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This is just too good.... North Cascade Heli-Skiing

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

Here is another area that flies under the radar but is incredible.  From Spokane, it's just a three hour drive to the west to Mazama, WA where NCHS is headquartered.  It's worth the trip!  Check out this video to get a sense of what's in store when you get there.  Also, check them out at http://www.heli-ski.com/blog/  You'll be sooooo glad you did!

 

post #2 of 14

That was nice to wake up to.  Now I want to go heli skiing!

post #3 of 14

I was looking at these guys and thinking that it would be a great trip.  As the crow flies they're only a short distance from my house, but if I want to drive there in the winter it takes 8 hours, minimum.  I heard that they can arrange to fly over the mountains to pick skiers up on the west side and I was STOKED. Then I found out what it costs.  Oh, well.  In another life.

post #4 of 14

Everyone knows they're on probation with the FS and could have their permit revoked, right? I've really wanted to ski with them as well but this whole incident leaves a bad taste in my mouth. 

 

http://www.wenatcheeworld.com/news/2012/oct/11/probation-for-heli-skiing-outfit-that-illegally/

post #5 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trekchick View Post

That was nice to wake up to.  Now I want to go heli skiing!

 

Uh oh...Phil's not going to be happy with me...

post #6 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Christy319 View Post

Everyone knows they're on probation with the FS and could have their permit revoked, right? I've really wanted to ski with them as well but this whole incident leaves a bad taste in my mouth. 

 

http://www.wenatcheeworld.com/news/2012/oct/11/probation-for-heli-skiing-outfit-that-illegally/

 

I don't know the specifics on this, other than what I read in the article. But their permit is still active under probation, not revoked, and they're open for business.  It's a great place to ski and so long as they're operating, now under greater scrutiny, I would say it would be worth the while to check them out.

 

By the way, it sounded like the three people who lodged the initial complaint are snowmobile skiers who don't like having the competition for turns.  It wasn't that someone was so concerned about the environmental damage but more interested in having the place for themselves: Turf war.  That information's from a friend of mine who talked to one of the owners of NCHS about it.

post #7 of 14
Quote:
By the way, it sounded like the three people who lodged the initial complaint are snowmobile skiers who don't like having the competition for turns.  It wasn't that someone was so concerned about the environmental damage but more interested in having the place for themselves: 

Why does any of that matter? The company's actions are indefensible. They had no permit to cut anything, they cut ~250 year old trees in a very tough alpine environment, on public land, in areas that are favorites of hikers and backpackers, so they could land helicopters for their personal profit. When the FS found out they cut trees in one location, they lied about other cutting. Once they were fully busted, the variety of excuses that came out--they thought they could, they have a new pilot from Alaska and he thought they could because they can in Alaska--was pretty ridiculous. I notice now they are done with excuses and have apologized, but like one of the FS spokesmen points out, you have to wonder about the operation in general if they are willing to do something as eggregious as this. 

post #8 of 14
Thread Starter 

I'm not making excuses for them or anything, just reporting a comment I heard.  Anyway, they're still permitted and in operation and the skiing there can be incredible!  

post #9 of 14

They cut trees to make the heli landing safer and skiing safer(the snags).  Sounds like a good outfit to me!  I'm sure there are plenty of 250 yr old trees up there, mother nature won't miss a couple dozen of them.

post #10 of 14
Thread Starter 

This just got bumped to the front page.  Thanks, Nolo!

 

 

1000

post #11 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by SnowbirdDevotee View Post

They cut trees to make the heli landing safer and skiing safer(the snags).  Sounds like a good outfit to me!  I'm sure there are plenty of 250 yr old trees up there, mother nature won't miss a couple dozen of them.


This comment is unbelievable!  Stay out of my state!!!

 

If it's not safe they shouldn't be landing there.  They should have been shut down for an entire season, or even forever.

post #12 of 14
Thread Starter 

Here's a new development with regard to NCHS' probationary status with the Forest Service.  Sounds like they're not singing Kumbaya together at this point.

 

http://www.heli-ski.com/blog/

 

 

UNFORTUNATE NEWS

December 28, 2012

 

Talk about a lump of coal in the old stocking. We have encountered a new challenge here at North Cascade Heli: User days. We are out of them and can no longer take additional reservations even though we have plenty of openings on our 70-day schedule.
How did this come to be?
First of all, the definition of a user day is counted as one person stepping on to public national forest land for any given amount of time on that particular day. Whether you arrive at our backcountry yurt in the late afternoon and pop open a beer on the couch without making a single turn, or ski 15 runs down Spire Gully above the hairpin curve on Highway 20, each of those activities constitutes a user day. And due to the modest growth of our operation, especially the successful popularity of our backcountry yurt program, those days are now at a premium. Going ahead, we foresee increased costs for our guests with a decrease in availability and program variety.
The Methow Valley Ranger District of the United States Forest Service has been unable or unwilling to allocate more user days so we can offer our services to more guests. Currently, we have only 1,050 user days available, despite terms of our operating permit that allow us to: Operate from December 1 to April 30, utilize two helicopters and run two backcountry ski huts. This year we will be open for roughly 70 days, run one helicopter and operate the yurt at Barron. The yurt alone this year will use over 600 days.
It is a frustrating situation and we would like to apologize for not being able to book more reservations at this time. We are placing inquiries onto a wait list as additional user days are freed up by not being used, most likely in the case of weather days.
If you are concerned about this unfortunate scenario, you are welcome to contact us for more information.
You can also convey your concerns to:
Mike Liu, Methow Valley district ranger, (509) 996-4000, milu@fs.fed.us
Rebecca Heath, Regional forest supervisor, (509) 664-9200, blheath@fs.fed.us
Kent Connaughton, Forest supervisor, (503) 808-2200, kconnaughton@fs.fed.us
Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, 5th Congressional district, 509-353-2374

Thank you for your time and consideration in this manner.

post #13 of 14

I miss WA

post #14 of 14

Every post about them makes them sound worse and worse. So nothing's changed in their permit, they just want more business, and instead of being contrite and toeing the line after logging those trees, they're asking people to lobby the FS and their congresswoman so they can make more money. Otherwise, they'll have to charge us more and reduce service! Give me a break. Guess what, NCHS, you aren't the only folks out there in the North Cascades and there are plenty of other constituencies that would love to have no helicopters buzzing overhead. What a bunch of crybabies.

 

This is a shame; I really did want to ski with them someday but at this point I'd have to see a change in ownership before I considered it.

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