It’s all very exciting – you’ve got your trip booked; flight tickets in hand; passport at the ready… you can practically smell the powder! However, you’re standing over an empty bag thinking – have I got everything? We’ve pulled together our top packing tips to make sure that you’re all set.
What ski clothes to pack?
Having good ski gear for your heli skiing trip is extremely important as there’s nothing more annoying than being cold or soggy when out on the mountain. Our key advice here is layers – ideally you need to have a great quality outwear, insulating layer and a base layer. That way you can layer up (or down) as necessary depending on the weather.
If you’re worried about being too hot on the mountain then you will have space in your little CMH rucksack (provided) for a small thin layer; equally this comes in handy to store an extra layer for those who get cold when resting for lunch which is eaten in the field.
Make sure you have a waterproof, breathable and durable outer layer – preferably a Gore-Tex Pro jacket. We love the gear by Arc’Teryx; their ski jackets have storm hoods and powder skirts for those deep days and zips under the arms for some air on the sunny days! They also feature large easily accessible pockets to fit anything you might need on the mountain such as a two-way radio. PURE POWDER TIP: If you’re heading to Canada then you’ll find a good selection of Arc’Teryx kit in the lodge shop if you fancy a little shopping spree (and they are CMH branded!)
This layer is hugely important – especially when the mercury drops low – and can be put on or taken off depending on the weather conditions. For this reason, you want something light, packable and most importantly something that is going to keep you warm. We recommend a light down jacket or synthetic such as Prima-Loft or CoreLoft.
The base layer needs to be something that has excellent sweat wicking ability to allow the sweat from your skin to escape so that you remain warm. Merino is a great base layer as it will not only wick away the moisture but it also adapts to your body temperature – so it’s perfect for all conditions.
What ski accessories do I need?
As well as clothing, you need to pack other accessories to make sure you have the best possible trip…
Goggles are one of the most important things you will need – so you need to bring the right ones! PURE POWDER TIP: This is especially important when heli skiing, as you are regularly moving from a heated helicopter back outside to the cold – which can lead to fogging goggles. And the surest way to spoil a powder run is to not be able to see anything on the way down. As a general rule of thumb the more space between your face and the goggles the better. We love the Smith goggles I/O range – they have different sizes for different faces. They also have changeable lenses to suit the conditions and an excellent ventilation system to stop fogging!
There is nothing worse than having cold hands when you’re stuck outside. Make sure you have warm gloves for your trip – PURE POWDER TIP: ones with long sleeves are even better for powdery conditions. We recommend mittens as these will trap body heat by keeping all your fingers together. You also want something waterproof, preferably Gore-Tex to keep your hands dry and toasty!
Bryan Fox at CMH Galena
We highly recommend bringing a buff whilst heli skiing, some days can get extremely cold, where you will want every inch of your skin covered up. These are perfect to pull up and down over your face whilst skiing and in the helicopter.
In extremely cold temperatures, it may also be useful to bring a beanie/helmet hat to wear under your helmet, to ensure you are toasty warm whilst out in the field.
This is obviously optional, but when you are embarking on the holiday of a lifetime you’ll want to capture it all to guarantee bragging rights when back home! A GoPro is a lot easier to use than a regular camera – especially with deep snow around – and you can attach it to your helmet to film all those epic lines! PURE POWDER TIP – attach your Go Pro on to your helmet so it doesn’t interfere with your transmitter or attach it to a GoPro pole
What hardware do I need?
Ski or snowboard boots should be the number one item on your packing list as you can beg, borrow or steal pretty much anything else for your trip, but if you are in a remote heli ski lodge with no ski boots then you won’t be heading up the mountain! PURE POWDER TIP: We always recommend carrying your boots as hand luggage on your flight just to make sure they arrive with you.
We highly recommend brining and wearing a helmet for your heli skiing trip. Not only does it keep you much warmer than a regular beanie, but it seriously decreases risk of an injury if you fall and hit your head. When spending a lot of time in the trees, we think a helmet is 100% essential!
AIRBAGS/AVALANCHE FLOATATION DEVICES (AFDs)
Some operators will provide you with AFDs, and some will offer a rental service – or you can of course bring your own. Whether you wear one is totally up to your personal preference.
OTHER THINGS TO CONSIDER
– Swimmers for the hot tub
– Flip Flops for the spa
– Exercise gear for the gym/warm up stretch classes
– Eye mask for the flight if you’re wanting to catch up on some Zzz