Heliskiing is definitely an amazing winter adventure. Being dropped off in remote, unspoiled mountains, and having the chance of skiing long runs in pristine powder snow it’s just the dream of every skier. Whether you are setting out on a week-long trip in the Canadian Rocky Mountains, or going for a single day of heliskiing in the Italian Aosta Valley, having the right equipment is essential and can really make or break your experience.
Packing for a heliski trip requires a bit of planning. To help you identify the main gear and clothing you will need, we’ve come up with this checklist:
Ski boots or snowboarding boots. These are the most important item on your packing list! They should fit you perfectly and be comfortable. Ideally, they should not be brand new. Pro tip: pack them in your carry on, just in case the rest of your luggage is delayed. At ski lodges, they usually provide the rest of the equipment, but they don’t provide ski boots.
Powder skis. Check out with your mountain guide to see which equipment they are able to provide. Generally, skis are provided but snowboarders are encouraged to bring their own board.
Goggles. They serve two different purposes: safety (protecting your eyes from wind and snow) and allowing you to have good visibility and enjoy the views. Anti-fog snow goggles are a good option. Also, some of them have interchangeable lenses to adjust your vision to the prevailing conditions. Try to bring different options if possible.
Sunglasses. Though you’ll probably wear goggles when skiing, sunglasses may be useful for lunchtime or while skinning.
Gloves. It’s better to carry both a light and a warmer pair of gloves.
Snow Helmet. Try to use a helmet with removable ear pads, so that you can listen to your guide’s instructions. Also, make sure to check out that your goggles and helmet fit well together.
Ski poles. Adjustable poles are better for skiing in the backcountry, because you can use them in different snow depths.
Avalanche safety kit. This is essential when skiing in the backcountry. It’s generally provided by your guide but consists of an avalanche rescue transceiver, a shovel, a probe, and an ABS avalanche airbag backpack.
Earplugs or muffs. Ear protection for the helicopter can make your trip a much more enjoyable experience.
Clothing and Layering
Gore-tex water-resistant shell. Make sure you can wear a couple of layers underneath.
Waterproof snow pants.
Soft micro fleece shell
Light micro fleece jacket
Sunscreen and lip balm
Swim suit. Most ski lodges have a hot tub or sauna to relax after a long ski day.
Indoor shoes, slippers.
Other clothes. People are very casual at ski lodges, so you don’t need to pack too fancy clothes.
Also, keep in mind that lodges offer laundry facilities.