Overall Rating

Southern Lakes Day Heli Skiing

Southern Lakes Day Heli Skiing4/54
Southern Lakes Day Heli Skiing4 out of 5 based on 4 reviews
  • Recommend
    75%
  • Would Revisit
    75%
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Southern Lakes Day Heli Skiing - Reviews

Southern Lakes Day Heli Skiing - Reviews

Minaret Magic

POWDERHOUNDS.COM15/09/2015
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Skier
  • Rider Level
    Expert
  • Rider Age
    36-50
  • Month Visited:
    August
  • Admin Rating
    5

Minaret Magic

POWDERHOUNDS.COM15/09/2015
Fantastic Playground
Lovely Powder
I Love the Minarets
In New Zealand you don’t necessarily have very high expectations for the snow quality (and you have to take the good with the bad), but SLHS took us to the Minarets and absolutely blew any expectations right out of the water of what NZ powder could possibly be like! This was one out of the bag!

We flew out to the Minarets from the Wanaka airport, and the scenic flight was absolutely spectacular across Lake Wanaka and then the amazing jagged peaks of the Minarets.

The heli skiing was even more amazing! The powder was ankle to boot deep and it was deliciously dry due to some nice cold temps. At times there was cold smoke flying out from the trenches we were leaving. It was probably the best snow quality we’ve ever seen out heli skiing in New Zealand! Phenomenal!

The terrain at the Minarets was very interesting (although we stayed in the one zone for all the runs) with some fall-line stretches as well as plenty of lumps, bumps, gullies and other terrain features on which to play.

Ian our great guide kept the guiding instructions simple yet effective, and considering his wealth of experience in the heli skiing industry, we felt incredibly comfortable knowing that he had our backs wrt safety.

It took us a while to come down from the high of that day out with Southern Lakes Heliski!

As good as it gets

Michael Cornwell07/09/2015
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Snowboarder
  • Rider Level
    Advanced
  • Rider Age
    36-50
  • Month Visited:
    August
  • Admin Rating
    3

As good as it gets

Michael Cornwell07/09/2015
Here my hands are up in seemingly disbelief with what I was experiencing & it kept getting better...
I have done heli boarding with Southern Lakes Heli 3 times now over the past 4 years, with the most recent being 21st August 2015. The weather was 10/10 - just perfect without a breath of wind. The snow was like nothing I have ridden before & I had one of the best days of my life. Ian our guide was great & our pilot, awesome. And we were treated with being joined in our group by Greg & Lyndell from powderhounds.com (thanks guys for the great pics & was great to spend the day with you both).

The whole experience & package that is Southern Lakes Heli is one that I know you will have no regrets & only amazing memories. I will be back &/or maybe fulfil a dream of the heli experience abroad. Thanks to all for the memories that will last a life time.

Oh Dear

Rebecca21/08/2014
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Skier
  • Rider Level
    Expert
  • Rider Age
    36-50
  • Month Visited:
    August
  • Admin Rating
    4

Oh Dear

Rebecca21/08/2014
Oh dear! We’d been told that the snow conditions were likely to be “good” but they were very very shabby. Of course they can only try to predict what the conditions are likely to be, but I’m surprised that they missed how windy it had been and that the freezing levels such that it had rained (I’d just arrived in town but I guess I should have picked this up better and quizzed them more about the snow conditions). The snow was wind crust (sometimes breakable) at the top, and then it was icy (from rain) down below.

The average vertical of the runs was only about 390 metres, which is far below their stated average, but it felt as though there was only about 50 metres of decent skiing. I’m surprised that they even went out and then continued. Meanwhile the guides were trying to gee us up and were saying that the snow was “pretty good” – I hope they weren’t for real.

We stayed all 7 runs on the same area and every run felt pretty much the same. They didn’t take us somewhere else to mix it up or to try a slightly different aspect to find snow that wasn’t so wind-affected.

We were in an advanced to expert group, and surprisingly they had an intermediate group on exactly the same terrain. Sure it wasn’t super steep, but the intermediates must have been struggling big time to ski on that sort of snow. I hope they didn’t think that was what all heli skiing is like, because they wouldn’t ever go heli skiing again.

It was far from the best heli ski day I’ve had, but I guess this is New Zealand where anything can happen to the snow.

Great Southern Fun

POWDERHOUNDS.COM21/08/2010
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Skier
  • Rider Level
    Expert
  • Rider Age
    36-50
  • Month Visited:
    August
  • Admin Rating
    4

Great Southern Fun

POWDERHOUNDS.COM21/08/2010
New Zealand heli skiing operations are very similar and the Queenstown operators in particular 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; the snow quality can be very variable; and the rates are a fraction of what you’d pay for heli skiing elsewhere in the world.

A factor typical to the Queenstown and Wanaka heli operators is that the amount of snowfall is generally not as great as that further north around Mt Cook or Methven, although the temperatures are often cooler. Southern Lakes’ terrain only receives 2.5-3.5 metres of snowfall per season, and the upper reaches of their terrain is not as high as it is with Alpine Heliski and Harris Mountains, but it is higher than with Backcountry Helicopters. In a similar vein, the vertical drop is also typically shorter in the Queenstown/Wanaka area at about 600-700 metres compared with the Mt Cook/Methven areas.

So what’s distinctive about Southern Lakes? Southern Lakes are a professional outfit and are large with the capacity to take out lots of guests each day. This gives them plenty of flexibility to be able to match you well with others of a similar ability and fitness level. It also means that they’ll operate every fine day with low likelihood of them not reaching the minimum numbers required to operate.

Another pro for Southern Lakes is that they have huge terrain to choose from which helps them find the best snow possible.

For a more detailed review and ratings on this operation, see our Southern Lakes Heli Ski review.