New Zealand 2010 Trip Plans/Thoughts/Reviews Thread

smashy

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Hi Heinz,

Pls forgive my ignorance but how have you got in so many heli days on seperate occasions. Are you working for them this season? Or do you simply book last minute when conditions are looking good?

Cheers Mike
 

Heinz

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No, I just spend 2 weeks each year in Wanaka and get them to pencil me in on their books for that period, so I'll go out most days they are flying. If it looks shitty though I'll tell them to scratch me.
 

Cham

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Heinz....shots look good. Matter of interest have you been Heli in the Arrowsmith ranges with Methven Heli Opp? Interested in your comparison. Looking at the ranges out of Wanaka the Arrowsmith mountains look far more aggressive in pitch etc. I am also going off what some crew said that joined us on a Arowsmith day after doing the HM ranges. But that is just one crews opinion.
 

Cham

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Heinz said:
Cham said:
Never seen the Main Basin of TC in what I would call great conditions. Not as bad as what in looks in your shots Heinz but never anything to write home about.

Treble Cone Main Basin August 2009

Powderbowl
210_TC_Powderbowl.jpg

All about timing hey. Never had luck in TC or QT. TC is by far the best commercial field in south NZ IMO.
 
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BofSki

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Just back from a day at Mt Dobson in the Mackenzie, half way between Chrsistchurch and Queenstown. Blue sky day until about 2:30 when the cloud moved up the valley and it started snowing. Bit of a white-out that then cleared, got out again at 3:00 for a couple of runs. Very flat light and a dusting of new snow made things too hard for me, and with aching legs from 1st day this year drove down at about 3:30.

Excellent day all round, I really think Dobson is under-rated. With 2.5 metres of cover and yet I was the 12th car in the park at about 9:10! Basing myself in Fairlie, so will be back to-morrow with plans to fit in Roundhill and Fox Peak during the week.

Sorry no photos until I find a faster connection, this one is painful.

Finally a big
thumbsup.gif
to the Ski Patrol at Dobson for the way I got 'moved on' from the platter lift. Not having skied for nearly 12 months, I went there to get a few practice runs in. Well as usual at Dobson it was pretty (very) empty and by the fourth run I had found my ski legs and did a pretty quick run down. Patroller complemented me on my ability, and suggested I could move on to the T bar. I explained what I was doing and agreed I would be moving on. How nice, no telling off, no threats of losing pass, he got what he wanted and we both left happy. Very Impressed.
 
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Telestrom

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Went up to Coronet Peak today and it was surprisingly very good. There was a light dusting of snow yesterday 1-2cm and with the snow guns operating it meant the trails were in great shape and there was also some reasonable off-piste as well.

Loads of ski teams up there at the moment doing training and racing. From memory there's teams from USA, Canada, Japan and Germany.
 

Red_switch

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Were you living here in 2003 Tele? That was a crazy year, one of the worst seasons for the Southern Lakes in a while, until late August when it started dumping, and continued to do so for the rest of spring
 

Heinz

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Telestrom said:
BTW, here's some pics of Treble Cone with reasonable snow down low. 4 Sep 2003.

normal_114_1469_1.JPG

with the old T2 still in place.
 
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Heinz

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Cham said:
Heinz....shots look good. Matter of interest have you been Heli in the Arrowsmith ranges with Methven Heli Opp? Interested in your comparison. Looking at the ranges out of Wanaka the Arrowsmith mountains look far more aggressive in pitch etc. I am also going off what some crew said that joined us on a Arowsmith day after doing the HM ranges. But that is just one crews opinion.

Never did the heli out of Methven. Might have considered it years ago. Mostly skied Hutt out of there in the 80's before the heli op. In those days I would go with Alpine Guides out of Mt. Cook as well as HMH out of Wanaka. But with Paul Scaife in particular always making me very welcome in Wanaka back then, that was where I concentrated on. So I have a strong connection with the place as well as the crew at HMH, so it is just an automatic thing for me now.

The bonus for the last 10 years is that as well as the Harris, Buchanans, Minarets in the Wanaka area they also have permits for the Ben Ohaus & Gammacks in the Mt. Cook area so I've been able to revisit some of the places I first skied 25 years ago while staying in Wanaka and not being stuck at Mt. Cook on a down day.

Of all of those the Ben Ohaus would have the most dramatic terrain, steep, rugged, glaciated and big runs. But it is also more exposed, gets more bad weather and hence shorter flying windows. On a very general level the terrain is a bit more like Mt. Hutt - more big faces, more rock bands in comparison with some of the more rolling terrain in the Southern lakes. I don't know the Arrowsmiths, maybe they are similar to that. Although the Gammacks are quite different again.

While much of the terrain regularly used out of Wanaka is reasonably mellow there is still plenty of good steep stuff about. eg. Tonys chutes in the Buchanans, Holy Moses chutes on Craig Royston come to mind and plenty more. The big issue though always is stability - you can have steep terrain but if stability is an issue you can't ski it. That certainly has been the case at the moment. And as we all know Methven heli had their major problems with that in the Arrowsmiths last year. HMH this year have actually started a system where the lead guide opens / closes particular runs based on their stability.

If you were serious about really testing tourself in some steep terrain down around Wanaka, go later in the season when the stability in generally much better and try and talk to Geoff Small - one of NZ's top free skiers who guides for HMH and also does clinics. I'm sure he'll be able to point you in the right direction. Not that the other guides aren't all great skiers themsleves.
 
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Heinz

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North Buchanans - Dragonstail, Beam me up - August 10

Heinz said:
Another brilliant day today, this time in the North Buchanans. Taking advantage of the fine spell of weather before the change later in the week. Again 20-30 cms of fresh all the way to the valley floor at times so some quite long runs. Started on Mt Eostre then a few on Dragons tail then a few more of Beam me up where we were able to ski to the valley floor at around 3900 ft (run vert around 2700 ft). Funny skiing over tussocks mounds with 20 cms snow on top - all good though, just a little harder work through it. Some pretty spectacluar terrain in there. Don't think I have ever got down that low on that run. Another couple on Dragons tail on the way out - all fresh lines. Magic.

Start of the day at Aspiring station in the Matukituki valley - view of Rob Roy.
078_Rob_Roy.jpg


View of Aspiring from the Buchanans
079_Aspiring.jpg


On Dragonstail we were able to ski to valley floor (around 3900 ft according to the heli altimeter down from 6600 ft on the ridge) which doesn't happen too often. Prior to the previous storm there would have been no snow at all down here, all this fell mostly of top of tussock which did feel a bit odd but very good. Thankfully no rocks - at least I didn't encounter any.
081_NB_Dragonstail.jpg


082_NB_Dragonstail.jpg


083_NB_Dragonstail_valley.jpg
 
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Heinz

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North Buchanans - Dragonstail, Beam me up - August 10 (cont)

Then a little further north to a run called Beam me up (presumably named by a Star Trek fan back in the 80's).

After a couple of valley floor runs we opted for a different line which meant a higher pickup but fresh lines. Around about here was were we needed to pickup because below it bluffed out.

085_NB_Beam_me_up.jpg


Another variation and frozen waterfalls.
087_NB_Beam_me_up_waterfall.jpg


088_NB_Beam_me_up_waterfall.jpg


A late afternoon pickup in the shade.
089_NB_Beam_me_up.jpg
 
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Heinz

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Mt. Cook - Ben Ohaus, Gammacks - August 11

Heinz said:
Just got back from Mt. Cook. Another great day. Left Wanaka around 7:45 with a fwe others by car for the 2 hour drive to Glentanner. Started off with cloudless skies and went into the Ben Ohaus and skied Mt. Mary - crusty up top but came good lower down. Had 3 runs there, then wind started to pick up and other options weren't on so we switched to the Gammack range. Had some short but sweet runs in about 30-40cm of powder in First stream then lunch. A few more different lines, then back to Burn Baby burn for a couple to finish off. 9 runs around 6,000 vert metres.

Then as a bonus the heli we were flying in needed a service in Wanaka so a few of us got to fly back - 40 mins against a 2 hour drive - very speccy - got back just before dark.

Was a relatively early start but not as early as hard working lead guide Roger. Plenty goes into planning a Mt Cook day. He was in the office till 10pm (I was in the bar across the road and could see the light on) and back there at 6am.

So everyone (3 groups) was assembled at Glentanner station around 10am ready to go.

Heli briefing at Glentanner, Mt. Cook in the background.
093_MC_Glentanner.jpg


Flying in looking towards Mt. Cook and the Tasman glacier. The glacial lake is very apparent - has grown substantianally in recent years.
094_Mt_Cook.jpg


First few runs on Mt. Mary in the Ben Ohaus. Top section wasn't the greatest with the wind having done it's work up top but was brilliant lower down.
096_MC_Mt_Mary.jpg


099_MC_Mt_Mary.jpg


101_MC_Mt_Mary.jpg


Looking towards Lake Pukaki
103_MC_Mt_Mary.jpg
 
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Heinz

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Mt. Cook - Ben Ohaus, Gammacks - August 11 (cont)

Then as the wind started to pick up in the Ben Ohaus and limited our options we decided to head acrosss the valley to the Gammacks.

Looking down at Lake Pukaki from the other side from First stream.
104_MC_Gammacks_First_Stream.jpg


Looking the other way
105_MC_Gammacks.jpg


The skiing was very good here top to bottom - no wind effect.
108_MC_Gammacks_First_stream.jpg


although there was a bit of wind on the ridges
109_MC_Gammacks_First_stream.jpg


looking down valley again
110_MC_Gammacks_First_stream.jpg


Last run of the day - Burn baby burn - can guess how it got it's name - it is a reasonably long run. This was just the very end of it. Was definately worth getting out left for the fresh lines.
113_MC_Gammacks_BurnBB.jpg
 
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Heinz

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Mt. Cook - Ben Ohaus, Gammacks - August 11 (cont)

Back at Glentanner - another view of Mt. Cook
114_Mt_Cook.jpg


Then the bonus flight home. We had just started the drive back when Roger called. He just found out that the machine we were flying in was due for a service in Wanaka, so there were 3 seats avaialble in the heli!

A very nice flight with a cruising altitude of 7000 ft so we got a very good view of the mountains on the way back south with the setting sun.

121_Cook-Wanaka_flight.jpg


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Was amazed at how much has been developed at Wanaka airport. Plenty of new businesses and lots of helis being serviced and rebuilt. Here was one of those being rebuilt.
128_Wanaka_airport_heli.jpg
 
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Rabid K9

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Wicked Heinz - like the look of that Mackenzie country terrain, am envious of so many heli-days, I'll be using a slightly more labour intensive approach not that far from there shortly.

Looking like a system of interest spinning up over the next few days, mid next week could be on for the Mackenzie & Canterbury country... I'm in Wednesday, action stations from Thursday morning.

Question for our man about town in Christchurch, James B. Recommendations for Black Diamond gear stockists amongst the managerie of outdoor shops in town, want to get in & out quick.
 

just visiting

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Telestrom said:
Red_switch said:
Were you living here in 2003 Tele?

I was living in Wellington at the time and did a whistle stop tour of the SI.

I was living in Wanaka in 2003. That storm cycle from mid-August was nuts! Bumper to bumper cold fronts stretching back under Australia. It dumped every night/morning, and blue bird powder day by 10-2pm, pretty much every day. I was absolutely ruined my the beginning of September. Ruined in a smiling way
 
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Heinz

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Just another note on the Mt. Cook day. We had an young Italian snowboarder join us for the day. Talking to him on the drive up I learnt that he was from Torino and that he had only arrived in NZ a couple of days prior, flew in Christchurch and drove to Wanaka. This was going to be his first day riding in NZ, his first day ever in a heli. He had booked the day online in Italy before coming out (not sure if he specifically booked a Mt. Cook day) based on some snowboard films. I was a little wary when I learnt he was going to be in our group but those concerns were quickly allayed after our first run. He was a very good rider and more importantly paid good attention to guiding instructions. He clearly had a great day and would have got some good footage on his helmet cam as well. As a bonus he also got on the heli ride back to Wanaka.

Not a bad way to start a NZ holiday, considering Mt. Cook days normally only happen maybe once or twice a week, the excellent conditions we got and getting a heli back to Wanaka just never happens!

The problem for him then was where did he go from there. We asked him what he was doing the next day and he said riding TC. Riding frozen over crud was going to be quite a come down after that!
 

Heinz

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Buchanans - Triple peak - August 14

Heinz said:
at ZQN on the way home for another year. Had a good last day around Triple peak in the Buchanans getting above the rain layer. Was good skiing in somewhat dense new snow down to around 1700m then started to get into some breakable crust so picked up high and did more shorter runs.

Watched Southland defend Ranfurly shield - good to see.

Last ski day of the trip. Unfortunately there had been some more rain, but despite that the skiing higher up was still very good, gradually getting heavier before hitting the breakable crust where we elected to pickup.

Was another very warm day. When we got back to Wanaka at the end everyone was sitting outside the cafes in t-shirts (at least until the sun dropped below the peaks).

Did several runs in Tonys bowl with the chutes below definately out of the question. Shortish mellow runs but few complaints. Certainly better than skiing refrozen crud at TC.

Tonys
140_TP_Tonys.jpg


141_TP_Tonys.jpg


One of the challenges the guides have is selecting good heli pickup spots. Sometimes it is tempting to ski lower down when the snow is still good. The problem is still having somewhere suitable for the pilot to be able to land the heli. They are pretty good but still prefer a reasonably flat area to land. In some places once you get into a gully you have to ski it all the way out to the valley and this certainly wan't an option on this day. Occaisonally we need to do a bit of digging and packing down to establish a landing area. Also in this terrain when the guide is hunting around for a pickup spot you most definately don't ski past him. You should be able to see why here :
143_TP_Tonys_heli.jpg


Off Triple peak
146_TP_Triple.jpg


On the Matukituki valley side looking across to Treble Cone.
145_TP_Triple.jpg
 
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BofSki

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Hi all, I'm posting this as a cautionary tale for those of us, who like me, take camper vans / motor homes, or any other vehicle for that matter, up to some of the smaller south island fields.

Set off up Mt Dobson this morning, chains required on 2WD. Stopped at the appointed place and put chains on.

About 1km further on I came round a corner and was presented with a fairly steep slope covered in packed snow/ice. Immediately started to lose traction, accelerated a little to see if chains would 'bite' but that didn't work so backed off and stopped to see what problem was.

That's when the fun started, unbeknown to me I had thrown the left chain off at the last corner. As soon as I stopped, the weight of the van, and the steepness of the slope caused the whole thing to start rotating about the right rear tire - on only thing with any grip. Effectively I was in a reverse front wheel skid.

Luckily I had the presence of mind / experience to take my foot off the brake, let the van roll down the hill and steer out of the skid. Braked again and repeated this exercise 2 more times before I was able to steer into the deeper snow on the mountain side of the road which effectively prevented further rotation. Walked back and retrieved errant chain, re-fitted it and carried on without further problem.

I tend to take these roads pretty cautiously at the best of times, but what this has made me realise is just how small the margin for error is, particularly when something goes wrong. Take care out there people.
 

Zocs

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Hi guys,

First trip to Queenstown and was wondering if i should get my board waxed in town, or does Coronet Peak and/or Remarkables have waxing facilities up there?
 

robbied

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BofSki said:
Hi all, I'm posting this as a cautionary tale for those of us, who like me, take camper vans / motor homes, or any other vehicle for that matter, up to some of the smaller south island fields.

Set off up Mt Dobson this morning, chains required on 2WD. Stopped at the appointed place and put chains on.
..........

Quite the drive in a campervan isnt it?
One thing we always kept checking every few minutes were our chains.
Luckily they never came off, they are tricky to fit though.

Zocs said:
Hi guys,

First trip to Queenstown and was wondering if i should get my board waxed in town, or does Coronet Peak and/or Remarkables have waxing facilities up there?

Definately in town. Make sure you allow some time they get busy. I went to R&R sports a few times they're ok.
 
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Heinz

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A few other assorted pics.

Afternoon view of Aspiring on the way back to Wanaka (too much looking into the sun though unfortunately).
050_Lake_Wanaka_Aspiring_view.jpg


Pembroke park
060_Pembroke_park.jpg


View of Fog peak & Niger from town.
062_Fog_Pk.jpg


Ready for another day.
053_Phoebe_Ck_heli_Heinz.jpg
 
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Heinz

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Roys bay & Mt Iron
135_Wanaka_Mt_Iron.jpg


view from a motel
139_Wanaka_Brookvale_view.jpg


view of Coronet from ZQN
147_Coronet_Pk_from_ZQN.jpg
 
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robbied

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Heinz said:
Ready for another day.
053_Phoebe_Ck_heli_Heinz.jpg

You had the same guide as I've had before. Can't remember his name right now. Good guy.
 
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Heinz

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The guide behind me I think might have been Chris Cochrane (aka Roachy) - based in Qtn. I didn't actually ski with him that day but did on another day along with Roger, Whitney, Anna, & Davey at various times. They are all very good. The pilot at the back is known as Spinner (don't actually know his real name), but he is a bloody good pilot who really enjoys his work.
 

andy222009

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Last year I did a review comparing falls creek with hotham for those people perhaps new to the snow who were tossing up between the two.

A week ago I spent my first week in nz. A lot of people try to work out whether it is worth going to nz for a week or so or just spending time at a different resort in Australia. Here are my thoughts (I only went to cardrona and treble cone) on my experience:

1. Ease of access. Australia on-snow>nz off snow>>>>Australia off snow. Nz is all driving up to the snow each day and up the hills on dirt roads which can get muddy. The drive up is not as difficult as say to driving up hotham each day but still makes it a bit of a hassle to drive each day and change etc. this is very important for those with kids etc where driving up each day might be an important consideration. I didn’t mind it as the drive isn’t that long.

2. Terrain – I have two words for those who want challenging terrain. “treble coneâ€. This is a serious mountain and not for beginners. If you have beginners with you then don’t even consider treble cone. A blue run at falls creek or even hotham is not the equivalent of a blue run at tc !

Cardrona is a bit like falls creek. If you are considering cardrona only and the snow is the same in aust or nz then I would not bother spending the hassle to just go to cardrona. I didn’t go to the others in nz south island.

3. Restaurants etc – nz seems to be more about skiing because that is what people do there and not so much the resort style that aust has. Result – lots of people bring their own food and no one cares – even in the cafes if they eat their byo there particularly at treble cone. Still there are cafes and restaurants but not many because it isn’t what skiing appears to be about. Especially at treble cone – one café which has some really good food but for the most part people byo I think. Funnily enough though the food is better on mountain at nz than at the Australian resorts.

4. Nz has an international feel. There are people from everywhere. All the staff are british backpackers. You feel you are on an international holiday and it is great. Australia in midweek can be about Australians going to the snow for their yearly ski trip (the corollary of this is that there are fewer crowds see below). Nz in winter is just about skiing because that is what you do.

5. Crowds. In Australia during mid week it is quiet. I think it is because people mightn’t prefer to spend a whole week in an Australian resort and will go elsewhere. In NZ Cardrona midweek was surprisingly packed – people spending 1 or 2 weeks in the snow will choose nz not Australia and it shows. Long queues.

6. Snow level. It wasn’t very good the week I went but still skiable. In Australia I have found as soon as it gets marginal it is hopeless (falls creek seems to hold up though).

7. Scenery. Nz is Magnificent. You could be in the alps. Aust isn’t as spectacular but you are skiing in the trees in Australia and that is quite nice – you don’t get that in nz and it can also mean you are exposed to the weather. Even if the weather isn’t so good in aust you can get some protection.

8. Après ski. I stayed in Wanaka which is good and magnificent locale. Queenstown is a tourist honeypot and packed and rowdy and full of businesses touting for tourist dollars not just skiers. The main plus for nz is the variety of things to do if you don’t want to ski. Plenty. But if you want to just finish skiing and go off to a restaurant without hassle then Australian resorts on-snow are your best bets .

9. Costs. Nz is cheaper. The tickets are not expensive, again it comes back to the less “resorty†set up of the place and so they don’t charge as much. No mountain entry fee. But once you add up all the additional bits and pieces eg flights, getting to airport, car parking at airport or taxi, hire car, etc etc etc then really it will end up being a bit more – but not much more - to go to nz. Mightnt be if you are spending more than 1 week.

10. Time. this is something that hit me and is a consideration. Yes ok it is only 3 hours away by flying but once you take into account check in times, getting to airport, getting from airport, flight connections (if applicable), drive at other end etc etc you lose days that you otherwise would have spent skiing or just “awayâ€. In aust your seven days off can be Friday night (if really keen) to Sunday afternoon all at the snow. This will not happen if going to nz unless really lucky or possibly expensive (i.e fly to Queenstown direct) with your flights. Bank on having at least 1 day less than you otherwise would in aust.

11. Experience. I have had a tough year at work and needed a break. nz is good because you are away from it all. It feels like (well it is) an international holiday. I came back exhausted but refreshed because it was international flights, duty free, new things to see, the international feel of the ski areas and all of those things that make you feel like you have got away. That would not have happened if I had decided to go to an aust resort.

12. Atmosphere. Australian resorts seem to be so much more packaged and marketed as a commercial product – whether it is noise adrenaline advertising everywhere music everywhere and rowdy (buller and hotham) or cosy, friendly, warm fuzzy holiday places (eg falls creek). NZ “resorts†feel more like ski areas and it is much less gung ho and attitude, especially the kind of toxic behaviour you get at buller. Treble cone soon does away with those who have more attitude than skill. Cardrona is a more intermediate friendly mountain, a bit like falls creek but doesn’t push it too much. It is just another place to ski !

On balance, if the snow is the same, I would choose NZ. But if you are lowish intermediate, beginner, or just want to have a week “in the snow†or have a lot of people (eg kids!) then the Australian resorts where you are in the snow all the time, at the resort, ease of access, not driving every day etc, are the go.
 

Heinz

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Pretty reasonable summary.
Didn't realise that Cardrona was a busy as you suggested - haven't been there for years. Certainly not the case for TC. Generally the equation favours NZ more once you are looking at 2 weeks rather than 1.
 

Toto Warmlet

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There must be a reason your name has so many numbers; but I read all the review. Succinct is good.
If Heinz calls it reasonable, you've scored an A plus.
 

koopsmith

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Arrived back tonight from 15 days in Springfield and Wanaka.
Got to Porters, Mt Hutt, Mt Olympus, Roundhill, Cardrona, Treble Cone and Coronet Peak.
Pretty average year for NZ snow, but we still had some EPIC days.
Short report may follow when I have recovered from two weeks of beer, pies and long days on the snow...
 

ponyrider

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Andy, nice post, you've nailed it. Did my first week at NZ last year (after skiing for 20+ years inc Canada, Japan) and loved it. Going back in a few days. I love the feeling you get when you rock up at the bottom of Treble Cone and see that sign hanging up there - it just screams "this is an epic mountain so beware". Love the place.

If you want to do NZ cheap then you can. Stay in the backpackers, take your lunch everyday (all the Kiwi families do). I just think Wanaka and Queenstown are way more interesting than Jindy and the drive up is 'entertaining'. Plus, would I bother considering bushwalking on an off-day in the Aussie mountains? No way. Tramping in NZ? Absolutely, its beautiful. But I'm still patriotic though, looking forward to walking up Kozi again in the summer.
 

Budgiesmuggler

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The other thing about NZ is that most of the people there can actually ski. No dodging beginners or intermediates curling their way down black runs.
 

andy222009

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Budgie- you’re right. I did have that in my first draft but thought it might upset some people. I included that I noticed that the skiing ability in NZ is higher than I have seen in Australia. Again in nz skiing is just something you do.
 

hpsauce

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Being an NZ regular, I agree with most of that andy.
Except the "travel times" equation....which seems sydney/melbourne centric. But if, for example, from QLD or northern NSW (maybe WA?).......then NZ can be WAY quicker and less difficult in terms of travel.
 

hpsauce

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koopsmith said:
Arrived back tonight from 15 days in Springfield and Wanaka.
Got to Porters, Mt Hutt, Mt Olympus, Roundhill, Cardrona, Treble Cone and Coronet Peak.
Pretty average year for NZ snow, but we still had some EPIC days.
Short report may follow when I have recovered from two weeks of beer, pies and long days on the snow...
I'd like to hear a report on the strategy of staying at Springfield as a base for club fields. I've been considering this.
 
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Benn0

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andy222009 said:
1. Ease of access. Australia on-snow>nz off snow>>>>Australia off snow. Nz is all driving up to the snow each day and up the hills on dirt roads which can get muddy. The drive up is not as difficult as say to driving up hotham each day but still makes it a bit of a hassle to drive each day and change etc. this is very important for those with kids etc where driving up each day might be an important consideration. I didn’t mind it as the drive isn’t that long.

Cardrona is a bit like falls creek. If you are considering cardrona only and the snow is the same in aust or nz then I would not bother spending the hassle to just go to cardrona. I didn’t go to the others in nz south island.

5. Crowds. In Australia during mid week it is quiet. I think it is because people mightn’t prefer to spend a whole week in an Australian resort and will go elsewhere. In NZ Cardrona midweek was surprisingly packed – people spending 1 or 2 weeks in the snow will choose nz not Australia and it shows. Long queues.

10. Time. this is something that hit me and is a consideration. Yes ok it is only 3 hours away by flying but once you take into account check in times, getting to airport, getting from airport, flight connections (if applicable), drive at other end etc etc you lose days that you otherwise would have spent skiing or just “awayâ€. In aust your seven days off can be Friday night (if really keen) to Sunday afternoon all at the snow. This will not happen if going to nz unless really lucky or possibly expensive (i.e fly to Queenstown direct) with your flights. Bank on having at least 1 day less than you otherwise would in aust.

11. Experience. I have had a tough year at work and needed a break. nz is good because you are away from it all. It feels like (well it is) an international holiday. I came back exhausted but refreshed because it was international flights, duty free, new things to see, the international feel of the ski areas and all of those things that make you feel like you have got away. That would not have happened if I had decided to go to an aust resort.

12. Atmosphere. Australian resorts seem to be so much more packaged and marketed as a commercial product – whether it is noise adrenaline advertising everywhere music everywhere and rowdy (buller and hotham) or cosy, friendly, warm fuzzy holiday places (eg falls creek). NZ “resorts†feel more like ski areas and it is much less gung ho and attitude, especially the kind of toxic behaviour you get at buller. Treble cone soon does away with those who have more attitude than skill. Cardrona is a more intermediate friendly mountain, a bit like falls creek but doesn’t push it too much. It is just another place to ski !

On balance, if the snow is the same, I would choose NZ. But if you are lowish intermediate, beginner, or just want to have a week “in the snow†or have a lot of people (eg kids!) then the Australian resorts where you are in the snow all the time, at the resort, ease of access, not driving every day etc, are the go.

Good post, I just got back from Cardrona, last trip I had to NZ was Remarks and CP in 2005. I agree Cardy was far busier than I expected it to be. At Falls creek everyone disappears at 12 for lunch, but it just seemed to get busier and busier at Cardy.

I didn't mind the drive up, but then having to trek from the car to the lift was painful, compared with staying on snow at Falls.

And I agree on the time thing. We left home at 7am, and got to our accom in Wanaka at 6pm Oz time, so 11 hours. I can almost drive to an Oz resort in that time.

I found the atmosphere at Cardy not so nice as Falls. I don't know if it was just because it was so busy, or there were too many teenage boarders with too much attitude or what. Just wasn't all that pleasant.

Worst part of my trip was leaving on Sunday, just after they'd had a foot of fresh stuff..... spewin!

edit: I did like the whitestar and captains chairs, fast and comfortable. And the runs were nice and long compared to Falls.

McDouglas chair is a shocker!
 
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hpsauce

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Benn0 said:
And I agree on the time thing. We left home at 7am, and got to our accom in Wanaka at 6pm Oz time, so 11 hours. I can almost drive to an Oz resort in that time.
I reckon pumping out 11 hrs in a car licks balls. Having a coffee and reading a mag at the airport then the spectacular flight into ZQN....then a 1 hr scenic drive to Wanaka is way more civilized for me.
Of course not trying to disuade people from OZ resorts.....just that I've found travelling to south island NZ resorts towns easier from many parts of OZ
 
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Benn0

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hpsauce said:
Benn0 said:
And I agree on the time thing. We left home at 7am, and got to our accom in Wanaka at 6pm Oz time, so 11 hours. I can almost drive to an Oz resort in that time.
I reckon pumping out 11 hrs in a car licks balls. Having a coffee and reading a mag at the airport then the spectacular flight into ZQN....then a 1 hr scenic drive to Wanaka is way more civilized for me.
Of course not trying to disuade people from OZ resorts.....just that I've found travelling to south island NZ resorts towns easier from many parts of OZ

Yep, alot of the travel is sitting around eating and drinking, but it is also lugging the limited stuff you are allowed to fly with, and getting through customs and security with your liquids in plastic bags. If you have kids then packing it all in the car sounds easier.
 
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hpsauce

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Maybe you like driving more than me. Sure the packing in the boot is easier with kids.......but I don't like the thought of 11hrs in the car with young kids.
 

Benn0

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I just don't like the going through security, limiting what I can take, I can't even take a bottle of water on with me. And I don't like being squashed into cattle class, a car seat is much more comfortable. And I can stop and stretch my legs whenever I want, get some food from where ever I want... etc.

The other thing that annoyed me on this trip was hiring a car from europcar. Was supposed to be a manual soft-roader. Got a crappy tucson auto instead, the brakes hardly worked, the crappy auto gearbox couldn't get us up an average gradient hill any faster than 80 kph..... I would have rather had my car.....
 

andy222009

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All in all yes it is a bit more of a hassle going to nz compared with just loading up the car and going to aust resort (for syd/melb skiers) but so is going on any international holiday. You really have to be looking at it in this way, certainly if the snow happens to be the same in both locations.

Having thought about this more if I did go again for only a week I would definitely stump up the extra money to fly to Queenstown (whether direct or via an immediate not overnight connecting flight) rather than driving from the other centres or catching a connecting flight the next day. Might be more expensive but you will lose a lot of time travelling and faffing about at airports and/or on the road if you don’t go directly to the hills.
 

hpsauce

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andy222009 said:
All in all yes it is a bit more of a hassle going to nz compared with just loading up the car and going to aust resort (for syd/melb skiers) but so is going on any international holiday. You really have to be looking at it in this way, certainly if the snow happens to be the same in both locations.

Having thought about this more if I did go again for only a week I would definitely stump up the extra money to fly to Queenstown (whether direct or via an immediate not overnight connecting flight) rather than driving from the other centres or catching a connecting flight the next day. Might be more expensive but you will lose a lot of time travelling and faffing about at airports and/or on the road if you don’t go directly to the hills.
Exactly! Direct to ZQN might cost a little more. But is fast and spectacular. Different beer, food etc. Accom is almost always much cheaper. Car hire can be very cheap. It is swings and roundabouts really. My international travel routine is pretty dialled, so not really a hassle for me.
 
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scullee

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I disagree, i have given up on skiing Aus for anything over a day trip. I will deal with customs for the better and cheaper skiing in NZ
 

Benn0

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andy222009 said:
All in all yes it is a bit more of a hassle going to nz compared with just loading up the car and going to aust resort (for syd/melb skiers) but so is going on any international holiday. You really have to be looking at it in this way, certainly if the snow happens to be the same in both locations.

Having thought about this more if I did go again for only a week I would definitely stump up the extra money to fly to Queenstown (whether direct or via an immediate not overnight connecting flight) rather than driving from the other centres or catching a connecting flight the next day. Might be more expensive but you will lose a lot of time travelling and faffing about at airports and/or on the road if you don’t go directly to the hills.

I flew to Dunedin, it didn't take that long from Dunedin airport to Wanaka, about 2.5 hours.... If you were staying in Wanaka, flying to QT doesn't give you much advantage.

On the driving vs flying thing, yes the customs and security thing is only a small pain, not enough to stop me going to NZ, but the staying on snow thing is probably going to dictate where I go next trip. Its just more convenient.
 
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