NORTH CASCADE HELI-SKIING

Mazama, WA

IF YOU’RE GIVEN to imagining yourself as a ski hero, the sort of person who blasts through hip-deep powder in a pristine, rime-encrusted wilderness, then the heart of the North Cascades could become your fantasyland and North Cascade Heli-Skiing your go-to chauffeur. Based out of central Washington’s Nordic paradise, the Methow Valley, the outfitter’s three choppers have access to some 300,000 acres of terrain that boasts the most densely glaciated peaks in the Lower 48.

Should you and your cohorts for the day have the skills of Jonny Moseley, then North Cascade owner Ken Brooks and his staff can deposit you atop 9,000-foot peaks and steer you to epic, thigh-frying runs that’ll net you up to 4,000 vertical feet. And should your bank account allow, you can upgrade your mountain reverie from a single day of heli-skiing to a four-day stay at the outfit’s solitary Barron Yurt, which each year they erect anew at a prime alpine locale. Brooks will also pick you up on the range’s west side, near the North Cascades Highway (only two hours from Seattle), which, though it’ll cost you, can shave roughly two hours off your drive—a fine option for those who feel that off-piste time is more valuable than money.