guide to packing for a day of heli-skiing

Packing the right gear for your day of helicopter skiing is essential to the success and comfortability of the day. Powderbird has created the guide for packing gear that will make you an expert.
what to pack for a day of helicopter skiing?


The anticipation begins to build, a day of helicopter skiing in Utah’s backcountry is just one good night’s sleep away. The thought occurs: what do I need to bring?

Helicopter Skiing, unpredictable in nature, promises a variety of weather elements, terrain conditions, and variable situations. Being prepared is an important step in ensuring that you have the best possible experience with Powderbird.

packing guidelines for skiing in the backcountry

When you book a day of heli skiing with Powderbird, our team will walk you through what you can expect from the experience and how to be best equipped. Powderbird provides every guest with an avalanche airbag backpack containing a shovel & probe, as well as an avalanche transceiver. Once you are in the backcountry, you will be grateful that you thought through your equipment prior to taking off.

helicopter skiing gear

Let’s talk about equipment! Of course, some crucial items to remember are your skis or snowboard. Guests are welcome to bring their own, especially if you have a pair of powder-specific skis or board that you feel comfortable on. Powderbird also offers complementary access to our fleet of demo skis made by K2, specifically designed to float in the powder that our Utah backcountry is famous for.

Some other important equipment to make sure you pack includes: poles, boots, helmet, and goggles.

layering clothing for a day of skiing

The key to a happy skier is proper layering. Between the cool rush of wind while flying in the helicopter, the heat built from navigating backcountry terrain, and the chill of staying still in the winter air, your body temperature will vary throughout the day. Some essential clothing items to bring are as follows: wool (or non-cotton) base layers, one to two fleece or down mid-layers, waterproof outer shell jacket and pants, ski socks, neck gaiter or buff, and gloves.

In addition to what you are wearing on your person and equipment, there are a few items you should consider bringing along: sunscreen, your favorite energizing snacks, and a comfortable pair of après ski shoes (after all, après skiing is a sport too).

Now you have your gear gathered and dialed in, it is time to focus on having the best day of your life helicopter skiing in the Utah backcountry with Powderbird!

common heli-skiing questions

Heli-skiing cost

how good do you have to be to heli-ski?

If you can comfortably ski most blues and blacks in any resort, you are typically good enough to enjoy heli-skiing. The truth is helicopter skiing can accommodate a mix of many skier abilities. Many skiers/snowboarders will tell you powder skiing is easier and more effortless than skiing the variable hardpack conditions commonly found in-bounds of ski resorts. The advantage of helicopter skiing is using the helicopter to access large amounts of mixed terrain. In many places like Utah, Canada, and Alaska, the slopes that are accessed will resemble the black, blue, and even green slopes of a ski resort. Helicopter skiing in the backcountry requires a higher level of awareness due to natural objects and obstacles not being removed or marked as they are at a ski resort.

What equipment should you pack heli-skiing?

Equipment to pack for heli-skiing includes:
- Powder-skis or snowboard
- Normal downhill skiing outerwear,
- Ski goggles or sunglasses
- A ski helmet or hat for safety and warmth
- Backcountry safety equipment which is often supplied by the heli-ski operator.

If you don't have your own powder-skis or snowboard, you can use demo ski gear that is supplied by the heli-ski company or a local ski shop.

Where is the best heli-skiing in the world?

Helicopter skiing is offered worldwide, and each geographic location and heli-ski operator provides unique advantages.
However, we believe Utah is the best place for heli-skiing in the world. We're biased, but the proof is here. Alta and the surrounding Wasatch mountains receive over 500+ inches of powder snow each winter. Large snowstorms delivering 12+ inches of snow paired with numerous sunny bluebird days provide optimal ski conditions and fly ability. The Wasatch mountains of Utah include a wide-variety of heli-ski terrain that can accommodate skiers of many different levels. Salt Lake City International Airport is the best-served ski destination airport globally and allows access to both of our locations within a 40-minute drive. Additionally, Park City, Snowbird & Salt Lake City offer robust options for lodging, dining, nightlife, other ski and mountain activities, ski-lifestyle amenities such as spas, shopping, and events.

Is Heli-skiing safe?

Protocols and safety measures are put in place to manage and mitigate the risks of heli-skiing in the backcountry. Still, like any outdoor activity, the risk cannot be completely eliminated, and participants can cause harm to themselves while skiing or riding in the mountains. Avalanches can occur in the backcountry, and backcountry safety equipment such as a beacon and airbag backpack is proven to keep heli-skiers safe. Additionally, safety experts say that helicopter transportation has a good safety record, better than small private planes.

Utah's best helicopter skiing

Founded in 1973 as one of the world’s first helicopter ski operators, Powderbird has grown into a premier, year-round, international guide service.

Today our professional guide team is dedicated to providing our clients with the pinnacle experiences in guided helicopter skiing and mountain adventures.

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