Here at Powderbird Helicopter Skiing, we’ve partnered with some of the most iconic brands in the snow sport industry in order to bring you high-quality gear you can count on. Whether you’re breaking trail, shredding groomers, or loading up in a helicopter to experience the utter joy of exploring the Utah backcountry with our world-class guide team, you’ll want to be equipped with the best winter gear available.
Welcome to the 2018 Heli-Skiing Gear Guide
Our favorite goggles are from the Smith I/O family. The I/O was the first goggle to solve the problem of what to do when changing light and weather demanded different lenses and it remains one of the best goggle designs on the market. When you book a heli-skiing trip here in Utah, you’ll want a pair of goggles that give you the option to changes lenses on the fly, and Smith has no shortage of incredible lenses for every condition. Each pair of Smith I/Os comes with 2 lens options and a variety of frame colors to choose from. Swapping lenses is super simple and the TLT optics offers crystal clear vision. The Smith I/O comes in a variety of sizes to fit the largest to smallest of faces for ultimate comfort. Learn more about the Smith I/O goggle family here.
Let’s talk helmets. Other than protecting one of the most vital things you’ve got, a great helmet keeps your head warm, integrates seamlessly with your goggles, looks great, and fits like a glove. Our guides here at Powderbird are all equipped with Smith Helmets because they offer incredible protection and comfort. Smith has also introduced a new product called the Quantum that offers everything you’d want in a helmet:
“The new Quantum is protection with maximum horsepower. Using Aerocore™ construction featuring Koroyd® and Smith’s innovative Exoskeleton design to provide increased protection in side-impact zones, this is the helmet for athletes pushing the limits on the mountain. The new Wayfinder Strap System featuring Fidlock® is functional simplicity, making it easy to use one hand for on and off buckle use. For the most custom fit, the Quantum offers the Boa® FS360 fit system with a 360˚ halo design. Combine all this with the Smith-pioneered AirEvac technology for superior goggle integration. The Quantum delivers maximum protection and functionality for use in the most critical situations.”
Any experienced skier will agree that ski boots are a piece of equipment that can make or break your heli-skiing day. Nothing is worse than cold feet, cramping arches, or a loose fit which can lead to poor performance in controlling your skis. When you reserve a Utah heli-skiing trip, you want to make sure you can rely on high performing ski boots that you can spend the day in, no matter the conditions. We recommend hunting down a local boot fitter and having them customize your ski boots for optimal fit and performance.
So what ski boots does our team recommend? The K2 Men’s Spyne and the K2 Women’s Spyre, the premier boots in the K2 Performance Collection, which has been winning awards left and right this year. 2018 gear awards include Ski Magazines Gold Gear Medal & Best Value awards, as well as America’s Best Bootfitters’ Best of Test, Best of Category, Fitters Favorite and Innovator awards.
Why all the excitement? “The Spyne is a powerful boot for driving skis through turns, emphasizing smooth and deliberate power transfer, and a rivet-less Spyne technology that eliminates inconsistent flex patterns found in other boots. On top of that, the Spyne comes with heat-moldable PrecisionFit PRO liners that provide maximum fit customization and replaceable outsoles that provide season after season durability.”
Heated moldable liners? Say no more! The men’s K2 Spyne Heat comes in a 120 or 100 flex (a stiffer 130 flex is also available without the heated liners) and the women’s version, called the Spyre, comes in a 100 flex with LuxFit PRO Thermic heated liners (also available in a stiffer 110 without heated liners).
Ski & Snowboard Socks:
Never underestimate the power of a great ski or snowboard sock. Did you know that your feet have 250,000 sweat glands? Since sweaty feet equal cold feet, high-quality thin ski or snowboard socks are a must have for heli-skiing. It’s a good idea to pack multiple pairs of ski or snowboard socks for your heli-skiing trip so you can always have a clean and dry pair to put on. Our favorite ski socks are from CEP Compression and feature a blended merino wool that is breathable and wicks away sweat to keep feet dry and warm. Padding zones are located in the ankle and shin to minimize pressure from your boots while adapting perfectly to your feet for a wrinkle-free fit!
Alpine Ski and Snowboard Gloves:
There’s nothing quite like a good ski or snowboarding glove. Having warm, dry hands is imperative and bringing a few options for your heli-skiing trip is a great idea. We recommend bringing a cold weather and warm weather ski or snowboard glove so that you’re prepared no matter what weather conditions are. Our favorite gloves & mittens are made by Hestra who has been developing the best gloves in the industry for 80 years! While you can’t go wrong with any Hestra, our personal favorites are from the Alpine Pro Series and include the Morrison Pro Model, Army Leather Heli Ski, and the Leather Fall Line.
“Alpine Pro gloves are used by freeriders, professional mountain guides, ski instructors and others that place high demands on their equipment. They are highly functional gloves that can withstand much wear and tear.”
The Alpine Pro Series has a huge variety of options for men and women to choose from. Whether you prefer mittens or gloves, or anything in between, you’ll have an easy time finding the perfect glove in Hestra’s Alpine Pro line.
Since 1962, K2 Skis has been designing and testing some of the most innovative ski technology in the world and it’s just one of many reasons we’ve chosen to partner with the most iconic brand in the ski community. Our guides are big advocates of K2 Skis and we often spend our days chatting with our guests about how much they enjoyed spending a day on our K2 powder ski rental options, which include the world-famous Pon2oons.
New this year, K2 Skis introduced the Pinnacle Series, which has won numerous awards across the board. Ski Magazine titled the K2 Pinnacle Series as “The Most Award Winning” skis and gave them the Gold Gear Medal. The Pinnacles are available in a wide range of widths that include 118mm, 105mm, 95mm, 88mm, and 85mm under foot. If you’re looking for a ski with a specific all-mountain footprint, you’ll find it in this series. Our other favorite K2 skis are from their Factory line and include the Pon2oons, the Catamaran, and the Marksman, all excellent choices for the perfect Utah heli-skiing trip.
If you’re looking for a women’s specific ski and have big mountain dreams, K2 has a completely revamped Freeride collection that we ‘luv’. Like the Pinnacle Series, K2 Women’s Freeride series has collected quite a selection of awards this season including: Ski Magazine’s Gold Gear Medal, Backcountry Gear Guide Select, Mountain Magazine Editors’ Choice and Freeskier’s Editors’ Pick. The women here at Powderbird Helicopter Skiing all highly recommend the Luv Boat 105 (also available for rent at our facilities) and the Fulluvit 95 for when you need to make the mountain your playground. The best part is that both skis come in a large selection of lengths from 156cm to 177 cm. From first tracks to hot laps, K2 has got you covered.
Marker USA is the world leading ski binding manufacturer and was founded in Germany in 1952. Because Marker Bindings have a deep history in US Skiing, we are proud to be properly secured to our skis with Marker Bindings and are very excited about all of the innovation they are bringing to the backcountry. That’s why we highly recommend Marker Bindings for your heli-skiing setup and have Marker bindings mounted to all of our K2 powder ski available for rent.
Looking for the best bindings for your powder skis? Whether you’re looking for Freeride/Freestyle, All Mountain, or Touring bindings, there is a Marker binding that will fulfill your needs. Our team recommends the Marker Jester 16 ID, Marker Griffon 13 ID, and the Kingpin 13 for a your AT setup. Get to know what makes the perfect binding by reading “Gear Made Clear: Ski Bindings“.
The Ultimate Skiing Layering System:
The North Face is named after the coldest, most unforgiving side of a mountain. Now, more than 50 years after their humble grand opening, The North Face delivers an extensive line of performance clothing, gear, and footwear for winter athletes. Their slogan “Never Stop Exploring” is something that every one of our heli-skiing guides can relate to and is something that we all strive for.
Trying to pick out our favorite winter gear items from The North Face is almost an impossible feat as their collection of high-quality technical ski and snowboard apparel is tremendous. That said, we are extra impressed with their Steep Series Mission Kit collection introduced for 2018. Marketed as “Gear for the outer limits”, the Mission Kit features one bag, one kit, for any mission. If you are looking for the perfect layering system and outerwear for your Utah heli-skiing trip, the The North Face Mission kit is for you.
So what exactly is the Mission Kit?
“We asked our athletes to describe their ultimate gear checklist and our Mission Kit is the result. All of their most-wanted features and functionality are distilled into nine integrated pieces that set a new standard for big-mountain riding performance and protection.” – TNF
Both the Men’s and Women’s Mission Kits consist of 2 outerwear options including the Fuse Brigandine jacket & bib and/or the Purist Triclimate jacket & pant combo. The recommended laying options include a merino wool baselayer crew neck and tights paired with the Unlimited jacket to keep you toasty on extra cold days.
Needless to say, The North Face makes picking out technical mountain apparel a snap with their new kits.
That wraps up our 2018 Heli-Skiing Gear Guide. We hope you found this helpful in selecting the best winter gear for your Utah heli-skiing trip. Once you have your gear, it will be time to book your trip!
Powderbird offers a variety of Utah heli-skiing packages ranging from individual seating options, private group adventures, or a fully private chartered helicopter; the pinnacle of heli-skiing. Whether you’re looking to fly out of our Park City Clubhouse location or our Snowbird Heliport, we are able to accommodate a wide range of our guests desires.
Have a question?
Read our FAQ to learn more about joining Powderbird for a day or week of heli-skiing. We also invite you to call our sales team at 1-801-742-2800 to help answer any specific questions or concerns you may have.