Agata, Troy, Ed and I enjoyed a rippin’ day with Ken and our pilot Cainen out on the Silver Star Massif back in March of this year. With temps in the 20’s and over 16” of blower from top to bottom on each of our 11 or 12 ~3500’ runs, this was every bit the heli trip we had hoped for!

This wasn’t my first time up on Silver Star, but not until this heli trip did I realize how big the terrain out here really is. Needless to say, there are lines aplenty descending either into Silver Star or Varden Creeks alone, let alone the numerous other zones within NC Heli's tenure. Rest assured, there’s no shortage of shred-worthy terrain at their disposal. What else can I say other than...I WILL be back!

Click thumbnails below to enlarge photos

Ken drops in the chute first.

Agata descends into a large bowl high above Varden Creek as the heli approaches.

A nice panorama from the first LZ of the day.

High-speed shreddin' somewhere on Silver Star Glacier.

Waiting for the next pick up (Troy, Agata, Ed and Ken left-to-right).

Shreddin' high above Varden Creek.

Ken leads the way down into the trees.

Ed, rooster tail, Silver Star pow...all things that go together!


An A-Star sighting near Silver Star Saddle.

Silver Star Saddle views.

Ken skis the upper pitch of Silver Star Glacier.

Animation of the author shredding deep Cascade pow.

Ed descends Cariboo.

Ed charging out the bottom of a chute.

When I close my eyes this is what I see...


Troy, Ken, Ed and Cainen chillin' by the A-Star.

Ken leads the way while I wait my turn.

Ed stylin' the toeside slash.

Hero turns down Cariboo.


A tough crowd up at Silver Star Saddle.

Animation of Troy shredding a chute.

Agata gets the honors for the final chute of the day.

A face shot in the making!

A high-speed exit of the chute.

Silver Star Glacier panorama.

Our ride home has arrived...

Our second season with North Cascade Heli and as before we lucked out with amazing snow and great weather. We also had the opportunity to fly much farther west this time all the way to the national park boundary. I can't even begin to describe how awesome it was to be shredding big lines around all the familiar peaks and valleys where I've been climbing all these years!

Zones we flew in include: Varden, Silverstar, Snagtooth, Swamp Creek, Fisher, Black, Lyell/Frisco & Cutthroat. Oh yeah!!

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Ken points it through a Chute high above Varden Creek.

Agata riding hard on the first of three heli days.

First tracks down from Silverstar Saddle.

Michelle admires the tracks coming down the first pitch below Silverstar Saddle.

Our tracks exiting the v-shaped chutes at bottom of Varden Creek zone.

Close-up of chutes with someone shredding the one at right (The Crack or Hanging Rock?).

Ken descends Cariboo (skier's right of Silverstar Saddle).

Looking back up at main pitch of Cariboo.

Back in the v-chutes, this time the one at left (The Fanny?).

Close-up of Agata in the aforementioned chute while Michelle looks on from above.

Time to leave Silverstar - the view looking south from a high saddle on the SE end of Snagtooth Ridge.

Our tracks down "Amy's Bowl" with Snagtooth Ridge above.

kicking-up an overhead rooster tail in upper-Amy's with Big Snagtooth towering overhead.

View towards Snagtooth Ridge and our tracks from the previous day as seen from Silverstar Saddle.

Agata and Lee enjoy amazing turns down Silverstar Glacier.

Time to move on - the view from a summit above the cirque at headwaters of Swamp Creek.

Ken skis down "Stair Step" with upper Swamp Creek far below.

Lupo rides down the same with The Needles peeking at upper left.

Exiting a chute through cliffs guarding the upper basin.

Enjoying a second helping of Swamp Creek pow.

Movin' on again - looking south from the heli on the short hop over to the Fisher zone.

On approach to the Fisher Pass LZ.

Looking northwest from Fisher Pass with Kitling and Mesahchie in distance (right-to-left).

Foggy GoPro photo of Ken skiing down from Fisher Pass into the basin below the East Face of Fisher Peak.

Looking up from lower Fisher LZ with Fisher Peak at right.

Lee descends an amazing pitch from a small saddle just to the south of Pt. 7923 SSE of Fisher.

And we're off again - the view to the southwest towards Mount Goode from the South Ridge of Black Peak.

Contemplating the run down from Black's South Ridge into the drainage north of Wing Lake.

Goodbye Black, hello Lyell - looking northeast from the Frisco-Lyell saddle.

Hero turns down Lyell Glacier.

Making the most of amazing Lyell pow, as seen from my point of view!

Chasing after Agata down into Cutthroat Creek Valley.

Enjoying the solitude in Cutthroat zone on the final run of the day.

And so concludes one of the lousiest Northwest snow seasons in recent memory. A winter’s worth of pow riding mostly compressed into the month of March. Win some, lose some I guess. Thankfully there was North Cascade Heli to the rescue, salvaging the season with a couple glory days of Cascade nirvana. I can’t praise and thank the NC crew enough for keeping the doors open and taking us on another grand tour of their proverbial backyard! Save our seats for next March please…

Zones we flew in include: Silverstar (Glacier, Burgundy, Cariboo), Big Snagtooth (Amy's), Swamp Creek (Stairstep), Tower, Fisher Pass, Lyell, Cutthroat (Gotcha), Early Winters (Liberty Bowl, Spire Gully), Gardner (Gardner Glacier), Kangaroo Ridge (Cosmic Blast, The Notch, Mambo, Kangaroo Bowl).

Click thumbnails below to enlarge photos

First run of the first day down Cariboo.

Looking west from a saddle on north-end of Kangaroo Ridge. Our next LZ atop Spire Gully is marked in red.

Dropping-in on Cosmic Blast (east-side of Kangaroo Ridge north).

Just another day in the office for Ken skiing Cosmic Blast.

Agata having a blast on Cosmic Blast.

Lower Cosmic Blast with Silverstar massif in distance.

Can't get enough of Cosmic Blast apparently.

Panorama looking northwest from beneath Blue Lakes Col.

The gang goofing off atop Spire Gully.

Close-up of peaks loooking west from Blue Lakes Col area with Goode at left and Black at right.

Ken leads the way down Spire Gully.

Troy finds his zen riding down Spire Gully.

Second lap down Spire Gully - right-side this time.

Agata seems to be enjoying her second Spire Gully lap.

Finishing strong all the way down to the hwy 20 hairpin turn.

Our tracks on the apron just above the hairpin.

Panorama looking west from a saddle in center of Kangaroo Ridge (The Notch).

Agata gets the honors for the run down The Notch.

Good times riding down The Notch.

Lifting off from a saddle on south end of Snagtooth Ridge (Amy's).

Panorama from Snagtooth Ridge looking WSW towards Kangaroo Ridge (the various lines we rode marked in red).

The A-Star loops around our perch en route to the lower Amy's LZ.

One heck of spot for a lunch break!

Riding down Amy's Bowl.

Negotiating cliffs on lower Amy's.

Spotting the line down Silverstar Glacier.

...and into the hourglass below Silverstar Glacier.

Cruisin' down through the hourglass.

Towards the bottom now - sooo good!

Atop Burgundy Chute about to drop-in.

Ed finds the sun in Burgundy Chute.

Ed's signature toeside slash in Burgundy Chute.

Killin' it in middle of Silverstar Glacier.

The race is on between Ken and Agata.

Looks like Agata has taken the lead...

The gang at the saddle atop Gardner Glacier (SE of Gardner Mountain).

Panorama from Gardner saddle looking due south.

Booting past the rocks in upper Gardner Glacier.

Agata gets the honors once again down Gardner Glacier.

A bit farther down Gardner...

Ken waits patiently part-way down Gardner Glacier.

Ed's turn down Gardner.

A couple slashes later.

Lettin' it all hang out on Gardner.

Agata follows my line down a chute on Gardner.

The shadows grow long on our third Gardner descent.

Nearing the bottom of the Gardner zone.

Next day, on the ridge atop Cutthroat Lake.

Flat light but good pow in upper Swamp Creek (Stair Step).

Discussing our descent options on the north-side of Tower Mountain.

Agata waits her turn to drop in with North Face of Tower Mountain looming above at left.

Our awesome Tower descent marked in red.

Ken leads the way into Liberty Bowl.

In hot pursuit of Ken down Liberty Bowl...

Visibility getting worse over at Fischer Pass.

Almost whiteout on the descent from Fischer Pass. Time to head back east...

Yet another sweet descent on the east-side of Kangaroo Ridge (Mambo).

Ed drops in on the final line of the day - Kangaroo Bowl.

Farther down Kangaroo Bowl.

All smiles at bottom of Kangaroo Bowl.

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