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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…

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!

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