Methven Heliski

Overall Rating

Methven Heliski

Methven Heliski4.4/56
Methven Heliski4.4 out of 5 based on 6 reviews
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Methven Heliski....ready for take-off
Methven Heliski has some of the steepest heliski terrain in NZ
With over 1,000 square kilometers of terrain and 200 marked runs there is plenty of variety
The depth of powder at Methven Heliski tends to be deeper than the southern operators
Many of the runs are mind blowing and up to 1,200 meters of vertical
Heli boarding is very popular at Methven Heliski
There are lots of spectacular seracs formed by intersecting crevasses on glaciers
The heli fly-away is an exhilarating part of heli skiing
The picture says it all...
More seracs to explore and navigate around
Part of the excitement of heli skiing is working closely around the helicopter
Methven Heliski territory, the “Arrowsmiths”
More seracs and more deep powder
Powder trenches at Methven Heliski
The Arrowsmith, Ragged, and Palmer Ranges are at the headwaters of the Rakaia and Rangitata Rivers.
These mountains catch snow from every winter storm to deliver NZ heliskiing's most consistent snow conditions and quality
Runs for all standards of heli-boarder and heliskier, beginner to expert
Average vertical drop approx. 850 vertical metres
Guides are trained and certified to international standards
If you are coming to Methven / Mt Hutt sign-up for the best day of your life with Methven Heliski!

Methven Heliski

Overall Rating

Methven Heliski4.4/56
Methven Heliski4.4 out of 5 based on 6 reviews

Methven Heliski

A powder hound definitely wouldn’t be barking up the wrong tree if they went heli skiing with Methven Heliski!

Powder junkies can understandably be a bit snow-vanistic when it comes to skiing in New Zealand. The snow conditions at the NZ ski resorts can be dubious and fresh tracks disappear quickly. Freshies are easier to come by at the club fields, but you have to use up lots of energy riding the nut-cracker ropetows and hiking up big slopes just to get a few virgin turns. A significantly better option is to go heli skiing in the Arrowsmith Mountain Ranges with Methven Heliski!

Heli skiing or heli boarding is the most phenomenal experience for those who love fresh tracks, spectacular scenery, and an amazing adventure.

When Does Methven Heliski Operate?

The Methven Heliski season is from the start of July to the end of September.

The heli skiing occurs above the treeline so it’s weather dependent. Inclement weather conditions normally result in no fly days about three days a week. Obviously you’ll need to be flexible with your itinerary so that if weather conditions preclude flying you can reschedule for a subsequent day. The decision to fly is usually made at 7am on the day of operation. If the heli skiing has been prepaid and clients are unable to rebook for a later date, a 100% refund is paid.

More Reasons to Go Heli Skiing with Methven Heliski NZ

Kevin Boekholt has been the director and lead guide of Methven Heliski since the 80s. Considering he’s such an old hand you know you’re in good hands. Kevin is renowned in international heli ski circles, and some guests follow him around the world to go heli skiing in Canada and Greenland.

A day out with Methven Heliski will absolutely rock. After you come down from the mountain, it will take some time to come down from your high! Spectacular views, riding with other powder hounds, the rush of the helicopter drop off, and an abundance of fresh powder turns will be hard to beat! See our review of Methven Heliski here.

Where is Methven Heli Ski Located?

As the name suggests, Methven Heliski is based in the town of Methven, which is located just over an hour west of the Christchurch International Airport on the South Island of New Zealand. Methven is close to the Mt Hutt ski field and a variety of club fields, so your holiday can combine some heli skiing with resort skiing. Or perhaps after you go heli skiing, you’ll be so spoilt that you’ll just want to do more heli skiing!

The helicopter staging area (ie heli pad) is situated at Glenfalloch Station, 60km northwest of Methven, a drive that takes an hour plus. Methven Heliski can provide van transport to the staging area if required. Glenfalloch is a gorgeous high country farm where you’ll see plenty of future Icebreakers.

It’s just a short helicopter ride from Glenfalloch Station across to the heli skiing runs on the Arrowsmith, Ragged, and Palmer Ranges.


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Methven Heli Skiing Terrain

Methven Heliski has exclusive access to over 200 named runs across 1,000 square kilometres of terrain (100,000 hectares or 247,105 acres). To give you an idea of the magnitude of the terrain, this is 274 times the size of Mt Hutt, and you only have to share all that fresh powder with a small group of like-minded folks.

Like all heli skiing New Zealand the terrain is up in the alpine, so there are no trees to prevent you from being a speed demon. The mountain ranges are glaciated and the heli skiing landing points are up to 2,500 metres (8,200 feet) of elevation. Run lengths are 850 metres (2,790 feet) of vertical drop on average, with a maximum of 1,200 vertical metres of ecstasy.

Despite the myths associated with heli skiing that it’s only for super extreme riders, the heli skiing with Methven Heliski is suitable for a range of ability levels. Fit and confident intermediate skiers and snowboarders with some off-piste experience can go heli skiing, and the terrain is particularly well suited to advanced and expert riders.

Methven Heli Ski Review

The Powderhounds’ “Leader of the Pack” was delighted to review Methven Heliski. It’s a dog’s life when a powderhound has to revel amongst untracked snow and enjoy the thrill of heli skiing and the amazing views in the backcountry!

Methven Heliski is a very highly regarded operation, but no heli skiing company is absolutely ideal for everyone. Our review covers different aspects of their outfit so you can determine if Methven Heliski is likely to align with your priorities. Our review also aims to outline the differences between the heli skiing New Zealand companies, although many of the NZ heli skiing operations are very similar so the distinctions are very subtle. As a guide to the ratings below, a 5/5 equates to absolutely phenomenal, 4/5 is excellent, whilst 3/5 is still a very good score. You can check out our heli ski ratings to see how Methven Heliski fares against other backcountry operations.

Pros
  • The Methven Heliski terrain is pretty steep so the heli skiing is incredibly well suited to advanced and expert riders. Methven Heliski would be a fantastic choice for any seasoned powder hound. 
  • The terrain elevation is higher than that of the Queenstown and Wanaka heli ski operations, which generally results in longer runs and better snow quality. The Arrowsmiths are also renowned for catching plenty of snow.
  • As with all NZ heli skiing, there is a small guest to guide ratio, which improves safety considerations and the ability to match groups according to ability.
  • If you want the ultimate in heli skiing heaven, private charters are Methven Heliski’s speciality. 
  • Common to all NZ heli skiing, the rates are a fraction of what you’d pay for heliskiing in other parts of the world. For all that bliss, it seems criminal not to save up your pennies to go heli skiing with Methven Heliski!
Cons
  • This is New Zealand, and whilst the snow conditions may be more consistent than down south, the snow quality can vary from phenomenal to shabby, and may include fluffy or silky powder, dust on crust, thrust on crust, corn, spring ice-cream or slushies. This is all part of the unpredictability of heli skiing in New Zealand! 
  • This is the land of the long white cloud so you have to expect that Methven Heliski can’t operate every day. Whilst they can fly more than their counterparts at Mt Cook Heliski, Methven Heliski has a slightly higher ratio of no-fly days compared to operators around Queenstown/Wanaka where the weather is more stable. Of course snow doesn’t fall from blue skies, so there’s an upside to this! 
  • The standard 5 run package can be a bit restrictive for some guests. Five may be too many runs for an intermediate who just wants a taste of heli skiing, and not enough for riders who want to burn lots of turns. There’s no guarantee you’ll be able to do extra runs as it requires group consensus, although the guides push pretty hard to get agreement and some guests may be pressured into doing extra runs. 
  • It’s a very long drive out to the staging area at Glenfalloch Station but at least it’s incredibly picturesque.

Powder Snow
As with all New Zealand heli skiing, you’re unlikely to get mega face shots and chest deep powder, so you can generally leave your snorkel at home. Nevertheless when it comes to snow quantity, Methven Heliski does pretty well because the mountains catch snow from storms that come from either direction. The statistic of annual snowfall is not cited, but it’s thought to be higher than the heliski areas around Wanaka and Queenstown and lower than that at Mt Cook.

When it comes to snow quality, Methven Heliski is similar to other NZ heli ski operations. The snow generally has high moisture content and the alpine snow can be subjected to wind, sun and high temps. Methven Heliski is the most northerly of the NZ heli skiing outfits, yet the snow quality can fare a little better than their counterparts around Wanaka and Queenstown because the elevations in the Arrowsmiths are higher with heli landings up to 2,500 metres. The glaciated terrain also acts like a fridge to keep the snow cool.

I was impressed with the snow that the guides sniffed out. It had been raining at the ski fields, so I didn’t hold high hopes for the snow quality. After a smidgeon of fossicking the guide managed to find some silky mid-boot deep powder in the shady spots. There were a few “chicken heads” (aka big death cookies) to avoid, but this didn’t put a major dampener on things. The guide also hunted down some amazingly superb corn in the middle of the day. With its maritime snowpack, NZ is renowned for its corn snow and this was possibly the best ego corn I’ve ever ridden.
Overall Terrain
Generally the terrain was pretty fabulous. Sure there are no trees, but otherwise Methven Heliski has very good variety.

Due to higher elevations than down south (Mt Cook an exception), the run lengths with Methven Heliski (at least in the Arrowsmiths) tend to be a little longer so you can get more blissful turns in (850m versus 600-760m). Their terrain size is somewhat smaller than some of the southern heli operators but they’ve probably got more quality terrain to choose from.

They have a heli ability scoring system (as do the other NZ operators), but there’s not enough differentiation between a strong intermediate and advanced rider, and possibly not adequate screening of clients according to skill. Whilst my group was well selected, a couple of the other groups had some mismatched ability levels. This may be in part due to the smallish size of the company (although Methven Heliski isn’t as small as Mt Cook Heliski or Alpine Heliski). Of course a boutique sized heliski company also has its advantages!
Alpine Terrain
Much of the tenure has steep to very steep terrain at the top that tapers out in mellow slopes with lots of interesting features such as ridges, natural half-pipes and rocks to leap off. Rock features also provide chutes and other additional challenges.

Tree Skiing

This is New Zealand so there are no trees to get in your way. You can go heli for leather!
Strong Intermediate Terrain

Whilst Methven Heliski cites that they can cater for intermediates, there are much better heliski operators in NZ for those on the “P plates”. Some of the terrain is fine for intermediates, but often the entries are pretty steep so you’d probably want to be a strong black run skier or someone with an adventurous skiwi spirit! I spoke to a couple of intermediate guests who found the runs too much of an adventure.

The commitment to 5 runs may also be too much for unfit guests or those not accustomed to powder (or crust or spring slurpies!). Intermediate skiers should definitely have fat powder skis.
Advanced Terrain
The terrain is an absolute bloody ripper for advanced riders. Nice steeps and an abundance of variety provide a fantastic playground. If there were trees as well as alpine slopes, the terrain would be perfect!
Expert Terrain
One of the great advantages of New Zealand heli skiing is that the maritime snowpack can provide more stable conditions than say Utah, Colorado or the BC Interior, increasing the likelihood of being able to attack the steeps. When the avo risk is low, experts can have a heyday with Methven Heliski. The terrain has some reasonable steeps, plenty of chutes, and if you can get grouped with other experts, the guides will provide plenty of leeway and route flexibility including hucking opportunities.

Private charters are Methven Heliski’s speciality. Naturally, exclusive use of a helicopter and guide will heighten your likelihood of tackling the gnarly slopes.
Guiding
As with other heli skiing in New Zealand, this is small group heli skiing with only 4 or 5 guests per guide, which improves safety and the likelihood of being grouped with similar ability riders.

A couple of the guides are incredibly well qualified, whilst others are assistant guides that largely have a ski patrol background.

Our guide was really good and I felt incredibly confident in his hands with regards to safety considerations. His guiding was really tight initially and he appropriately loosened this up during the day to align with the group’s experience. In addition to having a great powderhound nose for sniffing out the good snow, he was incredibly amicable. Conversely another of the guides I encountered during the day lacked warmth and didn’t seem to love their job. How is it possible not to love the second best job in the world?
Heli
Methven Heliski uses the same or pretty much the same helicopters as their competitors, which are suitably agile for heli skiing. The helicopter had plenty of room in the back for four of us and wasn’t as squishy as some birds.
Avalanche Mitigation Strategies
One can only assume that as part of Alpine Guides, Kevin and his crew are experts in monitoring and mitigating the avalanche risk. However they don’t boast about their efforts on their website or as part of their safety briefings. This is very typical of New Zealand heli ski operators and rather different to heli skiing and cat skiing operations in Canada for example.

Despite the avalanche risk being low, reassuringly our guide spent a bit of time in the field evaluating the snowpack stability. Another plus is the use of one guest backpack (with shovel and probe) per group.
Safety Briefing
As is very characteristic with New Zealand heli skiing, the safety briefing was very brief. Including something on general mountain safety and what to do if caught in an avalanche could have enhanced the safety talk. What to do in the event of witnessing an avalanche was covered super quickly, as was helicopter safety, an overview of the probing technique, and the use of beacons. Guests didn’t get to practise a beacon search by themselves and a couple of them seemed rather uneasy about how they worked.

The time spent on the long drive out to the staging area could potentially be better utilised by commencing part of the briefing in the vans and providing safety cards to guests to read.
Frills
The trimmings associated with heli skiing are reasonably uniform across New Zealand. A filling yet reasonably basic picnic lunch was provided out in the field. We didn’t have lunch in a particularly scenic spot, but there were so many other visual sensory overloads during the day, this probably wasn’t that important. Water and juice was provided at lunch, and you have to BYO if you’ve got other hydration requirements whilst out heli skiing.

Methven Heliski doesn’t provide powder skis. These can be hired from Big Al’s in Methven or one of the other Methven ski hire shops. Unlike some other operators, Methven Heliski don’t offer a video or photography service per se, so get snap happy on your own camera.

Glenfalloch Station is a really delightful staging area. In addition to being able to admire this beautiful piece of paradise and the many baa baas, they have comfie outdoor couches where you can don your gear, and they have proper bathroom facilities. In the afternoon you can lounge about in the sun and enjoy cake and a civilised cup of tea. Of course a better way to high-five over an awesome day of ripping turns would have been to have a few alcoholic bevvies – the stories are always way better!
Value for Money
Like its sister company Wilderness Heliski, Methven Heliski is a wee bit more expensive than the other NZ heli operators but you generally get longer runs. In reality it’s not worth quibbling over a few NZ pesos and the price difference between the NZ heliski companies. They’re all inexpensive relative to heli skiing elsewhere in the world, and considering the usually favourable exchange rate, NZ heli skiing provides fantastic value for money for international riders.

Notes Regarding Review

The ratings are from our perspective only. The review is largely based on our experience, but also on discussions with staff, other guests, and information available on their website. Our review has some limitations as it’s not possible to ski every run and in all possible snow and weather conditions. Every guide is somewhat different and we acknowledge that everyone’s experience will be slightly different.

Heli Skiing Methven

James17/09/2015
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Skier
  • Rider Level
    Expert
  • Rider Age
    36-50
  • Rider Country
    Australia
  • Admin Rating
    2

Heli Skiing Methven

James17/09/2015
Great day in the mountains. Arrowsmith Range has nice vertical, with a variety of terrain options. Guides are extremly professional & know where to find good snow, very well run operation.

Will be back again! & would refer to others. Thanks Jim.

A Great Place to Heliski

Andrew Henderson27/04/2013
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Skier
  • Rider Level
    N/A
  • Rider Age
    36-50
  • Admin Rating
    4

A Great Place to Heliski

Andrew Henderson27/04/2013
I skied the Arrowsmith range with Methven heliski on a bluebird spring day. The snow conditions were not epic, but it was a magnificent day, skiing some spectacular country. Heliskiing is not cheap, but the prices in NZ stack up well against operations in the Northern hemisphere, especially if you are coming from overseas and getting the benefit of the relatively good exchange rates of the last few years.

I think some of the other heliski operations in Canterbury have struggled in the last few years. There are probably more skiers and boarders booking heliskiing out of Queenstown and Wanaka these days. Canterbury heli is worth making the effort for however. There is so much more to the area than Mt Hutt.

If you are thinking about a day of heli, he best idea is to talk to the company as soon as you arrive in the area, or preferably before the holiday. Set aside a few likely days weather wise and have an alternative if the weather is poor. If you are based in Methven, you can ski Mt Hutt, obviously, but you can also sneak up Lake Coleridge road to ski Porter Heights or one of the club fields if it is a no fly day.

New Zealanders do heliski well. Go anywhere else in the world and it is likely at least one of the guides or pilots will be a Kiwi. This is their home turf and worth experiencing.

Best Heli in NZ

Method12/12/2012
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Snowboarder
  • Rider Level
    Expert
  • Rider Age
    36-50
  • Admin Rating
    4

Best Heli in NZ

Method12/12/2012
Methven Heli are the 4th heli operator I've used in NZ and I've gotta say, hands down - the best.

Forget the queenstown/wanaka heli operators, not that there's anything wrong with them. The vertical and steeps these guys have in the Arrowsmiths is far superior.

Kevin (lead guide) runs a nice operation, the guides are quality - safety concious and able to select the best aspects for powder, safely.

The transit time for the heli from the pickup, Glenfalloch station (about an hours drive from Methven), to the skiing is minimal, which means more bang for your buck.

The only other Heli area in NZ I would check out is Wilderness Heli, which is run by the same people (Alpine Guides) just slightly further south, out of Mt Cook Village. I know the Mt Cook area terrain there a little bit from overnight hut split-board touring trips and it is similar in quality to the Methven Heli terrain in the Arrowsmiths.

Kevin was nice enough to take some high quality action SLR photos and put them on a memory stick for $20.

Not to sound snobby, but I won't really consider heli in many other places in NZ apart from here.

Nice Steep Terrain

POWDERHOUNDS.COM27/09/2012
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Skier
  • Rider Level
    Expert
  • Rider Age
    36-50
  • Month Visited:
    August
  • Admin Rating
    3

Nice Steep Terrain

POWDERHOUNDS.COM27/09/2012
New Zealand heli skiing operations are very similar and are somewhat difficult to differentiate from each other. Factors that are typical to all NZ heli operations include: no tree skiing; high frequency of down days due to inability to ski and fly in protected areas; variable snow quality; small group size; and the rates are a fraction of what you’d pay for heli skiing elsewhere in the world.

One stand-out feature of the Methven Heliski operation is the steep terrain that advanced and expert skiers and snowboarders will adore. The terrain is at good elevation, which results in longer runs and more consistent snow than some of their competitors.

See our Methven Heliski review for more information.

Methven Heliski? Yeah its definitely a must

Matthias20/09/2012
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Skier
  • Rider Level
    Advanced
  • Rider Age
    18-35
  • Admin Rating
    3

Methven Heliski? Yeah its definitely a must

Matthias20/09/2012
Value Value Value at all. The guys picked me up on an awesome Wednesday morning. To bring me to the shop, fill up some documents about, i have no idea what exactly. SO after that we took a ride to the Helly spot which is located some miles out of town. Pretty nice road and landscape so not that bad to drive to the mountains instead of flying. After we reached the spot, we got some safety instructions how to handle the avalanche gear and so on. We were a group of 6 peoples, 2 guides and 4 buddys. The area around is damn beautiful, I really loved it. The peaks full of powder and the runs full of fluffy powder. Nice choice of the guys.

The runs could be a bit more steep but on these days the avalanche risk was a bit to high so yeah, either way we had awesome ten runs.
The guides know their area, they are well trained and know their business like their wallets.
Yeah thanks for this awesome experience.

Methven Heliski

Paul Richards14/08/2012
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Skier
  • Rider Level
    Expert
  • Rider Age
    36-50
  • Month Visited:
    August
  • Admin Rating
    3

Methven Heliski

Paul Richards14/08/2012
Flew with Methven Heliski on August 11, 2012 and is my third time flying with Kevin and his team. We caught an epic day in the Palmer Mountain range and managed 9 runs as we had god group, great guide (Gary) and pilot (Phil) who put us into some great runs. Note extra runs are generally cheaper then advertised and somewhat negotiable. We were charged $NZ270 per head for the 4 extra runs. This trip was three groups being flown per heli meaning no waiting for a lift.
Methven Heliski Packages
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Methven Heliski Day Heli Skiing DETAILS
Price p/p From price based on PERFECT 5-run day in 2019.
Base/invoice currency is in NZD inc taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
USD 710

METHVEN HELISKI - DAY HELI SKIING
Standard 5 Run "Perfect" Package

Location: New Zealand | Tour Focus: Guided | Terrain Focus: Backcountry
Ability: Intermediate to Expert
Price p/p From price based on PERFECT 5-run day in 2019.
Base/invoice currency is in NZD inc taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
USD 710
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! More
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