End of the 2017 Heliski Season Highlights

October 26, 2017

Elena Hight  and  Enni Rukajarvi  giving the 2017 Southern Lakes Heliski season the big high 5. Photo:  Ashley Barker

Elena Hight and Enni Rukajarvi giving the 2017 Southern Lakes Heliski season the big high 5.
Photo: Ashley Barker

It’s always hard to say goodbye to another heliski season in New Zealand, but it’s also nice to dust off the bikes and surfboards for the long Summer months. Some of the crew love the heat but the majority of our guides fear it, instead heading to a variety of cold locations to keep skiing and boarding.

The 2017 New Zealand Winter was defined by exceptional heliski conditions.  Snowfall was frequent and the snow that fell was dry and non-wind affected. Between the storms, we had multiple bluebird days with the best heliskiing and boarding occurring between mid-July to the mid-September.

Spencer O’Brien  enjoying the fruits of the September super storm. Photo:  Ashley Barker

Spencer O’Brien enjoying the fruits of the September super storm. Photo: Ashley Barker

Spring quickly turned back to Winter after a couple of good snow falls in September. The biggest snow dump of the season hit on September the 11th with over 60cm falling on our extensive terrain. This deepened the snow base and kept us heliskiing until early October.

Creating signatures in the mountains. Photo:  Tarn Pilkington

Creating signatures in the mountains. Photo: Tarn Pilkington

Highlights of the season were seeing many return customers coming back to heli ski. We also saw a lot of new faces and it was a pleasure for our experienced guides to be able to showcase our extensive terrain and find the best powder. Central Otago is blessed with beautiful scenery, great alpine heli skiing, adventure and fantastic culture in our local towns of Queenstown and Wanaka, so the general consenus was, it’s a great place to have a Winter holiday.

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We were excited to receive a 2017 TripAdvisor Excellence Award. This was achieved by great customer reviews so thank you to everyone who contributed. The award has given us confidence in our business success and only motivates us to keep doing what we love.

Exiting the helicopter, before a few powder turns above Lake Wanaka. Photo:  Ashley Barker

Exiting the helicopter, before a few powder turns above Lake Wanaka. Photo: Ashley Barker

We were fortunate to have some legendary skiers and snowboarders fly with us, such as some of  The Burton Team including legends like Kelly Clark (Gold medal Olympian), Jack Mitrani (Athlete and X Games Host) and Danny Davis (Pro Snowboarder). It was great to see more ladies out in the backcountry this year. We got the pleasure of enjoying the company of The Radheidis crew, and Pro-riders such as Elena Hight and Enni Rukajarvi accompanied by their talented photographer Ashley Barker.

Mons Royale + Southern Lakes Heliski = a perfect partnership Photo:  Tim Clark

Mons Royale + Southern Lakes Heliski = a perfect partnership
Photo: Tim Clark

We partnered with Mons Royale which is a perfect match due to both of our mutual love of the mountains. If you haven’t heard of them then check them out, they create versatile stylish merino clothing which can be worn on the skifield or out on the town. “Mons” is worn by all of the best action sports athletes including the NZ Olympic Team.

As we shut the doors on our offices and reflect on all the memories that were made in the past few months, we really have to thank all our guests that joined us this winter. As locals who love and appreciate our environment we feel privileged to be able to share it year after year. We wouldn’t have jobs in heli-skiing if it wasn’t for all of you who choose to come with us. We look forward to seeing you all again next year in New Zealand for a few more powder turns.

The Southern Lakes Heliski  Guides  after a successful 2017 Winter heliski season.

The Southern Lakes Heliski Guides after a successful 2017 Winter heliski season.