Feb 18-19, 2011, North Cascade Heli

2/18/11
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Posted by jj on 2/19/11 9:21pm
On Tuesday Feb 15 I got an email that two seats were open for a North Cascade Heli trip on Feb 18 and 19.  Given the recent snow and good conditions throughout Washington this seemed like the perfect opportunity.  It was totally irresponsible to skip work on extremely short notice but desperate times call for desperate measures so my friend Matt and I headed up to Mazama after work on Thursday night.

We were pretty excited when we arrived at the NCH barn on Friday morning and the guides described the conditions as the best in recent memory.

Despite a few low clouds on Friday, NCH's experienced pilot, Seamus, fired up the heli at about 9am and we were off.  There was tons of fresh snow and stability was good.  Skiing and boarding was effortless given the exceptionally good snow.  We spent the day dodging the clouds and getting loads of fresh lines all over the northern Cascades.  By the end of the day we'd racked up a dozen heli bumps.

Conditions on Saturday were even better -- total bluebird.  Another day of fresh lines, great terrain, awesome guides and a bad-ass pilot.  We skied some drops that are seldom in play but, due to the great conditions, were good to go.  We tallied 13 bumps by the time Saturday was done.

The NCH crew (Ken, Paul, Michelle, John, Seamus, Dave and all the others) was awesome.  They strike a good balance between safety and fun.  If you've got the time and money you really can't beat a couple days with them in the north Cascades.

Pictures are better than any description I can write so here you go.  Tons more pics can be found at the following links.

http://mattgoyer.smugmug.com/Skiing/NCH-2011-Seat-Takers-Trip-JJ
http://mattgoyer.smugmug.com/Skiing/NCH-2011-Seat-Takers-Trip



Looks like a blast. So was this pure heli-climbing, or their "heli-assisted touring," or what? If the latter, how much actual climbing did you end up doing each day, versus roughly how much heli-climbing?

Seamus is a kick (he was our pilot for our trip to/from Barron Yurt last winter).

author=Jim Oker link=topic=19696.msg83667#msg83667 date=1298222176]
Looks like a blast. So was this pure heli-climbing, or their "heli-assisted touring," or what? If the latter, how much actual climbing did you end up doing each day, versus roughly how much heli-climbing?

Seamus is a kick (he was our pilot for our trip to/from Barron Yurt last winter).

Jim, sounds like it was full heli( 13 bumps etc). From my experience, the guarantee you 7 bumps with full heli day and you have to pay extra after the seventh bump. It's like crack.
When I did heli-touring last year, you got one bump to the top and a commuter run back to the barn.
We skinned after fist descent about 4 to 5k per day.
We found during our 3 day trip that adding a mid-day bump( $75 each extra) was the way to go to maximize heli-touring experience.

Very nice JJ. I need some of that.


Scotsman is correct.  We were doing a full day of heli-assisted riding.  The normal cost is around $970 a day.  However, if you get lucky you can sometimes snag a cancellation for approximately $780 per day.  Extra bumps over the guaranteed seven will run you $75 each.  NCH often announces cancellations on their web site.  You'll also find all the pricing info there.

I suspect you are saying, "That's damn expensive."  It is, and that's what I said when my friends were trying to convince me to go heli-skiing for the first time.  HOWEVER, I've gotta tell you, in my opinion heli-skiing is the most fun a person can have -- period.  It is more addictive than you can imagine.  Every run is the best run of your life.  If you can figure out a way to make a trip happen I highly recommend it.

In terms of heli-touring.  A day at NCH will set you back about $375.  The program is as Scotsman described.  There were two heli-touring groups that left before us on Saturday morning.  They had big smiles on their faces when we saw them back at the heli-barn at the end of the day so I guess they had a good time.

Actually, that is pretty reasonable for a full day of Heli...I did`nt even know we had this in the Cascades  (I have flown with Chugach Powder Guides in Alaska) I will now have to look into this; thanks for posting this!

I got to fly with Seamus outside of Valdez a few years ago. That man know how to park the whirly bird. he touched us down in some wild spots.
Nice images

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2011-02-20 05:21:47