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Wanaka 2012

Discussion in 'New Zealand' started by Heinz, Aug 4, 2012.

  1. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    We then moved over to Zodiac for the next couple of runs. This run is about 1000m vert and it was good all the way. There was a little wind affect on the very top section but all good after that - much better than the day 29 years ago. It dog legs around quite a bit so you don't see the whole run. Ski a long section and think that was great then turn a corner and it keeps going and going.

    [​IMG]

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    finally reach valley floor
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    Also on the way observed a couple of spectacular avalanches - enjoyed from a safe distance. It was quite a warm day and they triggered up high and were then funnelled through a narrow gap in the rock face resulting in a waterfall effect which lasted a couple of minutes.

    [​IMG]

    After lunch in the valley we got onto a run with a steepish entry called Pink Flamingo (one I hadn't ever skied before). This one was bit more affected by the sun.

    [​IMG]
     
    #51 Heinz, Aug 20, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 12, 2013
  2. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Finished the day with a couple of runs on something called Shady side (another new one for me). Clearly this name didn't reflect the whole run as certain sections had been in the sun and we saw some wet snow slides from the afternoon warmth. We made sure to stay away from these as much as possible. The large part of the run though was indeed in the shade and was good quality shin deep powder - the best of the day. Finished with a long section along the bottom of the valley in the sun - not deep but very cruisy.

    Had to get past these at the start of the run.
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    The good stuff
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    Another couple of wet snow slides in the lower valley. The heli gives a good idea of the scale.
    We made sure we picked up some distance further down the valley than that, which was worthwhile.
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    #52 Heinz, Aug 20, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 12, 2013
  3. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Friday August 17 - Ben Ohaus

    Not long after just getting home in the evening from Mt Cook I got a call from one of the guides to say they were planning another day up there. Was hard to say no to that.

    So early start again for the drive up. We met up with the Marty Myer charter group at Glentanner who had flown up and were going to ski the Gammacks. We were again going into the Ben Ohaus. After the previous warm day the plan was to do a different circuit and look for more shady aspects.

    Started with a run from High drop where we saw another avalanche funnelling through over a rock face from a safe distance. Again ran for a few minutes.

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    #53 Heinz, Aug 22, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 12, 2013
  4. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Then a couple of runs in McNultys named after Dave McNulty - one of the original heli guides at Mt Cook for Alpine Guides. I had my first heli day with him here in 1983. He was also heavily involved in planning the heli operation out of Manali in India. Sadly he was killed in an avalanche years later just before the Himachal operation started.

    The run itself was great, long with an amazing backdrop and snow quality was exellent and consistent.

    view of Lake Pukaki
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    adjacent slopes
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    start of run from above
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    from below
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    backdrop
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    #54 Heinz, Aug 22, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 12, 2013
  5. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    A run off Mt Lloyd / Lloyd Col was just as good. Then after some lunch a couple in Bush stream also great - these had a vert of around 2700 ft and fantastic terrain also.

    But the highlight of the day and the trip was on Darkies. There was a significant frost on top of about 20cm good quality powder over the old crust. Dean spent some time digging a pit to satisfy himself it was ok. Eventually gave it the thumbs up and we dropped in one at a time. It certainly skied as well as it looked - nice pitch as well. Have some good memories of this run from previous trips. Lower down the new snow wasn't as deep but was still good quality and made for very nice cruising. Run dropped fromm 7900 to 4700 ft (so 3200 vert) according to the heli altimeter. All fantastic value. At the bottom the overwhelming concensus was that we had to do it again.

    Darkies pics

    Pukaki view
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    surrounds
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    from above
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    on the run
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    #55 Heinz, Aug 22, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 12, 2013
  6. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Saturday August 18 - Gammacks

    Last ski day of the trip. On the way back home in the van the previous evening we got a radio call from one of the guides planning the next day. Because the recent short spell of fine stable conditions was set to continue another day, they were planning another Mt Cook trip. Was I in? Had to consider briefly. Had done back to back Mt Cook days once before but never 3 straight and was starting to feel it. But hey, it was the last day and the conditions were fantastic (and better than down in Wanaka) so elected to do it again.

    So, same routine the next morning, again with a different crew. Worked out the only ones to be there each of those 3 days were me and the heli pilot. This time joined by a group of Auckland skiers and a Melbourne boarder and Taswegian Roger guiding again. Which was actually a nice change. The previous two days were predominately with boarders who would be ripping past.

    Headed to the other side today into the Gammack range. First couple of runs in First stream where we found pretty much the same quality snow as much of yesterday, though a little shorter. No complaints at all.

    First stream

    looking towards Lake Pukaki
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    #56 Heinz, Aug 23, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 12, 2013
  7. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Then to another drainage in Fraser stream. One of the landings was a bit tight and we had to all get quite well acquainted in the huddle on the ridge top. One reason why the smaller Squirrels work well in NZ.

    Gearing up just after landing.
    [​IMG]

    Looking back at the landing with the next group being dropped off. The cloud is the snow being blown in the rotor wash. Definately powder snow.

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    Later on, another view looking down on that same landing.
    [​IMG]
     
    #57 Heinz, Aug 23, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 12, 2013
  8. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Did 3 variations in Frasers with lunch in between - quality more of the same - 20cm frost dried on the old base up top, a little thinner lower down - all good.

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    View of Lake Tekapo
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    A nice face
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    #58 Heinz, Aug 23, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 12, 2013
  9. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Then a run called Needles (another one I hadn't skied before). Had to work around a couple of small bluffs up the top, then it was all good, nice long powder run and a good pitch. All agreed that it was the run of the day, though I had to throw in that it was almost as good as Darkies yesterday [​IMG]. So despite a few tiring legs we all elected to do it again which was definately worthwhile.

    Finally hit Burn baby burn on the way out which was also very good. We knew the bottom would be somewhat heavier being in the sun but the top was still in excellent shape. There was a bit of debris on teh lower section but it hadn't frozen yet, so was fine. A good finish to the day and the trip.

    Needles
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    #59 Heinz, Aug 23, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 15, 2013
  10. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    At the end of the day had to mention to the pilot that I definately wouldn't be seeing him again the next day as I was leaving. He said he wouldn't be flying anyway as his family were complaining that they hadn't seen him for some time.

    As it turned out the weather dictated things in any case which worked out well for everyone.

    Felt pretty tired on the trip back to Wanaka and crashed early.
     
  11. Ziggy

    Ziggy A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    Fabulous.
     
  12. Red_switch

    Red_switch Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: 30 Day

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    Heinz, who was your pilot up that way?
     
  13. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Name was Grant. He said he was originally from Wanaka. We were flying in a red Glacier helicopters machine.
    He is not the one that is currently based in Wanaka.
     
    #63 Heinz, Aug 24, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 26, 2013
  14. Austin powers

    Austin powers Old n' Crusty

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    Jägermeister NZ Here for a couple more days in Wanaka at the Burton Open, then we'll be rolling on to Christchurch on 25th Aug
     
    #64 Austin powers, Aug 24, 2012
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  15. Footguy

    Footguy Hard Yards

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    Fantastic report(s) Heinz. Heading over on Monday, wasn't going to heliski this time but after reading this, I might change my mind.

    Thanks for sharing.
     
  16. Red_switch

    Red_switch Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: 30 Day

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    Oh, not who I thought it might have been. I don't know Grant, but I think I know who he is, if that makes sense. Fantastic pics by the way!
     
    #66 Red_switch, Aug 24, 2012
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  17. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Glentanner is pretty busy these days. Much busier than I have seen it for the same time in previous years. At times there were 3 different machines operating - mostly for scenic flights for Chinese tourists.
     
  18. Red_switch

    Red_switch Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: 30 Day

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    Glentanner is a bit of a success story alright.
     
  19. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    When talking about past heli pilots, someone mentioned that Ken Tustin had just released a new book. I had read one of his earlier ones about his hunt for the Fiordland Moose. Picked up his new one 'Chopper Chatter' at Queenstown airport on the way home and finished reading it today. Good read - some pretty amazing experiences there. Had flown quite a bit with him on heliski days between 1983 and 1997. Remember the times flying back in the Hughes 500 back to his place on Golf course road before they started using the AS350's. Had heard a bit from him about his work in Antartica and Laos but it was pretty matter of fact. But from the book there were quite a few hairy moments. Didn't realise though that he had to give it away over 10 years ago due to a medical condition.
     
  20. Heliskivirgin

    Heliskivirgin First Runs

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    Hi all,

    I just came back from a Wanaka trip from 20-26 August. The weather was mostly in my favour. The freezing level and snow favoured heli-skiing so I did heli-skiing with HMH and did not get to the commercial resorts.
    Day 1 = Skied The North Harris Ranges, from memory we did Fog peak, Black peak and one other. Some great views and great runs. Overall a silver metal.
    Day2 = The weather improved and we were off to the MT Cook area. This day started cloudy with a late fly-fly from Wanaka to the staging area near Lake Pukaki. The cloud stayed low and above it the weather was amazing. Lots of sun and no wind on the peaks, it was absolutely silent up top. The snow (I'm told) was 2 days old. This day was an absolute fantastic day. The snow was powdery and a good depth of about 10cm on the upper slopes and 20 cm in the middle slopes. No quiet the Champagne powder like you find in Japan, but very dry and good for the terrain and slope. We worked two separate bowls and moved around with the sun. The powder made the steep terrain easy and maximum fun. The cloud burnt off over the course of the day and the scenic flight home was amazing with views of Mt. Aspiring and flying via Ohau ski field. Gold metal day.
    Day 3 = Back in Wanaka this was my last opportunity to heliski before the weather moved in. The weather on the day was low light, cloudy and windy. We ended up doing all of out 7 runs in one go and had a late lunch down low before returning to the staging area. The snow was about 5 days or more old. This time we stayed safe and away from the bad'ish weather. We skied the Buchanan ranges on the Lake side of a valley known as the "dragons tail." Overall about 4/5 place getter.

    Checkout a short MT Cook video.
    HMH blog
     
    #70 Heliskivirgin, Aug 27, 2012
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  21. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Good to see someone else having a couple of good days out with HMH. Assume you skied with Roger then at Mt Cook?
     
  22. TropicalPow

    TropicalPow One of Us

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    I will have to try and get a copy of that book by Ken. As we have chatted about previosly, what a great guy Ken is. Had landed at his golf corse road property to cdge fuel many , many years ago.

    Heinz, you also earlier mentioned Dave Mcnaulty . Even more years ago , I did an avalanche blasting course that he ran at Porters hieghts, where he ws the resedent avalanche control man. Very ironic that an avalanche killed him, being that he was wdely regarding as one of NZs leading avanche experts. A real mountain man who's been greatly missed.
     
    #72 TropicalPow, Aug 31, 2012
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  23. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    #73 Heinz, Aug 31, 2012
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  24. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    and repeating those pics from 1983 of the H500 at Ken's place on Golf course road.

    [​IMG]

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    #74 Heinz, Aug 31, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 12, 2013
  25. TropicalPow

    TropicalPow One of Us

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    Can always count on you Heinz, I did my 500 rating with Dave Saxton over at Haast when he had Heli Ventures. He was so casual, after the rating was complete, my now ex wife and I took the the C model for an hour or so fly up the Landsborough river. Bloody awesome fun.
    Love 500s