Anyone who frequently visits ski resorts these days is acutely aware of just how crowded they are. It feels like the frantically busy high season has been getting longer (just like the lift lines) which leaves us all asking two questions;
How do we get back on the mountain post-COVID-19?
And, where on earth can we truly get away from it all?
A destination that ticks all these boxes is New Zealand – one of the most sparsely populated places on the planet with plenty of mountains to explore. Vast empty landscapes where you can truly disconnect from your own personal brand of everyday chaos and tap into some authentic adventure among the stillness of nature. And although the borders may not be open this season, this is a trip worth planning 12 months in advance.
Of course New Zealand’s ski resorts still have their fair share of lift lines and crowded slopes, so let’s head a little further afield on a helicopter-accessed adventure in the heart of the wilderness.
If you immediately assumed we’re talking heli-skiing, then think again. Traditional heli-sports are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what is on offer these days. While we are the first to admit that heli-skiing is one of the most exhilarating experiences in the mountains, the concept of heli-accessed skiing has been broadened. Now, we’d like to introduce you to alpine heli-camping coupled with guided backcountry skiing just outside of Wanaka.
This time, your heli won’t drop you at the top of the mountain so you can ski down, it will drop you at a base camp set up in the alpine huts, tents and geo domes where you will be living during your stay. These camps are positioned strategically at an elevation where you can easily access an unlimited amount of quality terrain and powder snow.
And if you’re worried about your level of fitness, don’t be, because these experiences have been designed to suit all levels of backcountry touring experience. The amount of skinning required to access the terrain varies from short up-tracks to longer missions more suitable for the experienced among us. There’s even options to those who are new to ski touring.
You’ll be feeling on top of the world as you wake to the smell of coffee brewing to watch a spectacular sunrise over the high alpine views that keep you company each day. Your meals are prepared by the team so after a nutritious breakfast, all that’s left to do is pack your snacks and get ready for a full day of fresh tracks and ski touring.
Your days will be spent at a pace that suits you and your group, never rushed and always with enough time and assistance to transition from downhill to uphill mode. Breaking for lunch is an experience in itself, offering endless views of snowcapped mountains that no restaurant will be able to beat. It’s time to just sit back and soak up the silence, after all, that’s what you’re here to do.
Later when the alpenglow begins to appear on the mountain tops, you will head back to your warm and cosy cabin to rest your legs, stretch, read and reflect on a truly magical day of skiing powder. Re-live the thrills of the day over a hearty dinner, before heading outside to take in the wide open sky. Wanaka enjoys some of the darkest and clearest skies in the world with very little light pollution, making it the perfect location for star spotting. All that’s left ahead is a well deserved night of sleep in the remoteness of the Southern Alps of New Zealand.
Mabey Ski’s adventure designers have travelled and skied all over the world to find the most unique and wonderful ski experiences on the planet. If you are interested in heading to New Zealand or anywhere else in the world for your next adventure, then we are here to show you how.