Talk about a lump of coal in the old stocking. We have encountered a new challenge here at North Cascade Heli: User days. We are out of them and can no longer take additional reservations even though we have plenty of openings on our 70-day schedule. This issue DOES NOT AFFECT already booked trips for this season.
How did this come to be?
First of all, the definition of a user day is counted as one person stepping on to public national forest land for any given amount of time on that particular day. Whether you arrive at our backcountry yurt in the late afternoon and pop open a beer on the couch without making a single turn, or ski 15 runs down Spire Gully above the hairpin curve on Highway 20, each of those activities constitutes a user day.
And due to the modest growth of our operation, especially the successful popularity of our backcountry yurt program, those days are now at a premium. Going ahead, we foresee increased costs for our guests with a decrease in availability and program variety.
The Methow Valley Ranger District of the United States Forest Service has been unable or unwilling to allocate more user days so we can offer our services to more guests. Currently, we have only 1,050 user days available, despite terms of our operating permit that allow us to: Operate from December 1 to April 30, utilize two helicopters and run two backcountry ski huts. This year we will be open for roughly 70 days, run one helicopter and operate the yurt at Barron. The yurt alone this year will use over 600 days.
It is a frustrating situation and we would like to apologize for not being able to book more reservations at this time. We are placing inquiries onto a wait list as additional user days are freed up by not being used, most likely in the case of weather days.
If you are concerned about this unfortunate scenario, you are welcome to contact us for more information.
You can also convey your concerns to:
Mike Liu, Methow Valley district ranger, (509) 996-4000, firstname.lastname@example.org
Rebecca Heath, Regional forest supervisor, (509) 664-9200, email@example.com
Kent Connaughton, Forest supervisor, (503) 808-2200, firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, 5th Congressional district, 509-353-2374
Thank you for your time, consideration and understanding regarding this matter.