert resorts when the canyon’s closed. But if you’ve got a real powder problem, the only true fix comes with a whiff of aviation fuel. Our advice: Alaska has the rad terrain; B.C. is more reliable. Pray for gray skies if you like tree skiing; sun if you like the mellow high-alpine, where pilots can fly only with good visibility. Put together a strong group: The guides will show you only what your weakest link can handle. Ignore the blowhards in the lodge; there’ll be plenty of cool people to hang with. And be ready to ski—150,000 vert in a week is easy with a Bell 212 waiting at the bottom of every untracked run. You can’t do that in a cat.
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Heli skiing is the ultimate ski experience. Sure, there are “heli-quality” mornings at big-vert resorts when the canyon’s closed. But if you’ve got a real powder problem, the only true fix comes with a whiff of aviation fuel. Our advice: Alaska has the rad terrain; B.C. is more reliable. Pray for gray skies if you like tree skiing; sun if you like the mellow high-alpine, where pilots can fly only with good visibility. Put together a strong group: The guides will show you only what your weakest link can handle. Ignore the blowhards in the lodge; there’ll be plenty of cool people to hang with. And be ready to ski—150,000 vert in a week is easy with a Bell 212 waiting at the bottom of every untracked run. You can’t do that in a cat.