The Southern Alps, New Zealand

The Southern Alps, New Zealand

If you’re thinking about heading south this summer with the goal to experience a taste of winter in New Zealand, one of the best ways to ensure maximum pow-time is to spend a day (or more) flying with Southern Lakes Heli Ski. Based out of the Kiwi ski centers of Queenstown and Wanaka, Southern Lakes has dibs on some of the widest variety of terrain on the South Island.

There are quite a few heli-ski operations in New Zealand. In fact, New Zealand is kind of the heli capital of the world. You can go almost anywhere and do almost anything you want in the country via heli. Mountain Biking, hot-springing, hunting, canyoneering, sight-seeing, bungee-jumping and the list goes on. In this part of the world the adventure activities accessible via helicopter is unmatched.

The author sampling the goods. Photo Credit: Jillian Raymond

The author sampling the goods. Photo Credit: Jillian Raymond

New Zealand boasts quite a few options for ski travelers and is easily one of the most user friendly, mind-blowingly beautiful destinations in the world. Here’s The Deal’s 5 “Must Do” activities on the South Island for more ideas.

If you’re looking for that extra special something while you’re there, throwing down for a little flight time with Southern Lakes Heli will undoubtedly be the cherry on top of your trip. Check out their website linked here for current rates.  One of the cool things about Southern Lakes Heli is they allow you to go for the day. You can go for a whole day, of course, but you can also go for as little as two runs. Those are not options most heli-ski operators offer.

A portion of the Southern Lakes Heliski zone accessible from Queenstown.

A portion of the Southern Lakes Heliski zone accessible from Queenstown.

Just like at most major heli-skiing operations, Southern Lakes will provide you with everything you need if you book a trip with them. Quality powder slaying equipment, lunch in the middle of the ski zone, GoPro’s, beacons- you name it, and they’ll have it for you.  Advanced reservations are recommended, but you can easily stop into either one of their shops in Queenstown or Wanaka. If there’s availability, you might be sitting in the bird, scoping lines the next morning.

The Remarkables as seen from downtown Queenstown.

The Remarkables as seen from downtown Queenstown.

With Southern Lakes the goal is simple- to ski long, consistent pitches of dry New Zealand powder. As is the case with most people who haven’t popped their heli-skiing cherry, many people think heli-skiing is far too intense for them to consider, especially when taking into account the ski films they’ve watched over the past decade. The truth is if you can ski a blue square at a ski resort, you can go heli-skiing. Chances are after a few runs you might even want to get on steeper, more difficult terrain. That said, there’s something for everyone.

The author enjoys another perfect lap of New Zealand's best. Photo Credit: Jillian Raymond

The author enjoys another perfect lap of New Zealand’s best. Photo Credit: Jillian Raymond

Southern Lakes will take you to everything from mellow rolling terrain, moderately pitched ramps, or offer you an opportunity to hire a private charter.  If you show up with a solid group of rippers, a film crew, and some extra dough, you can basically go ski/ride whatever you want depending on conditions. Not too many operations offer that diverse of an experience. It’s just one of the many reasons why if you’re planning to travel to ski in New Zealand this summer Southern Lakes Heli should be on your hit list.