New Zealand This Summer

Resort and backcountry skiing and snowboarding anywhere in the southern hemisphere: New Zealand, Australia, South America, etc., including our famous reader-submitted No-Bull Snow Reports.

New Zealand This Summer

Postby Judz » Sun May 21, 2006 3:59 pm

Hey guys, Im going on about a 2 week trip to the Wanaka area of NZ from the mid to the end of July. I was just wondering what to expect in terms of snow conditions, terrain, and so forth. Its my first trip out there, so any information would be much appreciated.

Thanks in Advance
User avatar
Judz
 
Posts: 95
Joined: Thu Mar 16, 2006 2:08 pm
Location: Los Angeles

re: New Zealand This Summer

Postby Tony Crocker » Sun May 21, 2006 11:35 pm

http://webpages.charter.net/tcrocker818/anzguide.htm .

I wrote this after my end of July trip in 1997. Snowfall is not abundant, thus August and early September are generally best to maximize coverage.
Last edited by Tony Crocker on Tue May 23, 2006 2:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.
http://bestsnow.net
Ski Records
Season length: 21 months, Nov. 29, 2010 - July 2, 2012
Days in one year: 80 from Nov. 29, 2010 - Nov. 17, 2011
Season vertical: 1,610K in 2016-17
Season powder: 291K in 2011-12
User avatar
Tony Crocker
 
Posts: 9773
Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2004 10:37 am
Location: Avatar: Charlotte Bay, Antarctica 2011
Location: Glendale, California

re: New Zealand This Summer

Postby Killclimbz » Tue May 23, 2006 1:48 pm

Interesting write up. I would have thought that the New Zealand ski areas would receive a lot more snow than listed.
User avatar
Killclimbz
 
Posts: 162
Joined: Mon Dec 06, 2004 7:35 pm
Location: Denver

re: New Zealand This Summer

Postby Tony Crocker » Tue May 23, 2006 2:21 pm

Weather is a close analogy to our Pacific Northwest. Fiordland National Park in the SW corner of New Zealand is a rainforest capped with glaciers like Olympic National Park here. The flat areas just east of the Southern Alps are quite dry, just like Washington and Oregon east of the Cascades.

The South Island lift service ski areas are all leeward and lower than the crest of the Southern Alps. The snowiest parts of the Southern Alps are not road accessible. You can get at some of these areas via heliskiing, but weather/no-fly risk is more like Alaska than interior Canada due to coastal weather and wind and no trees.

For ift service Mt. Ruepehu on the North Island probably gets the most snow. Reported base depths are usually higher, as they were when I skied there in 1982. The Whakapapa ski area that has the most interesting terrain faces north (into the sun) so surface conditions are variable.

I'm probably emphasizing the negative here. I obviously enjoy New Zealand as I will have my 3rd trip there in August. The Inside Tracks article would still reflect my overall advice.
http://bestsnow.net
Ski Records
Season length: 21 months, Nov. 29, 2010 - July 2, 2012
Days in one year: 80 from Nov. 29, 2010 - Nov. 17, 2011
Season vertical: 1,610K in 2016-17
Season powder: 291K in 2011-12
User avatar
Tony Crocker
 
Posts: 9773
Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2004 10:37 am
Location: Avatar: Charlotte Bay, Antarctica 2011
Location: Glendale, California

Re: New Zealand This Summer

Postby Geoff » Thu May 25, 2006 5:47 am

Judz wrote:Hey guys, Im going on about a 2 week trip to the Wanaka area of NZ from the mid to the end of July. I was just wondering what to expect in terms of snow conditions, terrain, and so forth. Its my first trip out there, so any information would be much appreciated.


I haven't been to Treble Cone since they upgraded the saddle area from a double chair-to-t-bar-to-snowcat to a quad chair. The terrain on that part of the mountain is as challenging as you'll find in New Zealand with chutes and natural half pipes. The front face of the mountain is served by a high speed 6-pack and is intermediate to low-expert. Expect some wind hold days. My only New Zealand trip was in September and I mostly had spring conditions. Most NZ ski fields have interesting terrrain below the base area where you ski out to their access road. None of that was available when I was there.

Wanaka to Treble Cone is a 25 minute drive. That's typical of New Zealand skiing where there's no lodging at the mountain and you drive 2000-3000 vertical feet up a dirt switchback road to reach the snow. All the ski fields have some kind of transportation from town to the ski field. In a rental car, you'll need chains or 4wd.

There's a heli-ski operation called Harris Mountain Heli-Ski that has their fueling depot and does avalanche training at the chain-up area at the bottom of Treble Cone. I got a steeply discounted deal to fill out a group at the last minute.

Wanaka is a pretty sleepy little town. 2 weeks is a pretty long time to stay there. On my trip, I split my time between Methven/Mt Hutt, Wanaka/Treble Cone, and Queenstown/Coronet Peak/The Remarkables with one overnight at Ohau Ski Field.

Queenstown is the only real resort town on the south island. I didn't find Coronet Peak or The Remarkables as interesting as Treble Cone but I think they're both worth a day. Methven is even sleepier than Wanaka but Mt Hutt has some decent skiing and gets more snow than the other places farther south. It's close to Christchurch so it's busy on weekends. I thought Ohau was a real gem for a 1 day detour. 1000 foot diesel powered T-bar and a nice lodge on the lake with a new modern wing and a good restaurant. I caught the place on a powder day and there were only a few dozen people skiing.
User avatar
Geoff
 
Posts: 764
Joined: Thu Sep 30, 2004 1:38 pm
Location: Killington, VT

Re: New Zealand This Summer

Postby Judz » Thu May 25, 2006 7:05 am

Thanks a lot for the information guys,

Geoff wrote:Wanaka is a pretty sleepy little town. 2 weeks is a pretty long time to stay there. On my trip, I split my time between Methven/Mt Hutt, Wanaka/Treble Cone, and Queenstown/Coronet Peak/The Remarkables with one overnight at Ohau Ski Field.


Sorry i wasnt cleaer earlier, I actually am goin to the Queenstown area as well, so thanks a lot for the post.
User avatar
Judz
 
Posts: 95
Joined: Thu Mar 16, 2006 2:08 pm
Location: Los Angeles

re: New Zealand This Summer

Postby Tony Crocker » Thu May 25, 2006 2:18 pm

I can corroborate Geoff's excellent advice. I have passed through all 3 South Island base areas, and with 2 weeks you might consider a few days on North island also, as I did in 1982. I believe the more direct road between Wanaka and Queenstown has been paved since 1997, so it is now a more viable option to ski the 4 lift-served areas from one base, which is what the NASJA trip this August will do. I fully agree that Treble Cone has by far the best terrain and hope to ski it this time with more snow than was there in 1997.

I did ski a day with Harris in 1997 (with Adam who was then 12 years old). They have several staging points which makes them the most flexible heli operator in NZ for dodging weather. Mt. Cook, which has ski planes on the Tasman Glacier plus heliskiing, is between Methven and Wanaka. Methven is also the base for most of the NZ club areas and the new Mt. Potts snowcat operation.
http://bestsnow.net
Ski Records
Season length: 21 months, Nov. 29, 2010 - July 2, 2012
Days in one year: 80 from Nov. 29, 2010 - Nov. 17, 2011
Season vertical: 1,610K in 2016-17
Season powder: 291K in 2011-12
User avatar
Tony Crocker
 
Posts: 9773
Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2004 10:37 am
Location: Avatar: Charlotte Bay, Antarctica 2011
Location: Glendale, California

Re: re: New Zealand This Summer

Postby Geoff » Sat May 27, 2006 8:03 am

Tony Crocker wrote:I believe the more direct road between Wanaka and Queenstown has been paved since 1997, so it is now a more viable option to ski the 4 lift-served areas from one base, which is what the NASJA trip this August will do.


Yep. Paved. It's at least an hour from Queenstown to Wanaka and there is transportation from Queenstown to Treble Cone. You also pass by Cardrona. I poked my nose in there one day when Treble Cone was on wind hold and it looked very novice/low-intermediate.

The club fields around Christchurch were already closed for the year when I got there in September. Mt Hutt still had a lot of snow on my last couple of days in early October though the wiry grass tufts they call tussock were poking through at the lowest elevations.

The coolest thing about NZ skiing is the alpine parrots (Kea). They're fearless. If you're eating at a picnic table, they'll pretty much shove you out of the way and eat your food if you let them. I watched one shred a day pack somebody had left hanging on a ski rack.

The national fast food is the meat pie. Every ski lodge cafeteria line, corner store, and gas station sells them from heated glass-door cases.
User avatar
Geoff
 
Posts: 764
Joined: Thu Sep 30, 2004 1:38 pm
Location: Killington, VT

re: New Zealand This Summer

Postby Judz » Wed Jun 07, 2006 2:37 pm

thanx for all the info guys,

Based on all of your information, ive decided to re schedule the trip for august. I was just wondering which half of the month would be better? Id prefer more wintery condtions to springlike, but id also like the resorts to have good bases too.

Thanx for your help
User avatar
Judz
 
Posts: 95
Joined: Thu Mar 16, 2006 2:08 pm
Location: Los Angeles

re: New Zealand This Summer

Postby Tony Crocker » Wed Jun 07, 2006 3:16 pm

Late August has higher odds of cover, early August higher odds of winter surface. I personally place highest priority on cover and thus vote for late. It might be worth checking on when the school holidays are (in 1982 2 weeks late August / early September) and going just before that.

I will be skiing 4 days between August 24 and 29.
http://bestsnow.net
Ski Records
Season length: 21 months, Nov. 29, 2010 - July 2, 2012
Days in one year: 80 from Nov. 29, 2010 - Nov. 17, 2011
Season vertical: 1,610K in 2016-17
Season powder: 291K in 2011-12
User avatar
Tony Crocker
 
Posts: 9773
Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2004 10:37 am
Location: Avatar: Charlotte Bay, Antarctica 2011
Location: Glendale, California


Return to Down Under

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests


All content herein copyright © 1999-2017 First Tracks!! Online Media

Forums Terms & Conditions of Use