Packing List for Heli Skiing Trip
What to Pack for Heli Skiing
HELISKI.com combined this packing list for heli skiing trips from some of our partners. Below is what to pack for heli skiing from BC and Alaska heli skiing operators.
We recommend bringing the following gear based on your personal needs:
- Mid Weight Base layer – Top and Bottoms
- Pull Over or Zip Neck Micro Fleece Top
- Down Puff Vest or Hybrid Vest
- Compressible Down or Synthetic Insulated jacket
- Waterproof Shell and Pants – Think Gore Tex
- Gloves (bring two pairs)
- Goggles and Sunglasses
- Wool or synthetic socks At least 3 pairs
- Neck gaiter and or Light Balaclava
- Ski Hat
- SunScreen and Lip Balm
Après / Life on Thompson Pass
These items will ensure your continued comfort off the slopes
- Jeans and Casual Attire
- Snow Boots
- Light Hikers
- Down or synthetic Jacket
- Heavy Down or Synthetic Jacket
- Snow Boots
- Extra Ski Socks
- Ski Hat
- Ski or Snowboard Boots (Please ensure that your ski/board boots are suitable for being out in cold temperatures all day. Ie. Roomy enough for toe wiggling and warmers.)
- 1-2 pairs of gloves or mitts (one light, one warm)
- Ski or Snowboard Helmet
- Waterproof Ski/Snowboard Pants
- Waterproof Ski/Snowboard Jacket
- Insulated Jacket (ie. Down or Primaloft)
- Warm Fleece or lightly insulated layer
- Scarf or Neck Tube
- Toque or Beanie
- Merino Wool Base layer (Top)
- Merino Wool Base layer (Bottom)
- Merino Wool Ski or Snowboard Socks
- Winter Boots or Rubber Boots (for transfer days)
- Casual ApresSki and Dinner wear
- Bathing Suit for Hot Tub
- Running Shoes/ Fitness Gear
- Slippers or comfortable shoes (lodge shoes are available as well)
- Charging Devices
We recommend that you dress in layers for skiing and riding. Layering provides better protection against the cold than wearing one large, heavier layer.
Boots as carry-on
Try to bring your boots as a carry-on item on the airplane. If your main luggage is lost or delayed, you’ll still be able to ski or ride!
Our lodges use standard Canadian 110-volt electrical outlets (same as in the US). Please pack a voltage converter if you require one.
If you forget something, our lodges have retail shops that are well-stocked with helmets, goggles and outdoor apparel from high-quality brands like Arc’teryx, Hestra, Smartwool, Smith and others. Our shops also carry necessities such as batteries, hand warmers, lip balm and ear protection for the helicopter.
Travel days at the heli-pad:
- Sturdy, warm footwear such as hiking boots or Sorel-style winter boots
- Toque or wool hat (no ball caps, please. They tend to fly away!)
- Warm jacket
- Long, casual pants or a base layer
- Optional but recommended for cold weather: snow pants
- Ski or snowboard boots
- Snow pants
- Shell jacket with a warm layer underneath, or a one-piece suit
- Mitts or gloves
- Wool hat/toque or helmet liner
Note: helmets are not mandatory for all CMH heli-skiing trips, but we highly recommend you wear one. Helmets are mandatory for all Steep Shot & Pillow Drops trips. A helmet that offers a low-profile or 3/4 coverage shell and a removable ear cover are the best for heli-skiing, as the ear covers can be removed easily depending on the temperature. Helmets that fully cover the ear (e.g. race helmets) may be a safety hazard if they prevent you from hearing your guide’s instructions.
- Multi-layer clothing for skiing – try to choose technical fabrics that wick away moisture, dry quickly and keep you warm
- 3-4 pairs of comfortable, warm socks
- Neck warmer or buff
In addition to the items in the above general packing list, please ensure you bring:
- Snowboard boots
- Snowboard (or you can reserve a board with us)
- Collapsible poles for traversing (optional)
- Spare snowboard parts (optional, but recommended)
Ski tourers (Ski Touring or Fusion trips):
- Ski touring boots
- Ski touring skis
- Ski poles (adjustable style poles if possible)
- Ski crampons to fit appropriate bindings
- Soft shell and or light waterproof breathable pants
- Softshell jacket
- Waterproof breathable jacket
- Sun hat
- Sunglasses with dark lenses and good coverage
- Waterproof breathable ski gloves
- Lightweight fleece gloves
- Water bottle. Note: Bladder-style water systems are not recommended, as they may freeze with colder temperatures and leakage happens often!
- Lightweight and medium weight base layers or long underwear
- Backpack (approximately 40 litre / 10.5 gallon capacity)
- Blister kit
At the lodge:
- Light workout clothes for morning warm-up class
- Bathing suit for hot tub/sauna
- Indoor shoes, sandals or slippers
- Casual clothing for around the lodge
- Optional items: alarm clock, camera, electronics, chargers, voltage converter
What not to bring
Your room is stocked with:
- Hand and body wash
- Hair dryer
First, let’s go through the gear: Boots. Whether you’re skiing or boarding, bring your boots. Travel tip: to avoid any bad surprise when exiting the airport, bring your boots onboard as carryon luggage. For skis and boards, we have powder skis available for those on two planks and a selection of powder boards as well (although snowboarders are encouraged to bring their own boards because of our limited selection). We also have adjustable ski poles. On the safety front, we provide beacons, shovels, probes and ABS Avalanche Airbag Packs, as well as some training on how to use everything.
Next, Eyewear: One of the most critical pieces of kit in the mountains is proper eyewear. For heliskiing, this comes in the form of goggles and sunglasses. For goggles, if you can, bring a couple of pairs or at least extra lenses. It’s nice to have lenses for lowlight days as well as some dark lenses for those epic sunny days. Even on lowlight days, it’s bright when you’re skiing on a glacier. If you’re more into sunglasses, we recommend the same thing. Bring a couple of options. Some folks opt for goggles when it’s stormy and sunglasses when it’s sunny. Either way, eyewear is critical. It helps you see and also protects your eyes from snow, wind and faceshots.
Clothing: Clothing on a ski trip is two fold. First, you need your winter clothing. Outer layers, insulating layers and base layers. I like to bring a mix. A few different sets of base layers start things off. Next, I always have some sort of warmer weather softshell layer for those epic days in the sunshine. Another item I always have with me is an insulating layer. I am a fan of down, but some folks prefer synthetic insulation like Primaloft or Coreloft. Either way, it’s always nice to have a puffy jacket in your pack to stave off the winter chills. Finally, I have a shell. My choice has always been to have a Gore-Tex shell. It’s waterproof, breathable and durable. I tend to err on the large side with a shell so I can layer underneath. Last are your gloves. Bring lots of them. I tend to use leather faced gloves and always go away with three pairs; a light pair for warmer temps, a medium waterproof pair for everyday use and a thick, warm and waterproof pair for cold days. And I keep them in my pack so I always have something warm and dry to change into.
Next is casual clothing. Bring some hang out clothes, winter boots and a comfy pair of shoes. There’s nothing better after a day of skiing then changing into a comfy pair of jeans, thick socks and a cozy sweater before dinner. Either way, bring a few items you can wear at night and around the lodge. Finally, bring a swimsuit. It makes using the sauna and hot tubs easy.
Electronics: First, bring a camera. This may be your smartphone or a top of the line DSLR. But you definitely will want to take pictures. I always have both. Next, should you bring a computer? Last Frontier Heliskiing operates in a remote setting. Our internet connections are a little slow compared to what you’re used to but by all means, bring whatever you need. I always bring my computer ’cause I like to work on photos at night. And sometimes I do, in fact, need to check my email every couple of days. Beyond that, I always bring some headphones and an ipod or phone with music.
Miscellaneous: Ok, so this might be a tad subjective, but there are a few key items on this list. First, bring your passport, even if you are coming from Canada. In Stewart, it’s a necessity so you can walk over the border to Hyder, Alaska. Then, never travel without a credit card or travel insurance that covers guided adventure tourism (such as heliskiing). We do accept Mastercard, American Express and VISA at our two lodges. Books. I never travel without something to read. The easy way is an e-reader, but I tend to bring books. On the flip side to having something to read is having something to write. I never leave home without a notebook. Whether it’s jotting down ideas, thoughts or keeping a log of my trip, having a pen and paper is always handy. A few other items that come in handy are some ibuprofen, sunscreen, a few extra toques, and a harmonica.
Last, bring a snorkel, ’cause when it snows up here, it’s deep, and you’ll need it to breathe.
Packing for any trip is a process that few look forward to; decisions need to be made about what to bring and what to leave behind; Packing for heli skiing at Northern Escape Heli Skiing in Terrace, BC, Canada, is no exception. With specific needs for skiing, snowboarding, and lodge life, here are a few recommendations from Northern Escape staff and past guests on what essentials to bring with you.
The list of must haves is pretty simple: Ski/Snowboard Boots. They are the one essential item that you must have that are personal and difficult to replace. We would highly recommend that you bring them in your carry-on luggage, and not to let them out of your sight! Everything else can be borrowed or replaced if the worst-case scenario of an airline misplacing luggage were to occur.
There are a few other items that is recommended to tuck into your carry-on in case of luggage misplacement, space allowing; a pair of goggles, ski gloves, a base layer, and any other personal items that you will need for your stay.
For ski wear, we recommend dressing in layers. The average skiing temperature in Northern Escape Heli-Skiing terrain is around -6 degrees Celsius. Start with base layer and mid layers such as icebreaker long underwear. Icebreaker is made from Merino wool and, on top of being warm, it is non-itchy, wicks moisture, and resists odors. An outer layer such as an Arc’teryx shell made of Gortex that is wind and waterproof will keep you warm and dry. Another piece of attire that is nice to have under your shell for colder days to keep your core warm is an insulated vest or soft shell. A neck/face warmer or bandana is usually a good idea to ward off cooler temps or the deep powder spray that we are known for. It is essential to keep your head warm; modern helmets usually do double duty of protection and warmth, but a ski hat or toque will work as well. If you have extra room it never hurts to bring sunglasses, an extra pair of gloves, and an additional base layer.
The lodge atmosphere at Northern Escape is outdoor casual, so jeans, and comfortable clothes are the norm. If space is tight, one pair of shoes should suffice. Don’t forget to pack a bathing suit to enjoy the hot tubs and sauna.
Northern Escape Heli-Skiing has a fleet of high-end powder skis and snowboards that are included in the price of your package. So unless you have a custom set-up that you want to stick with, leave your boards at home and save the extra baggage expenses the airlines love to charge.
Heliskiing at Tyax Lodge is incredible. With some of the best terrain and snow in the world, it’s easy to see why we’ve been operating here since 1991. Back then the ski technology and equipment was nothing like we have today, with some skiers being limited by their gear.
However, in recent years improvements have been made in every department. We now have ski clothes that stay dry and warm in any condition and skis that float across the deepest, lightest powder. Check out our guide on the latest and greatest ski gear for your next trip to Tyax Lodge!
SKI JACKET – ARC’TERYX RUSH JACKET
Arc’teryx is a true BC brand. They’re based in North Vancouver and know the demands that this part of the world puts on ski gear. When you’re out in the backcountry, you can be at the mercy of the elements. Your ski jacket is your first line of defense against the icy winds and falling snow. In our minds, there is no better ski jacket than the Arc’teryx Rush.
The GORE-Tex 3-layer system does a fantastic job of keeping you and your base layers dry. The pores on this material are so small that water molecules cannot pass from the outside in. The Arc’teryx Rush jacket is also windproof! It has everything you need to keep you comfortable while heliskiing.
SKI PANTS – ARC’TERYX SHASHKA PANT
When shopping for a new pair of ski pants you should keep in mind what specific features you need to the intended use. As we do a lot of incredible backcountry skiing in deep powder we love wearing a bib pant.
The Arc’teryx Shashka pant has a higher rise on the waist and is secured with suspenders. This means there’s a much lower chance of getting any chilly snow down your back! The pants are made of GORE C-KNIT™, which keeps you dry, while also being soft and comfortable. There’s also a pad of Keprotec™ on the instep of the pants. This material helps prevent cuts in the pant from crampons or ski boots.
BASELAYERS – SMARTWOOL MERINO 250 BASE LAYER
A warm and breathable base layer is an often mistakenly, overlooked aspect of our ski gear. Sitting on our skin, the base layer needs to keep us warm while also allowing our sweat to escape. Merino wool is the best material for this. It is made with the wool from the merino sheep, who are native to New Zealand. The unique properties of the wool allow it to keep us warm when we’re cold and also allows us to cool down on warmer days. The material is also very quick drying and anti-microbial, which helps prevent it from smelling after heavy use.
Smartwool has been the industry leaders in merino wool department for a number of years now. The Merino 250 Base Layer is the best choice for a heliskiing base layer. It’s slim fitting, the seams are designed to reduce chaffing, and it’s their warmest base layer.
GOGGLES – OAKLEY AIRBRAKE® XL
Nothing ruins a day of skiing quite like fogged up goggles. We really need to have optimal vision when we’re skiing down steep terrain and through thick forests, not stopping to air out our goggles. We also need a good lens that allows us to see different changes in the ski area.
The Oakley Airbrake® XL is a fantastic choice for skiing at Tyax Lodge. This is a large goggle that allows for a greater field of vision and has Switchlock™ Technology that makes swapping lenses out quick and easy. This goggle comes with a Prizim lens which is Oakley’s premium lens.
GLOVES – ARC’TERYX FISSION
Cold and wet fingers in winter are one of our least favorite things in winter. Once the cold gets in, it can be very hard to shake off. The key to an enjoyable day is keeping your hands warm and dry. A good glove should be waterproof, have sufficient warmth technologies and be durable.
The Arc’teryx Fission is the perfect choice. This is one of the best women’s ski glove on the market. Primaloft® insulation will keep you warm all day long, while the GORE-TEX® lining keeps your hands dry. The Fission gloves have a hardwearing Fortius™ 1.0 softshell outer and leather exterior. This allows them to be used without worry of damaging the glove. These gloves will take whatever you throw at them!
There you have our rundown on some of the best ski gear on the market. So make sure you get the most out of it by coming to Tyax Lodge this winter!
Points North Heli-Adventures – What to Bring Heli Skiing
- Avalanche transceiver (provided)
- Climbing harness (provided)
- Probe pole (provided)
- Ski / Snowboard backpack (provided)
- Small shovel (provided)
- Water bottle (no camelbacks, they freeze up). PNH sells Klean Kanteen water bottles for $30
- Motorola Talkabout or BCA BC Link radio. Any talk-about radio will be fine. As long as the channels go up to 20-0. Amazon.com as great deals on these. You should be able to find radios for $30 (they come in a pack of 2). Please note, if you absolutely cannot find a radio, PNH has extras.
We feel that the following list will make your trip that much more enjoyable. Please note, we recommend dressing in layers when heli skiing. Long under, fleece and jacket.
- Powder jacket and pants
- Warm hat and gloves (temp. range 0 – 40F)
- Waterproof jacket and pants (boats and sea kayaks)
- Camera / film
- Video camera
- Gym shoes (indoor dodge ball and basketball)
- Bathing suit (sauna at base and pool in town)
- Fishing pole (for later April only)
- Winter boots. It can get cold, wet, snowy and sloshy at base and in town.
- Carry-on bag with ski boots, helmet, goggles, gloves
- Suitcase of a maximum of 25-30 pounds ( no large hard-sided suitcase )
- High quality outerwear ( Gore-Tex or similar ) for all conditions and temperatures
- Base layers / Mid layer ( insulation or fleece )
- Warm headwear / buff face protection
- Ski socks
- Casual clothing, slippers or light shoes to wear in the lodge
- Regular boots (mud/snow)
- Bathing suit (sauna/spa/hot tub)
- Sunglasses /Sunscreen/chapstick
- Basic toiletries and medication
- No need to bring shampoo, conditioner, soap and lotion as they are supplied in each bathroom
- Airline Tickets
- Passport / ID
- Visa (if applicable)
- Extra goggles
- Extra gloves/mittens
What to wear on your flight:
On the morning of your flight from Air Elite terminal building to Silvertip Lodge, we strongly suggest that you dress in your winter gear.
Winter in Alaska is like nothing else. From February to April, Tordrillo Mountain Lodge is the home base for some of the best heli skiing in the world. If you’re wondering what to pack for winter in Alaska, we’ve got you covered with this list.
Winter Weather Averages*
Month High / Low (°F)
February 27° / 17°
March 31° / 20°
April 43° / 32°
*Temperatures in the mountains generally ranges between 0° to 20° F
- Ski/Snowboard Boots (we demo skis/boards, but not boots)
- Helmet (optional)
- Ski/Snowboard Jacket & Pants
- Lightweight Puffy Jacket & Rain Shell
- Warm Gloves
- Warm HatFleece
- Merino WoolBoots for around property
- Swimsuit for Hot Tub & Sauna
- Comfortable Après Clothes
- CameraVideo camera
- Lip Balm