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Where to ride in New Zealand this season

So, your boss has given you the thumbs up for a week or two off work and epic New Zealand powder is on your radar. Not sure where to ride this season? Don’t worry! Check out our guide on which resorts to head to in New Zealand this winter…

Cardrona
Cardrona is one of our favourite all-rounder mountains to ride each season, with dry snow, wide open groomers to perfect those carves, and one of the best park setups in NZ. Best for beginners to intermediate snowboarders and families, Cardrona has all the on-mountain facilities needed for a day on the slopes, and is easily accessible from both Queenstown and Wanaka. For advanced riders heading to NZ, there is plenty of off-piste excitement to be had in the Arcadia Chutes and Captain’s area, which is guaranteed to get that heart pumping.

Perfect for: those new snowboarding, all-rounders, and families.


The Remarkables
The ‘Remarks’ has cemented itself as one of the best resorts for freestyle riders, boasting 3 impressive terrain parks, including a beginners park, big park, and Burton Stash park. Cruise along the longest run (Homeward Run), or take a hike up to the peak for untouched terrain and amazing views across Queenstown and Lake Wakatipu. The closest resort to Queenstown, the Remarkables is super easy to tick off your resort must-ride list.

Perfect for: freestyle fiends, and those seeking park progression.


Mt. Hutt

This off-piste riding gem is just over an hour from Christchurch, and definitely worth the hike. The steep mountainous terrain of Mt. Hutt means a massive accumulation of fresh powder after a decent storm, up to an average of 4 metres each season! Open more days than any other resort, Mt Hutt boasts fast groomers and over 365 hectares of treeless terrain for fun freestyle riding, and to top it off, usually no lift lines! For those who love to earn their turns, there are numerous off-piste chutes and bowls with terrain to rival any heliski (almost). The town of Methven itself is a laid-back and in-expensive alternative to the resorts in Queenstown. No trip to Methven is complete without a visit to the infamous Blue Pub, and a night at Mt. Taylor lodge for a true local’s experience.

Perfect for: powderhounds and those looking for some decent thigh burn this season.


Treblecone

Often considered the best terrain and best overall resort in NZ, you’ll feel like you’re standing at the edge of the world at TC. The largest resort on the South Island, TC boasts the longest vertical drop and highest average annual snowfall. Not for the faint hearted, almost half of all terrain is rated advanced to expert, perfect for those seeking to take their riding to the next level. Head over to Saddle Basin for those infamous natural halfpipes, and runs with the perfect combination of steep and wide, big banks, and loads of natural hits for fun transitions.

Perfect for: advanced riders wanting to tame that double black.


Canterbury Club fields

Looking for something a bit different this season? Leave the crowds behind and experience the quiet and laid-back atmosphere of the Canterbury Club Field region, located in the middle of NZ’s Southern Alps.

Temple Basin

Earn some epic turns and hone in your split-boarding skills at Temple Basin, with limitless opportunities to hike the ridges and drop in to untouched basins and bowls. TB is a freerider’s nirvana, with natural half and quarter pipes, and numerous lips to huck off. Ungroomed and untamed, Temple Basin is popular among powderhounds worldwide.

(We ride Temple Basin on our Canterbury Club Fields tour this season. It’s a tour not to be missed!)

Ohau
Rated by Danny Davis as ‘the best club field in the world!’, Ohau Ski Field is a true hidden gem among riders in NZ. If you’re seeking incredibly fun terrain with loads of natural features and limitless off-piste opportunities, Ohau is a must-ride resort this season. Venture to the top of the Ridge Run for great views and even better sidecountry powder turns on the way down. No crowds also means you don’t have to share the powder! Stay at Lake Ohau Lodge for a truly laid-back and friendly ski lodge experience.

Perfect for: riders wanting to escape the crowds, and earn some unforgettable turns.

We visit ALL these resorts on our upcoming New Zealand tours. Take your pick and tick off your must-ride list this season!


All-Rounder Tour

New-Zealand Roadtrip
Wanaka & Ohau Tour
Mint Chicks

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The truth about heli-skiing.

Think heli-skiing is out of your reach? We think not.
We’re here to spread the truth about heli-skiing and why you should be making the flight up-hill this season…

MYTH: Heli-skiing is only for pro-riders.
FACT: You don’t need to have the backcountry skills of Travis Rice to be able to heli-ski. In fact, as long as you’re a strong intermediate rider and comfortable in variable terrain, you’re ready to take the plunge! Plus, there are many tour options that allow you to start off small, and make your way up to riding those gnarly big mountain lines.

MYTH: It’s all about jumping out of helicopters and riding massive spines and gnarly cliffs in Alaksa
FACT: We’d all love to be hucking it off a perfectly-aligned spine into waist deep powder, but in reality, heli-skiing is a lot more mellow; but also a lot more fun! Think long rolling tree runs, snowy bowls, chutes and deep powder basins. There’s terrain to cater for all abilities, and plenty of opportunities to float smooth turns through untouched powder. And just to clear it up, there will be no jumping out of helicopters just yet.

MYTH: I need to have all the right equipment to be able to go… Safety first!
FACT: Having the correct safety gear (and knowing how to use it) is important when venturing into the backcountry, but don’t fret… there is no need to buy up big to go heli-skiing. The heli-operators have all the safety and backcountry equipment you need, and provide comprehensive training so you know how to use them before you even set foot inside the heli. They’ll show you how to use radios and transceivers, as well as avalanche rescue techniques and heli safety, so you will feel confident making those powder turns. But remember, riding big mountain heli-terrain is in a whole different ballpark so it’s important you do have a snowboard suitable to powder conditions.

MYTH: It’s dangerous! What about avalanches?
FACT: Sadly, Mother Nature is a fickle creature and avalanches do happen every now and again, however, it’s unlikely that something will go wrong. Your qualified guides know every inch of the mountain and it’s snowpack, and continually assess the snow conditions throughout the course of the day, avoiding any areas that may have the potential to slide (even on the mildest of descents). These guys have your back at all times, and your pre-heli training will make you feel at ease in the big mountains.

MYTH: It’s too expensive… I can’t afford that!
FACT: You could spend hours trekking up the hill for just a few memorable runs or you could sit back, relax, and enjoy the view while you’re being fast-tracked to snowboarder heaven. Sure, it may look pricey but included in that price is the cost of aviation fuel, safety equipment, and professional guiding, all bundled together to ensure you score the best pow runs of your life. You’ll find many who heli-ski don’t have lot of time to hit the slopes each season, so they work hard and save up to be able to enjoy a few unforgettable days each year. With no lift lines, no crowded lodges, no sweating, and free mountain views, it definitely makes it worth saving every penny for heli-ski!

Drop into some fresh powder this season. For a heli-skiing day that’s nothing short of epic, check out our heli-tours below…

Methven Heli Tour

NZ Avalanche Awareness Course

Ultimate Alaska Heli Tour


Book your heli-ski before May 30 and save 10% off our 3, 5 and 7 run packages!
For more info, visit us here

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Snowboarding in Alaska

Alaska. Snowboarding’s final frontier. Depending on how you look at it, it’s either the stuff that dreams or nightmares are made of. We’re a positive bunch of people here at Mint Tours, so for us and a lot of our guests who ride here every season, there’s nothing better than picking a line and pointing it.

Alaska has always been on the top of every serious snowboarder’s bucket list. Real big-mountain terrain, a stable maritime snowpack, more heli operations than ski areas and the promise of riding the best lines of your life. And then there’s always the bragging rites of riding in AK.

If you’re looking at heading to Alaska for the first time, here’s a few places to check out. These only scratch the surface of the Alaska experience, which is why some devotees make it an annual pilgrimage. You gotta start somewhere..

Anchorage, Girdwood & Alyeska Resort
Most AK adventures kick-off from Anchorage. It’s the largest city with the largest airport in the state. If you’re experiencing Alaska for the first time, you don’t really need to go much further. Alyeska Resort is the only real option if you’re looking to ride a resort and it’s often a good warm-up before you get the the main event.. HELI! Alyeska is just an hour away in Girdwood and has nine lifts including two high-speed quads, a 60-person tram, and 2,500 vertical feet that gets covered in 650 inches of snow a year. Not a bad place to start. You’ve also got a world class heli operation based here that offers a wide range of heli-ski opportunities, as well as cat skiing right from the resort. Also, Girdwood is a legitimate ski town with good food, live music, and some good accommodation options.

Valdez & Thompson Pass
Considered the birthplace of the Alaska heli-skiing industry, Valdez is home to five different guided heli-ski operations. Helicopters, snowcats, snowmobiles, or touring skis/splitboards are the only options for riding in the Valdez/Thompson Pass area. All operations fly to similar terrain in the Chugach Mountains, but each offers different sets of amenities and lodging options. The heli-ski season runs from late February to early May. Every operation has great terrain and can offer the life-changing AK experience. Which one you choose depends on what you are looking for.

Alaska Heli Tour
7 Nights I 5 Days riding I 3 Days heli
March 13 – 20, 2016
AUD $7360 per person
If you want to ride in Alaska and you don’t know where to start, join us as we tour through Alaska with our experienced guides. We kick off the tour in Anchorage, and head to Alyeska Resort, where we spend our first 2 days riding. The resort has some of the most insane in-bounds terrain in North America. Home to the infamous North Face, Alyeska lives up to its reputation of steep and deep with serious snowfall and challenging terrain. A perfect warm-up. Of course the highlight of this tour is three days heli-skiing, racking up over 30,000 feet of vertical. We ride iconic big lines of the famous Chugach and Talkeetna Mountains of Alaska, including incredible open bowls, spines and long glacier runs. Throughout the trip we stay in luxury twin share accommodation, including the Majestic Valley Wilderness Lodge. We’ve got the heli pad out the front and the hot tub out the back, ready for us to kick back with a few frothy’s after scoring the best lines of our life.

Conditions
We run this tour from 13 – 20 March 2016. The heli ski season in Alaska runs from the start of February to the end of April – it’s a pretty short season, mainly due to the lack of daylight hours early in the year. Mid-March is prime time, as the days are longer, giving you more opportunities to heli ski, and the temperatures are still cold with regular snowfall. So essentially you can strike a balance between daylight, conditions and snowpack stability.

 What’s Included
+ 3 full days Heli-ski, includes 30,000 vertical feet
+ 2 day riding at Alyeska Ski Resort
+ 2 day lift pass Alyeska Ski Resort
+ 3 nights accommodation at Alyeska Resort
+ 3 nights accommodation at Majestic Valley Wilderness Lodge
+ 1 night accommodation, Anchorage
+ Avalanche safety training & orientation
+ Avalanche gear including airbag pack, transceiver, shovel & probe
+ All meals whilst at Majestic Valley Wilderness Lodge
+ Airport meet & greet
+ Return airport transfers
+ Mint Tours hosting & guiding throughout

Itinerary
We’ve got an action packed week planned for this tour. View our full itinerary HERE

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Spot Check: Revelstoke, B.C.

Revelstoke. One of the best places to shred powder in B.C. There’s almost always pow to be found somewhere with an average snowfall of 18 metres a season. That’s an impressive stat alone. It only get’s better with ‘Revvy’ holding the title for the most vertical in North America. This is one resort that should be on the top of your must-shred list.

While Revvy has one of the highest snowfalls in the interior and the most vertical, it’s the lesser-known stuff that keeps us coming back year after year. Revelstoke is the last stop on our annual Canada Roadtrip Tour and we always save the best for last. We’re always scoping fresh lines and pillow stacks hidden in the trees and when there’s fresh snow, there’s nothing better than the descents on North Bowl.

Our Canada Roadtrip Tour is proudly supported by Trapper Snowboards out of Revelstoke. These are truly unique handmade boards made from local B.C. materials and we are lucky to have head honcho Greg from Trapper guiding us on his home resort of Revvy. To give you a true locals perspective, the tour is hosted by Nelson and Red Mountain snowboard guide Hayden Many. ‘Haydo’ grew up shredding all over the Kootenay Mountains and is looking forward to showing you some of his ‘local’s only’ secret spots.
Check out out Candada Roadtrip Tour Itinerary HERE

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Spot Check: Myoko, Japan

Myoko Kogen, located in the Niigata region on Japan’s main island of Honshu. Still relatively unknown and off the radar for the hordes who flock to Japan’s larger resorts. Myoko is a quiet achiever and ticks so many boxes for an authentic Japanese experience, on and off-snow.

The resort is not overly commercialised and has retained it’s charm. Akakura Onsen is the main village and with it’s towering snowbanks, steaming onsen, traditional lodges and restaurants and minimal english singage it’s a great escape after you’ve ticked off the larger commercial resorts.

If you’re not into riding from first to last chair, then there isn’t much else for you to do in Myoko. The focus is on the riding and you won’t be disappointed! With 4 resorts accessed on a single lift pass you’ll always have new areas to explore. It doesn’t matter if you’re staying for 2 days or 2 weeks, there is always new places to ride. Once you’ve ticked off the 4 main resorts, head to the nearby resort of Seki Onsen or join us for a Backcountry Tour with our local Japanese guides and find out why this region is rated as one of the premiere backcountry areas in Japan.

The season in Myoko kicks off with a bang. Last December was the snowiest month of the 2014/15 season with over 5.6 metres of the light, dry fluffy stuff falling during the month. Not bad when you consider that the resort doesn’t officially open until the 22 December. The close proximity to the coast means we consistently score massive quantities of snow on a regular basis and it keeps on coming all the way through until March.

Check out the snowfall stats for the 2014/15 season:

December 2014: 5.6 metres
January 2015: 5.25 metres
February 2015: 3.2 metres
March 2015: 1.55 metres

If you’re looking for a resort that will give you access to wide open groomers, multiple terrain parks and some of the best in-bounds, off-piste terrain in Japan, then put Myoko on your list.

Check out our guided tours to Myoko HERE

 

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Mint Chicks meet the Legends!

You never know who who you’ll bump into in Wanaka, especially when New Zealand is having their best season in years! Our Mint Chicks guides were lucky enough to meet the Burton team today, including one of snowboardings most influential riders Terje Haakonson. The girls were stoked beyond words. Thanks Terje Haakonsen, Danny Davis and Mikkel Bang for saying G’Day. #churbro #living #legends #royalty

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Canada: Whistler-Blackcomb

There is more to Whistler-Blackcomb than just the party!

Whistler is on every snowboarders bucket list. Perfect groomers, world-class parks, incredible backcountry, and a village that has practically evolved into one giant apres-ski venue. The pros love it, the locals don’t want to share it, and international ski-bums flock here every season for that elusive ’Whistler’ experience. Ripe with bars, cafes, lounges, nightclubs, patios and pubs, it is known as being random and spontaneous, and often, a debaucherous way to celebrate a day on the slopes. There is no wonder it is often considered the best apres-ski scene in North America. But there is more to Whistler than just the party…you just need to see it (or ride it) to believe it.

Need a few more reasons to shred this part of the world?

Whistler-Blackcomb makes it to the top of ‘best of’ lists all over the world, and reading the figures, it’s hard to dispute. The largest skiable area in North America, Whistler-Blackcomb boasts 8000 acres over two mountains, and more than 200 runs. Not to mention an average annual snowfall of over 12 metres. Hosting the largest high-speed ski lift system and Peak to Peak gondola means the resort has the capacity of transporting over 64,000 riders per hour…say goodbye to those long lift lines!

One of the best aspects about this resort is it’s appeal to all skiing and snowboarding levels. Well-groomed green trails run from from high altitudes down to the resort base, which means novice skiiers and snowboarders are no longer restricted to just the lower slopes, and are able to get that ‘big mountain’ experience without straying to far outside their comfort zones. Half of the terrain is graded for intermediates, with super long runs and challenging off-piste slopes in the high alpine terrain. The Whistler side of the resort is also the perfect place to take the next step into powder and tree skiing. The wide open bowls, steep chutes, and narrow gullies create limitless opportunities for advanced riders, especially on epic powder days. It’s often challenging to find a resort that is suited to everyone on a ski-trip, but Whistler-Blackcomb’s versatile terrain means that no man is left behind!

The hallmark of Whistler-Backcomb is its incredible variety of runs to suit whatever style and mood you’re feeling on the day. With terrain like this, you can ride almost every condition possible: bowls and chutes, piste and groomers. For powder-filled mornings, you can’t beat the wide open bowls of the Glacier and Seventh Heaven on the Blackcomb side of the resort. These are a favourite among locals, and are sure to have you whooping and hollering in no time. If you’re looking for an adrenaline pumping time, check out the double diamond runs off Spanky’s Ladder, or test your nerves (and skills) and ride the infamous ’Couloir Extreme’; one of the top ten steep in-bounds runs in the world. The long and windy ‘Peak to Creek’ run is perfect for a good ol’ cruise, or tighten those bindings and shred hard and fast on the Dave Murray Downhill (used as course in the 2010 Winter Olympics).

Riding the incredible Peak 2 Peak is worth the road trip to Whistler-Blackcomb alone. Spanning from Whistler peak to Blackcomb Glacier, the highest and longest unsupported cable car is both epic and nerve-wreaking. Within 11 minutes, you can go from powder-licious bowls and chutes, to challenging tree runs and long windy groomers. The P2P also allows equal access to all three Whistler bases (Whistler Village, Upper Village and Creekside), so you can ride easily from first-chair to dusk.

Whistler-Blackcomb is home to six terrain parks. Count em’. Six! You could easily put a whole day aside to simply attempt every rail, box and feature on the hill, perfecting your style. The best part about these parks is that they’re incredibly user-friendly. The parks themselves are rated from S to XL according to their difficulty, appealing to every riding level. Each feature and jump is also rated so you know what to expect before you take off. The immaculately sculpted Olympic Superpipe and boardercross track are also crowd favourites at Whistler, and well worth the lines.

The resort also offers an opportunity for powder hounds to beat the gondola queues and make some memorable first tracks at Whistler-Blackcomb. Get your hands on a “Fresh Tracks” ticket and access freshly groomed trails and untouched powder whilst the rest of the village is waiting in lift-lines. It will be one of the best decisions you make on your visit (plus first tracks always guarantees a few high fives!).

Locals tip: master one mountain before switching to the next to make the most of the secret stashes and spend less time checking the trail map, and more time shredding. The biggest decision you will have to make is which mountain to ride first!

Is Whistler-Backcomb at the top of your list for places to shred? Mint Tours is offering some epic tours and packages for this upcoming Winter season. Ride with some of the best guides in the industry and experience for yourself why Whistler-Blackcomb lives up to its reputation.

ENQUIRE NOW!

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USA: Pacific-Northwest

Why the Pacific-Northwest should be on your MUST-RIDE list!

When those groomers and backcountry runs become all too familiar and you’re looking for your next snowboard destination, you can’t go past the Pacific-Northwest! Combining the mountains and valleys of Oregon and Washington states, this part of the USA has become one of our favourite destinations to shred, drawing us back year after year. Close to Seattle and Portland, and with Vancouver just across the border, the Pacific-Northwest is one of the most easily accessible snowboard destinations in the USA. Being bounded by the Pacific Ocean in the West and the Rocky Mountains in the East means this zone gets hammered with light and dry powdery snow, perfect for any snowboarder wanting to ride big mountain terrain like Mt. Bachelor, Mt. Baker and Mt. Hood. Team that up with a great live music scene, awesome beer and food, and all round good vibes, the Pacific-Northwest is the perfect spot for the ultimate shred-fest!

VIEW OUR PACIFIC NORTH-WEST SNOWBOARD TOURS HERE

Need a few more reasons to shred this part of the world?

1. There’s something for everyone
Whether you’re a freerider or a powderhound, the Pacific-Northwest has just what you seek. Nestled among the infamous Central Cascades, Mt. Hood Meadows and Mt. Bachelor ski resorts are a freerider’s ultimate playground. These volcanic mountain ranges offer some of the best natural terrain in North America, from huge alpine bowls, to steep pitches, and stacks of natural features scattered across the resorts. Mt. Hood Meadows also boasts the ‘best cruising intermediate terrain’ in the state (as voted by Oregonians!). For those looking to get ‘steep and deep’, Mt. Baker answers the call, with numerous canyons and bowls, guaranteed to serve up some of the best powder riding you’ve ever seen.

2. The best terrain parks, West of the Rocky Mountains
If you’re after playful terrain, Mt. Hood Meadows is THE place to ride. Designed by the legendary Snow Park Technologies, there are six terrain parks (and one epic superpipe) to pick and choose from and dial in those tricks. Not to mention, Mt. Hood Meadows is home to North America’s only year-round terrain park. That’s right…365 days of shred! The newly updated park configuration has been crafted with a slopestyle influence, which means you can easily transition from one park to another. Add that to a new park-only tow… bring on those endless park laps!

3. Light, dry, powdery goodness
And lots of it! Mt. Baker is legendary for many reasons; one being that it averages the most annual snowfall (over 16 metres!) of anywhere in the world, and holds the record for the most snowfall in a single season (an incredible 28 metres!). Those West Coast storms deliver copious amounts of snow to Mt. Hood and Mt. Bachelor, like four feet in two days kind of snow storms, so get yourself pumped for many days of first tracks. There are definitely no friends on these powder days!

4. Endless backcountry
With the highest skiable elevations in all of Oregon and Washington, Mt. Bachelor and Mt. Hood serve up endless opportunities for incredible backcountry riding. Ride 360 degrees off the summit at Mt. Bachelor and shred steep pitches of powder, or drop into the pulse-pounding double blacks. Or take it easy and hit some deep powder bowls and untouched canyon runs that surround Mt. Hood. Definitely worth the hike out!

5. Beer
Snowboarding and beer are a perfect partnership, and what’s a shred-fest without après ski! Officially named the ‘best city for Happy Hour in the USA, Portland is a beer-connoisseurs’ heaven. Home to the most breweries and independent microbreweries of any city in the world, it is impossible to pass up a beer (or two) when you pass through. Portland is also renown for their street food scene, with food cart ‘pods’ found on nearly every block in the city, and their coffee that would rival any inner-city café in Melbourne (it is Oregonians next favourite drink after microbrew!).

What are you waiting for? Make the Pacific-Northwest your next snowboard trip now!

Join us as we hit Mt. Hood and Mt. Bachelor this March on our inaugural Pacific-Northwest Shred-Fest. Kick back with us in Portland, Bend, and Mt Hood as we try the local craft brews, and enjoy the all round good vibes that draw us back to the USA every year.

MORE DETAILS HERE

 

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Top 5 must-ride runs in NZ

Groomed, steep, powdery, or long and cruisy… everybody has their own idea of a perfect ski run. Check out our top 5 must-ride ski runs in New Zealand (and how to find them!).

#5. Arcadia Chutes at Cardrona:
Head over to the ‘Dark Side’ and discover the secret chutes and hidden powder stashes of Cardrona. A mix of advanced and expert terrain, it is not for the faint hearted. Steep pitches and narrow lines are sure to get your heart pumping. You will definitely be grinning after conquering these chutes! Steep and deep!

#4. Homeward run at the Remarkables
Want a place to make some long floating powder turns with an amazing backdrop? You can’t ski past the Homeward run at the ‘Remarks’. This often uncrowded run is also the resorts longest, giving plenty of time to enjoy each turn. A local favourite, the run takes you right down to the road where a shuttle bus awaits to take you back to the resort.

#3. Sunset Bowl on Arrowsmith Range
Boasting open glacial bowls, chutes, rolling terrain, and steep pitches, the Arrowsmith Range is a powder-hound’s paradise. But it is Sunset Bowl that is a favourite among many heli-skiiers. It’s no more challenging than your standard blue run, but it’s gentle rolling pitch and deep powder pockets make it a perfect run to start (or continue) your big-mountain powder addiction.

#2. Superpipe at Treble Cone
Saddle Basin is home to Treble Cones infamous natural halfpipes. Superpipe is the perfect combination of steep and wide, with big banks and loads of natural hits for those wanting to make progressive transitions. It’s also a great place to hone in on those skills after a big dump! Get ready for those Superpipe laps!

#1. Million Dollar and Wall Street at Coronet Peak
Some of the best runs are those long and windy, super fun groomers. Put these two runs together and you’ve got yourself a winner! Perfect for making some tight, fast turns or carving out the corduroy. The natural lips and rolling terrain are just right to pop some tricks, nail your switch, or simply cruise along to some tunes and enjoy the ride!

Keen to strap yourself in and ride these epic runs? Join us at Mint Tours for an one of our fully-hosted and guided snowboarding adventures and experience all the best backcountry, heli-ski, and resort runs New Zealand has to offer. We might even let you in on more of our secret spots to shred this winter!

CHECK OUT OUR NEW ZEALAND SNOWBOARD TOURS

New Zealand Roadtrip VIEW HERE
Mt Cook Splitboard Camp VIEW HERE
All Rounder Tour VIEW HERE

Big Mountain Heli Tour VIEW HERE
Mint Chicks Camp VIEW HERE

Winter Essentials

Time to go snowboarding! Are you ready?

Winter is here! Before you head to the hill, check out our list of essentials to take on your next snowboarding trip!

1. SNOWBOARD – Whether you’re hitting the park at Cardrona, riding deep powder in Niseko, or going heli in Alaska, there are many options for weapon of choice. Make sure you’re packing the best board for the conditions. PRO TIP: Take your board for a wax and tune before your trip. It makes a hell of a difference and you’re ready to rip it from day one.

2. BOOTS – Check the condition of your boots. If they’re too packed out, smelly, and have seen better days, chances are you’re gonna have a bad time. Head to your local snowboard shop and get fitted up for a new pair. PRO TIP: If you’re layering socks to fit your boots, it’s time for a new pair. Just remember, that those shiny new boots may need breaking in before your trip.

3. BINDINGS – Strap yourself in and pop an ollie. Make sure all the straps and fittings are in good nick, and all the nuts and bolts are accounted for. It’s also a good time to dial in your stance. Busting a binding mid-run is a bastard! PRO TIP: The good thing about bindings are they’re easy to adjust to suit your style. Want to ride park? Centre the stance on the board, for powder days you want a longer nose, so set your stance back to create more float. Check out our clip with kiwi pro-rider Nick Hyne on how to set up your powder board…VIEW HERE

4. OUTERWEAR – The magic words are waterproofing and breathability. Snowboarding is fun until you’re sitting there shivering on a chairlift. Whistler, Vail, Revelstoke, Myoko… they all have different conditions. Match your outerwear to the place and time of season you are heading into. Don’t forget a powder skirt if your travelling to the magical land of pow! As for gloves, taking a few different pairs is highly recommended, with inner liners for any go-pro / iPod / binding adjustments. PRO TIP: Choose mittens for warmth, and gloves for dexterity. Everyone has a personal preference. Remember, pipe gloves should be reserved for…well, the pipe.

5. THERMALS – Snowboarders are like onions… they have layers! Invest in merino wool thermals to stay toasty and warm in all conditions. Avoid cotton socks at all costs, but thin socks (with no calf seams) are all you need. Beanies, face mask, neck warmer. You’re about to experience a whole new level of cold outside Australia, so layer up!

6. GOGGLES – The key is being prepared for all light conditions: low-light, high-glare, fog, snowy, night sessions. Not being able to see ruins any day on the slopes. Investing in a good pair of goggles with interchangeable lens’ will save you from that annoying sprint back to your room for your other pair. If you’re starting out, go for an orange or pink universal lens that will suit most conditions. Don’t forget to pack a pair of sunnies for backcountry missions and spring sessions! PRO TIP: Pack your goggles into your boots to give them extra protection from the ‘gentle’ baggage handlers.

7. HELMET – Wear one. And make sure you try your helmet and goggles on together for the perfect fit. No one likes that ‘gaper’ look. PRO TIP: Running out of room in your board bag? Clip your helmet onto your carry on and you can always just say you’re being prepared for any mid-air turbulence.

8. TOOL – Bring one to make those mid-run tweaks to your setup.

9. WAX & IRON – Mother Nature can be a fickle creature, so bring along some wax, an iron and a scraper to get the best out of your board. PRO TIP: Choose the right temp wax to suit the conditions. If in doubt, a good all-temp wax will do the trick.

10. WHEELIE BOARD BAG – Airports suck without wheels. Trust me. Unless you’re a Tetris pro and able to stack all your luggage on one of those airport trolleys (which always seem to have a dodgy wheel), choose a high-quality board bag with in-built wheels. Opt for a padded bag as well, to reduce the risk of scratches and dings. Don’t forget an approved TSA lock (or cables ties work a charm) to secure your ‘precious’. PRO TIP: If you’re taking two boards (lucky you), make a snowboard-sandwich in your board bag, with your top board base facing upward, bindings still attached. It gives you a little extra protection for your gear and stops everything from moving around.

11. MEDICAL ESSENTIALS – We all know the most important thing to remember is protection. A lick of sunscreen will make a world of difference to your face. We also like to pack Deep Heat (aka tiger balm) for those sore muscles, and Berocca (for those early mornings *wink wink). PRO TIP: You’re never too manly for lip balm.

Preparation is the key to making a good snowboarding trip your best one yet. But don’t fret: Mint Tours have got your back! We know all the in’s and out’s of preparing for THE ultimate snowboarding trip. Hit us up for advice on the essential gear to take on your next adventure