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New Zealand August 2014

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 
Last week we ticked several items off our bucket list with our first ever ski trip to New Zealand's South Island. We stayed in Wanaka from where we skied Treble Cone (twice) and Cadrona, and went heli skiing for two days. Our last day was at Coronet Peak near Queenstown.

New Zealand has had a poor snow year, so the Wanaka resorts were pretty sketchy al though the lack of snow meant the switchback gravel roads were not as terrifying as they would be when covered in snow. Still not for the fainthearted though! Snowmaking and better infrastructure (including a sealed access road and car park) made Coronet Peak our favourite resort by far.

While the snow may not have been as good as usual, the weather was warm and sunny and the scenery in both Wanaka and Queenstown was stunning and the apres ski scene in both was all we could wish for. Add to this the laid back Kiwi attitude and the recipe for a great holiday is there!

The highlight of the trip was the two days we spent heli skiing with Harris Mountain Helicopters. They were extremely professional and highly qualified and in spite of the fact that they had a crash and a fatality earlier in the month we never had any qualms about the operation. We skied one day on Isobel Glacier out of Wanaka and the second day in the Ohau Ranges near Mount Cook. On both days the snow was generally spring corn except where the thaw freeze cycle had create ice and a bit of breakable crust which we were generally able to avoid. Both my wife and I found it both terrifying and exhilirating.

Our trip was organised by Shinsetsu Mountain Guides based in Niseko (smguides.net) which as well as Japan now operates in New Zealand and South America. The staff are mainly Australians, qualified APSI instructors and Mountain Guides. While it was our first time with them, a number of our friends have done multiple trips and we will definitely repeat, probably in Niseko.

One of the glaciers. Look closely to see the 3 skiers

tude and
post #2 of 3

how long was your trip? did you find new zealand to be expensive to travel ?

post #3 of 3
Thread Starter 
We went for a week, consisting of two days heliskiing and 4 days resort skiing. NZ is not expensive by our standards (Australia) and generally on par with US costs. Benefits are great scenery and very laid back locals! biggrin.gif
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