Heli Skiing New Zealand

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Heli Skiing New Zealand
Harris Mountains Heliski New Zealand
NZ Heli Skiing
Magnificent vistas out heli skiing in New Zealand
Enroute to New Zealand heli skiing terrain
Southern Lakes Heliski New Zealand
New Zealand heli skiing is all alpine terrain
Some nice expert heli skiing terrain in NZ
Harris Mountains Heliski NZ
Mt Cook Heliski New Zealand
Queenstown Heli Skiing New Zealand
Methven Heli Skiing New Zealand
Heli Boarding New Zealand
New Zealand Heli Skiing
Southern Lakes Heliski NZ
Methven Heliski New Zealand
Heli Boarding NZ
Powder Lines NZ Heli Ski
Gorgeous scenery out heli skiing in New Zealand
Helicopter Skiing New Zealand

Heli Skiing New Zealand

Heli Skiing New Zealand

New Zealand heli skiing and heli boarding is an essential experience for any powder hound on a NZ ski trip. If you are at least a strong intermediate skier or snowboarder, you must add heli skiing in New Zealand to your itinerary. Sure it will cost a lot more than a lift ticket at one of the New Zealand ski resorts but how can you compare skiing groomers, slush, ice or bumps with heli ski joy!? NZ heli skiing is a wise investment. The helicopter rides up in the spectacular Southern Alps alone are worth the money, and then you also get to ski or board down the virgin snow. Heli skiing New Zealand is sweet as....!

Considering that NZ has the highest number of helicopters per capita, it seems criminal not to go heli skiing or heli boarding in New Zealand. Don't be sheepish, go for it!

NZ Heli Ski and Heli Boarding Terrain

With heli skiing in New Zealand, getting lifted to the top of a mountain by helicopter in a matter of minutes is the ultimate ski lift. New Zealand has some fantastic snow covered mountains and many of them are only accessible by helicopter. Most New Zealand heliskiing operators have hundreds of thousands of hectares of ski terrain and hundreds of runs. The alpine (treeless) terrain is incredibly diverse from easy rolling terrain for powder first timers to open steep bowls, gnarly chutes, and features to leap off.

One of the benefits of heli boarding and heli skiing in New Zealand is that you don’t have to be a hard-core extreme skier or snowboarder that’s into jumping out of helicopters or leaping off cliffs. Mere mortals (ie strong intermediates) can give it a go as well, and a couple of the NZ heliski operators have specific packages for intermediates versus advanced and expert riders.

Like any heli skiing around the world, experts might not necessarily get to ride super challenging terrain. The terrain skied will depend on the avalanche stability and also your group’s ability. Having your own group guarantees that you know they can rip just like you, or having a private charter means the helicopter can take you further afield to the ripe terrain. Or as a minimum, experts may have a higher chance of being matched with those of similar ability with the larger NZ heli ski operators and with 10 run packages.

See the compare NZ heli skiing page for information on how heli skiing New Zealand terrain differs to other parts of the world.


With so much terrain to choose from, even many days after a snow fall you can get fresh-tracks in pristine snow. The altitude is high and generally above the ‘freezing line’, so the snow generally stays in pretty good shape.

Epic snow is not guaranteed in NZ and you’re highly unlikely to ever need your snorkel like you do sometimes with Canada heli skiing, but you do know that when you heliski you will get the best possible snow conditions for that day and it will be far superior to the ski resorts.

Heli Ski Queenstown

Queenstown is the most popular ski town in New Zealand and it offers a myriad of adventure activities, including heliskiing. One of the advantages of heli skiing in Queenstown is that the weather is a fraction more stable than further north in Mt Cook and Methven, giving you a slightly higher chance of fly days. Or when no-fly days occur, there are plenty of alternate Queenstown activities.

The Queenstown heli skiing operations have many similarities with respect to the experience, but there are some subtle differences.

Harris Mountains Heli-Ski is the largest heli ski Queenstown operator, which enhances your likelihood of being grouped more precisely by ability level (which is particularly important if you’re upper advanced to expert), and lessens any risk of a day being cancelled due to minimum numbers not being met. Harris Mountains Heliski is a very experienced operator, and have a great reputation amongst experienced heli-skiers. You can see our Harris Mountains Heliski review for more information.

Southern Lakes Heliski Queenstown is a reasonably big operation and takes out multiple groups each day in peak season. This also provides Southern Lakes Heliski with some flexibility to cater for different ability levels and match guests with those of a similar ability and fitness level.

Alpine Heliski specialises in Queenstown heli skiing. This is a boutique Queenstown heli outfit and the guides know their terrain intimately.

Wanaka Heli Skiing New Zealand

The town of Wanaka is close to some of the biggest heli skiing tenures. Harris Mountains Heliski and Southern Lakes Heliski both have a base in Wanaka, and it tends to attract the more experienced heli skiers and boarders than Queenstown.

There are times when both companies drive guests from Queenstown to Wanaka staging areas for optimal snow conditions.

Mt Cook Heli Skiing

You won’t get to actually ski on Mt Cook (Aoraki), but rather in the Mt Cook region. Mt Cook heli skiing can be phenomenal and has some major pros but the cons can also be rather weighty. The high elevation Mt Cook areas receive an abundance of snowfall, much more than other NZ heli ski areas, and the extensive glaciations can contribute to a fridge effect that keep the snow cold and fluffy. The heli drop-offs can be somewhat higher than those around Queenstown and Wanaka, which leads to better quality powder and longer runs. Wait, there’s a but! The weather for heli skiing at Mt Cook is somewhat erratic and sometimes there may be a stretch of no-fly days, and non skiing activities at Mt Cook are somewhat limited.

Mt Cook Heliski is the primary operator and the guides also run ski touring in the area and know the terrain intimately.

Harris Mountains Heliski run Mt Cook heli skiing trips, as do Southern Lakes Heliski, and you can either base yourself in Mt Cook or nearby Tekapo and wait for a weather window, or stay in Queenstown or Wanaka with the option to fly to Mt Cook.

Whilst not officially a heliski outfit (although they occasionally use a helicopter), Ski the Tasman operates out of Mt Cook and offers fixed wing plane accessed skiing on the Tasman Glacier. You’ll max out on eye candy with Ski the Tasman.

Methven Heliskiing NZ

There is now only one Methven Heliskiing operation, which is aptly called Methven Heliski. It operates primarily in the Arrowsmiths, which are renowned for plenty of steep terrain and catching plenty of snow. All that snow doesn’t fall from blue skies, and Methven Heliski has a slightly higher ratio of no-fly days compared to operators around Queenstown/Wanaka where the weather is more stable. Unfortunately, Methven activities for down days are somewhat limited.

Heli Skiing New Zealand Season

The NZ heliski season lasts from July to September.

This is the land of the long white cloud so you have to expect that heli skiing in New Zealand can’t operate every day. Flying in helicopters is obviously contingent upon the weather and choppers might be grounded due to low visibility or strong winds, and there is no tree skiing to afford the opportunity to fly in protected areas as with Canada heli skiing. To give yourself the biggest chance for good weather windows, keep your itinerary flexible and don’t just rely on the heli skiing being on a particular day.

Cost of New Zealand Heli Skiing

A big advantage of heli skiing New Zealand is that you don’t have to be super-rich. Relative to heli skiing Canada, Chile heli skiing or heliskiing USA, a NZ heli ski package is relatively inexpensive. The NZ currency exchange rate can be incredibly favourable for many international visitors, making it even more financially attractive. As the Kiwis would say, it is "cheap as chups"!

And Alpine Heliski runs specific freeride days where you can start with one heliski run, and if you become hooked (which is incredibly likely) you can pay for additional runs.

If you can pull together a group of like-minded mates, you can organise a private charter trip which allows the flexibility to push further into the terrain and get lots of variety and vertical. If you have a group of 8, the cost is comparable to a 10 run day for individuals and the experience far superior.

What to Take on a Heli-ski Day

There are weight restrictions and minimal space inside the chopper so you can’t pack a suitcase for the day. Multiple groups will use the one chopper so it’s also difficult to store anything in there whilst you’re out skiing or riding. You’ll need to have a jacket with big pockets or a small backpack. Avalanche beacons are provided along with one guest pack per group, so if you have a shovel and probe you might like to take it.

Skiers will need powder skis (at least 100mm in the waist) which will make life easier in the powder or wind crust.

Definitely take sunscreen (heavy duty) as there’s a high probably of plenty of rays reflecting off the snow. You may wish to take some water. The guides provide some juice and hot water at lunch time, but you’ll need to take responsibility for any other hydration requirements throughout the rest of the day.

It’s recommended that you leave any shyness behind. Once you’re up in the mountains there are obviously no toilets and you’ll find it hard to have a moment to yourself. Girls, you may wish to take a little toilet paper.
NZ Heli Skiing & Heli Boarding Tours
High Peak Heliski & Clubbie Combo
5 Nights Lodging | 3 Days Heli | 2 Days Club Fields
Ability: Strong Intermediate to Expert
This deluxe package includes 3 epic days heliskiing in the Arrowsmiths + 2 days guided off-piste at the Canterbury club fields + 5 nights deluxe lodging, all ground transport, all gourmet meals, open bar...and more....
Price p/p From price based on 5-nights twin/double-share during peak season inc. 3-days heli + 2-days guided off-piste.
Base/invoice currency is in NZD.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
AUD 5,561
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Harris Mountains Heliski Queenstown Wanaka
Packages from 4 to 10 runs
Ability: Intermediate to Expert
Don't miss the opportunity to experience New Zealand's best heli skiing with Harris Mountains Heliski. Heli ski Queenstown and Wanaka heli ski packages are either 3, 4, 7 or 10 runs with the option to purchase additional runs on the day. Includes Queenstown or Wanaka accommodation pick-up/drop-off.
Price p/p From price based on Intro 4-run package (per person).
Base/invoice currency is in NZD inclusive of tax.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
AUD 1,016
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Mt Cook Heli Ski Day
5 Epic Runs among New Zealand's highest peaks
Ability: Strong Intermediate to Expert
Explore the natural wonders of the Mt Cook region whilst carving some turns in pristine powder. This package includes 5 runs (option to purchase more on the day) plus lunch, avalanche safety gear & guiding.
Price p/p From price based on 5-run day (per person).
Base/invoice currency is in NZD.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
AUD 1,104
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Methven Heliski Day Heli Skiing
Standard 5 Run "Perfect" Package
Ability: Intermediate to Expert
Methven Heliski is one of New Zealand's premier heli ski companies offering what many would agree is NZ's best heli skiing terrain. Don't just take it from us, book a day or more and experience it for yourself!
Price p/p From price based on PERFECT 5-run day in 2020.
Base/invoice currency is in NZD inc taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
AUD 1,067
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Ski The Tasman - Classic 2 Run Day
2 massive runs of 8 - 10 km each!
Ability: Intermediate to Expert
A Ski the Tasman odyssey should definitely be on your bucket list! The inimitable opportunity to go plane skiing on a glacier with two million years of history is an activity not to be missed. This is without doubt one of the most incredible experiences you will ever have!!!
Price p/p Base/invoice currency is inc NZD.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
AUD 1,104
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See all New Zealand Heli Skiing Tours Here