Mt Cook or Wanaka ski touring & heli-ski?

ahorst01

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Nov 20, 2019
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Hi!
I’m planning to go with my wife to NZ South Island next winter (July 2020). We both are passionate about ski (alpine & touring) and would like to spend some days (5-7) between Mount Cook and Wanaka.

Since the weather conditions around those areas are unpredictable, we don’t know how to plan our ski trips, and we would like to know what our options in terms of ski touring and heli-ski trips you offer. Our initial idea is to combine 1 or 2 days of heli-ski with 2 days of ski touring (ski-accessed or not), and 2 days of alpine ski (in any resort).

Where is the best place to stay to do these activities in mid July, Wanaka or Mt Cook? Is mid-July best for ski touring or Heliski?

Any suggestions will be appreciated!
Thank you!

Álvaro
 

teckel

"I'm not a cat"
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Heli skiing is entirely weather dependent. I waited for several days, and early in the morning on my last possible day, I received a phone call telling me it was on! Then it was still maybe/maybe not until 11am when they finally decided it was on. So with heli-skiing, don't lock anything in for your window. If it's not on for a particular day, have alternative plans - resort skiing, BC, whatever.
 
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Heinz

Have skis, will travel - Once borders open again..
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Mid July is a bit early. You may get lucky but August or September especially for touring would be a better choice.
Wanaka will give you more options with nearby ski fields. And if conditions are good around Mt Cook it is still only a 2 hour drive or short flight from Wanaka. HMH have options out of Queenstown, Wanaka & M Cook.
 
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ahorst01

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Nov 20, 2019
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Thank you guys.
I know July is a bit early but thats the only option we have (its our honeymoon and we are flying from Spain...hahah).
Mayabe the best option we have is to stay in Wanaka area (rather than Mt Cook) and have more alternative plans in case heliski is not possible...
Regarding the ski resorts around Wanaka, which one would you recommend: Coronet Peak, Cardrona, Treble Cone or Remarkables?
We will start our trip in Christchurch and I was thinking that maybe we should stop in Mt Hutt ski resort before going to Mt Cook/Wanaka area....is it worth it?
 

Heinz

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If you have to go in July it is best to be flexible. Check on conditions juts before you and when you arrive and decide then.

Canterbury & Southern Lakes regions can have quite different seasons depending the weather direction. If you are flying to Christchurch you will have several options available on the drive south. Mt Hutt is worth a stop if conditions are good. There are some heli ops in the Region also. Definitely drop by Mt Cook if weather is fine.

Around Wanaka & Queenstown all those ski areas have something to offer depending what you like. You should do a day at Treble Cone for the terrain and the lake views.

A couple of links:
https://www.heliski.co.nz/ for heli
https://aspiringguides.com/ for touring
 

Zimbooo

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One thing to also consider is in early July it is New Zealand school holidays. Starts July 4 in 2020 for two weeks. So, will be busy at ski resorts and accommodation providers over that time.
If you can move your wedding date to later in the July that would be better!! LOL
Also, If your longing for a good empanada don't miss the Fairlie Bakehouse (best IMO in the South Island) along the amazingly beautiful drive south from Christchurch to the southern lakes of Wanaka / Queenstown.
 

johnski

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Jan 1, 1970
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I would wait and see what conditions are like in the weeks before and then chase the snowm- Heinz is right about different areas having different seasons and snow a few hours drive apart.
Sometimes it can make sense to drive straight down south to around cook or wanaka or other times hang around Canterbury.

Heli terrain in wanaka doesn’t do it for me (too mellow - will cop flak for saying that but depends what you like).
methven heli (alpine guides) in the arrowsmith ranges (1-1.5 hours from Christchurch) has great terrain as does alpine guides at mt cook - but like all heli depends on skill level of your heli group and avalanche conditions.

Also if you like big mountain terrain and touring the club fields near Canterbury (only 1.5 hours from Christchurch) are a great option if snow is good (described as poor persons heliski) - Craigieburn https://www.craigieburn.co.nz/Home my favourite - great terrain, hiking and touring, much less busy and staying on snow in basic accom. -
See terrain video

Mt cook heliski with alpine guides also good but if doing this I would stay at lake ohau lodge great spot for honeymoon, good views over lake, good food and has its own ski field which is good for a day to two if heli at mt cook isn’t flying (need to hike or tour to get to the best terrain at ohau).

wanaka would be good for honeymoon - terrain at treble cone most interesting and great views.
 
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BoofHead

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I would wait and see what conditions are like in the weeks before and then chase the snowm- Heinz is right about different areas having different seasons and snow a few hours drive apart.
Sometimes it can make sense to drive straight down south to around cook or wanaka or other times hang around Canterbury.

Heli terrain in wanaka doesn’t do it for me (too mellow - will cop flak for saying that but depends what you like).
methven heli (alpine guides) in the arrowsmith ranges (1-1.5 hours from Christchurch) has great terrain as does alpine guides at mt cook - but like all heli depends on skill level of your heli group and avalanche conditions.

Also if you like big mountain terrain and touring the club fields near Canterbury (only 1.5 hours from Christchurch) are a great option if snow is good (described as poor persons heliski) - Craigieburn https://www.craigieburn.co.nz/Home my favourite - great terrain, hiking and touring, much less busy and staying on snow in basic accom. -
See terrain video

Mt cook heliski with alpine guides also good but if doing this I would stay at lake ohau lodge great spot for honeymoon, good views over lake, good food and has its own ski field which is good for a day to two if heli at mt cook isn’t flying (need to hike or tour to get to the best terrain at ohau).

wanaka would be good for honeymoon - terrain at treble cone most interesting and great views.
Totally, off topic but seeing you post reminded me that only a couple weeks ago, the rum drinking session I had with your younger brother at CV a couple years ago was bought up in conversation
 
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BoofHead

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Thank you guys.
I know July is a bit early but thats the only option we have (its our honeymoon and we are flying from Spain...hahah).
Mayabe the best option we have is to stay in Wanaka area (rather than Mt Cook) and have more alternative plans in case heliski is not possible...
Regarding the ski resorts around Wanaka, which one would you recommend: Coronet Peak, Cardrona, Treble Cone or Remarkables?
We will start our trip in Christchurch and I was thinking that maybe we should stop in Mt Hutt ski resort before going to Mt Cook/Wanaka area....is it worth it?
Reverse question: what ski areas do recommend in Spain?
Heading there in Jan. So far I have a rough itinerary mapped out.
Ax Les Thermes, Baquira Beret, St Larys then drive down to Sierra Nevada but I’m very flexible.
Any tips/thoughts/insights appreciated.
 

johnski

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Perth
Totally, off topic but seeing you post reminded me that only a couple weeks ago, the rum drinking session I had with your younger brother at CV a couple years ago was bought up in conversation

I tried to ban the rum after your session with him the other year Boofhead, but memory faded as it came back out for out trip this season at Craigieburn - more sore heads on a powder morning - play hard and suffer the consequences. Your upcoming trip looks fun.
 
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