What to Pack for a Heli-skiing Adventure

October 30, 2019 Liam Harrap

When William Shakespeare went on holiday, he probably spent the day muttering to himself about what to pack or not to pack, because that’s the real question.

It’s probably the worst part of a holiday. It’s a headache trying to find that lucky pair of underwear, the dusty travel toothbrush or the snow pants that no longer fit because of the new buffet that opened down the street.

Packing is hard, especially for adventure. Regardless, here are some tips to make it easier.

1) Ski boots. They are the most important item. Never, ever come without them. You could arrive naked, except wearing boots and we would make it work. Each boot is unique and formed to its wearer. Don’t buy new boots the night before the trip or you might end up with a pair that slips, slides, rubs and pinches. It’s hard to enjoy a ski trip if your feet are bleeding. Trust me, I’ve tried.

It’s also important to bring the boots onto the plane with you. There is always the chance your luggage could get lost and maybe take the scenic route via Hawaii. We have enough gear for you to use until your suitcase returns.

2) Bathing suit. After a long day of shredding pow, nothing is better for the legs than a hot water soak. There’s also a sauna and plenty of snow for you to run, jump and roll into. Even though you’re coming to one of the most isolated places in Canada, we welcome those neon orange swim shorts with dancing pineapples. However, if you’re European, perhaps you prefer being nude.

3) Ski gear: mitts, goggles, helmets, under-layers, ski socks, ski suit and toques (Canadian for warm hats. My personal favourites are the ones with pom-poms). If you forget any of these, no need to panic. We have a well-stocked gear shop with the essentials and beyond.

4) Thursday night party outfit. Whether that means rainbow socks with a bright yellow sweater, shirt and tie, or even your wedding gown, bring something swanky. Dinner is always a multi-course affair at Last Frontier Heliskiing and clinical studies have shown that food tastes better when you dress up for it. I mean, there must be data somewhere that says that.

5) Whiskey for the guides. While it isn’t mandatory, it’s suggested. Perhaps they’ll be more inclined to take you to a secret powder spot. Shhh!

6) Travel documents. Don’t forget things like Canadian Electronic Travel Authorization [eTA], your itinerary and travel medical insurance. And of course, your passport. I mean, I suppose you could get really adventurous by placing yourself in a barrel and setting sail for Last Frontier Heliisking. However, by the time you arrive, if you ever do, it might be summer.

Even if you are Canadian, it’s good to have your passport since Last Frontier Heliskiing is right beside the Alaskan border. If you’re staying at Ripley Creek, there’s the opportunity to explore a neighboring Alaskan town.

7) Toiletries, sunscreen and medication. If you have important pills, please bring them. Bell 2 Lodge and Last Frontier Heliskiing are small and there are no Walmart sized pharmacies.


8) Sunglasses, camera. winter shoes/boots. Leave the drones at home as they do not mix well with helicopters. Bring helmet-mounted GoPros if you must, but heli-skiing is best enjoyed without the distraction of trying to get that perfect shot. Just ski and leave the digital world behind. Fffrrrrreeeeeeedom!

9) No need to bring an avalanche transceiver as we have them and provide training. The same goes for ABS airbags. If you bring your own ABS airbag, ensure your guide is familiar with it, as that could get beyond awkward in an emergency situation.

10) While I am very fond of my skis, which I have named Brunhild after the powerful female figure from Germanic heroic legends because it’s fun to yelp “Brunhild away” as I plunge over the lip of a new ski run, I’d recommend leaving them. At Last Frontier Heliskiing, guests are provided with Rossignol Super 7 HD and Soul HD skis in a variety of sizes. Or if snowboards tickle your fancy, we have the Rossignol Angus, Salomon Sick Stick Snowboard, Saloman Derby, Salomon Assassin, Rossignol XV Sushi and Prior Khyber.

11) Plaid shirts. This is lumberjack country, so it’s best to dress the part. Extra points if you grow a mustache and arrive on horseback.

12) Sense of humour. Sometimes, on my own adventures, the trip becomes so hard and if I didn’t laugh, I’d sob. Like when I thought it would be a good idea to carry a 30-pound turkey to cook on top of a mountain or when I decided to foregoing bug spray while working in a swamp because I wanted to do the ‘all-natural’ thing. Let’s face it: laughing is way more fun than crying.

Adventures do not always go right. You might crash while skiing and get a bucket of snow down the pants. Perhaps your flight gets delayed. Perhaps you lose your phone. Or perhaps a storm hits Last Frontier Heliskiing and it’s a down day. Adventures are always about the unexpected and that’s what makes them fun. As the writer, Kurt Vonnegut once said, “laughter and tears are both responses to frustration and exhaustion. I myself prefer to laugh since there is less cleaning to do afterward.”

Amen to that Kurt. Amen.