Deep powder riding in the mountains of British Columbia is a thrilling experience for skiers and snowboarders alike. It feels like riding the perfect wave. But it requires a different set of skills and equipment compared to skiing on groomed runs or hard-packed snow on a ski hill. Let’s break down a few things you’ll need to know.
Choosing the right ski or snowboard can be the difference between you riding like a champ or sinking nose first and getting stuck. One of the most important factors to consider when skiing or snowboarding in deep powder is the width of the board underfoot. You need fat skis and boards for flotation, to stay on top of the snow, rather than sinking down into it.
Shape is also important. Rocker and camber are two terms that are often used to describe the shape of a ski or snowboard’s base. Camber refers to the slight upward curve that runs from tip to tail when the board or ski is placed on a flat surface. Rocker, on the other hand, refers to a downward curve of the tip and tail, which helps with floatation. In deep powder, a ski or snowboard with a lot of rocker will generally perform better. This is because the rocker helps to distribute the rider’s weight more evenly across the board, preventing them from sinking too deeply into the snow. Deep powder gets a lot less fun when you sink down and can’t move!
Skis for Heli Skiing
Let’s take a look at some skis and snowboards we like for heli-skiing in BC. At NEH we have the following rides in our rentals: Blizzard Sheeva, Hustle, Spur, and Rustler, and K2 Mindbender. For snowboards, we use Jones Flagship and Mindexpander boards.
Blizzard is a ski maker that has been around for over 70 years and is known for creating high-quality skis that cater to a variety of ski styles and levels. The company is based in Austria and produces skis using advanced technology and quality materials, such as carbon fiber and metal laminates. Blizzard is committed to sustainability and uses eco-friendly materials in their manufacturing process, such as recycled steel and wood. Additionally, Blizzard partners with organizations such as Protect Our Winters to promote sustainability and reduce their carbon footprint.
Blizzard Sheeva: The Sheeva is an all-mountain, freeride ski that has been specifically designed for women. It is available in various lengths, with waist widths ranging from 92mm to 112mm (which we use). Its lightweight construction, featuring Blizzard’s Carbon Flipcore D.R.T technology, ensures a smooth and responsive ride with exceptional stability.
The Sheeva’s rocker-camber-rocker profile allows for quick turns and excellent float in soft snow, making it an excellent choice for intermediate to advanced female skiers who want to explore the entire mountain.
Blizzard Hustle: The Hustle is a versatile all-mountain ski designed for intermediate to advanced skiers. With waist widths ranging from 90mm to 99mm, it offers a balance between on-piste carving and off-piste exploration. The Hustle features a poplar and beech wood core, providing a strong yet lightweight feel.
The rocker-camber-rocker profile of the Hustle ensures a nimble, playful ride Its moderate tip and tail rocker provide float in softer snow conditions. If you’re looking for a ski that performs well across various terrains, the Blizzard Hustle may be the right choice for you.
Blizzard Spur: The Spur is designed for powder hounds, a wide, surfy ski with a focus on deep snow performance. With waist widths starting at 124mm, it is the widest ski in this arsenal. The Spur features a lightweight wood core with carbon reinforcements, ensuring responsiveness and stability in challenging snow conditions.
Its generous rocker profile and tapered shape allow for effortless float and maneuverability in deep snow. The Spur is best suited for advanced to expert skiers who prioritize off-piste exploration and enjoy skiing in waist-deep powder.
Blizzard Rustler: The Rustler is an all-mountain, freeride ski designed for versatility across various snow conditions. It is available in waist widths ranging from 92mm to 114mm. The Rustler’s core construction combines wood, carbon, and titanal, resulting in a strong yet lightweight ski with excellent stability.
The Rustler’s progressive rocker-camber-rocker profile provides float and maneuverability in softer snow. This ski is a great choice for intermediate to advanced skiers.
K2 Mindbender: The Mindbender series offers an array of all-mountain and freeride skis designed to cater to various skiing styles and preferences. Waist widths in the Mindbender lineup range to 116mm. These skis feature K2’s Spectral Braid technology, which enhances torsional rigidity without adding unnecessary weight.
The Mindbender series is known for its versatility, offering skis with varying levels of rocker and camber to suit different snow conditions and skiing styles. From carving on groomers to floating through powder, the K2 Mindbinder is an ideal choice for advanced to expert skiers who prefer a more aggressive skiing style.
Snowboards for Powder Riding
Jones Snowboards, founded by legendary pro snowboarder Jeremy Jones, has been at the forefront of snowboard innovation and design since its inception in 2009. The company is renowned for its commitment to sustainability and performance-driven snowboard designs. We have been very happy with Jones boards for helicopter snowboarding.
Jones Flagship: The Flagship is an iconic all-mountain, freeride snowboard designed for advanced to expert riders. With its powerful, directional shape and stiff flex, the Flagship is engineered to deliver exceptional performance in both carving and powder conditions. The board’s directional rocker profile includes camber underfoot and rocker in the nose and tail, providing excellent float in powder and precise edge control on groomed runs. The Flagship, with its powerful directional shape and stiff flex, is designed for advanced riders who prioritize stability and control in a variety of conditions.
Jones Mind Expander: The Mind Expander is an innovative, all-mountain snowboard designed for riders who enjoy surfing through deep powder and exploring off-piste terrain. With its unique shape and design, the Mind Expander offers a playful yet powerful ride. The Mind Expander features Jones’ Christenson Surf Rocker, a continuous rocker profile from nose to tail. This design, inspired by surfboard shaper Chris Christenson, enables exceptional float in powder and fluid, surf-like turns. With its surf-inspired profile and playful feel, the Mind Expander is perfect for those who enjoy floating through powder and exploring off-piste terrain.
Both the Jones Flagship and the Jones Mind Expander are constructed using eco-friendly materials, which is an important part of the company’s ethos. Jones Snowboards is committed to sustainability, and the company uses recycled materials whenever possible. Additionally, the company has also partnered with Protect Our Winters, a non-profit organization that is dedicated to fighting climate change.
While this is by no means an exhaustive list, we find these skis and snowboards work very well for our guests and deep powder terrain in Northern BC and are included at no extra charge with all our heli ski packages.
Heli Skiing in BC with Northern Escape
Since 2004, Northern Escape Heli Skiing has operated small group heli skiing in Northern BC’s Skeena Mountains, near Terrace, BC. Named World’s Best Heli Ski Operator in 2022 by the World Ski Awards, our premium ski experience, three boutique lodges, snowcat skiing backup and big mountain, deep powder terrain attracts riders from around the world. Our lodges are easily accessible from Vancouver via Terrace Airport.