I was always told Heli-skiing will bring the entire gamut of snow conditions. My experience with it proved that to be true. Wind-pack, breakable suncrust, ice, and of course plenty of fresh pow. That day ranks among my personal top 5.
Not to scare you, but a couple friends of mine have ended up in groups with horribly underskilled skiers in them; wedge christieing Texan and Asian couples on holiday. The good skiers ended up doing a lot of, you guessed it...waiting...as the beginners wallowed around in all those freshies...and the slopes had to be for the lowest common denominator. They weren't given any credit or refund of any kind at all. I guess the moral of the story is to go with a group you know big enough to fill at least one bird. Hey, look at the bright side, it'll still be beautiful.
Philth - funny you should say that the helicopter sent someones snowboard flying last year.
Roto - The group should be around the same standard and I will be one of the least experienced. I doubt anybody will be fed up of waiting because it's a free perk (it makes up for not being able to afford school ski trips, but took a long while coming [img]smile.gif[/img]).
Do I need beacons etc or do they generally supply them. I've heard in the deepest powder it can take a while to find a lost ski - is there anything that will help?
DB, A couple of tips. If they provide decent powder skis use them. If you lose one they may not look long for yours, but will probably want to find their own. They chuck those babies in the basket like cordwood and your personal skis will look abused. If you will be doing a fair amount of tree skiing go with the shorter powder skis. Like roto said expect all conditions. Make sure you stay hydrated and bring high energy snacks. On my trip they provided beacons and training.
Being in good physical condition really helps.
Have fun! My heli trip was an outstanding experience.
Powder cords (I think "Powder Cats" is one brand name) will allow you to find your ski in deep snow easier. Basically, they are long pieces of brightly-colored strap that hook onto your bindings and you stuff up your pants leg. When the ski comes off, the cord gets pulled behind it, floating above the powder.
Another option, although one I wouldn't recommend, is to return to the dark days before ski brakes and tie the ski to your leg. This can get pretty nasty in a fall, but you won't lose a ski.
Fat ski's are a must but they have to be able to hand windblown crust, ice and avalanche debris. I use K2 AK Launchers and they are unstoppable.
My best advice is to train. Lift skiing just doesn't provide the workout that a day of hard heli-skiing will require. So go at it hard on the slopes and do squats or isometric excercises in your spare time.
As for equipment, ask what they provide. Otherwise you'll need beacon, probes, shovel, harness. Look for a small digital video camera that will fit in a jacket pocket. I have the Canon Elura and it is great for skiing. Super pictures and with it's small size it is always available. Also, try www.helmetcam.com for a not too expensize cool way to get some great movies.
Powder Cats I think are made better than a lot of the other "ribbons" I have seen a lot of the cheap ones all shreaded.
One thing I did last year in deep powder is used some velcro to attach my powder cats. It would have ripped off in a big fall but if I just "stepped out" of my skis in a medium or small fall I would have been still attached but I didn't have to worry about having the ski come flying back at me if I fell when not in the powder.
I talked to the guy who went last year and he said they got ski's from the rental shop (X-screams, Bandits etc). I have a pair of K2 Mod X's that I use for off piste, will they be OK or are true Powder ski's the way to go?