Gear for Powder Days - Ski Mag

Gear for Powder Days

Powder days are precious. Treat them— and yourself—with the gear they deserve. From specialized skis that will change your life to a beacon and pack that might save it, here’s what you need to surf the deep.
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Powder Day: Cool Cats

Oooo, you heli skiers are so hardcore. But for those of us who don’t wear short-sleeve baselayers so we can admire our own forearms, cat skiing suits just fine. I’ll still think about you, though...when you’re grounded—reading a bad mystery novel all day in a tiny, double-occupancy room next to some dude whose snoring makes the water ripple in your glass—because it’s, you know, snowing. And when our song comes up on my new BFF’s iPod as we churn back up the track for our 12th lap of steep, over-the-head blower. Oh yeah, after your four days of heli are over, two of which you actually flew on, can you pick me up at the airport? Because I can afford to ski here all week. If not, oh well. Our tail guide is suuuuuper cute.

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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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Powder Days in New Zealand

One of the deepest storms in decades just slammed New Zealand's South Island, shutting down airports and roads for many travelers. The skiing, though, was unreal. Here's some deep winter goodness for your hot summer day.