" August 2015 "


Heli-boarding New Zealand and Mt. Cook National Park

I’ve been down here in New Zealand for what seems like three weeks, but has actually been two months. Time has been moving at warp speed and before I know it I’ll be returning home. I took the first few weeks easy really getting to learn the city I am living in and the varying bars and restaurants as well as what makes the city tick and move, but the last few weeks have been full on.

As I was working down on the South Island for a few weeks I took full advantage of the Southern Alps. We’ve all dreamt of heli-boarding but few of us pockets deep enough to afford it. New Zealand is one of the cheapest place in the world to go. I’d heard mixed reviews about the quality of snow, but I knew not to compare it to the champagne powder of the Rockies. With the dollar being as strong as it is I signed up and flew down to Queenstown for the weekend. I was beyond stoked.

In the days leading up I feverishly checked the snow forecast converting centimeters to inches in my head. I must have called the heli-operator three times leading up to the day. After a bumpy and mountain skimming landing I arrived in town by sunset racing over to the board shop before checking in to the heli shop to fill out the usual liability waiver. I was lucky to score a Jones powder board, which rode amazingly well, despite the massive core shot I put in it.

The wind was increasing, which was evident by our bumpy landing and it had started to snow. It was to be a game time decision in the morning. I was told to expect a phone call around 7:45am if launch was a go. Being me I was up by 6am tossing and turning waiting. The phone rang, I powered through some stretches and breakfast before heading to the docks where we boarded a boat for Mt. Nicholas. It was a beautiful 30 minute sunrise cruise taking in the scenery of Lake Wakatipu with the coastline covered in morning clouds and dew. Mt. Nicholas is a 100,000 acre farm home to 30,000 Merino sheep and over 2,000 cattle. It was also to be our launch pad into the Backranges.