Snow covers Queenstown in May 2018
Snow blanketing Queenstown                                                    Photo: @theaustraliantourist

What an incredible start to the New Zealand winter season with an early delivery of snow to the Otago region. Over 95cm was recorded at The Remarkables and since then regular little top-ups have been falling which has ensured we have a fantastic snow base for the start of winter 2018 and some early openings for our local ski fields.

Some of our heli ski guides have been out exploring and have found some great heliskiing conditions especially around our Towers Ridge terrain. Traditionally we don’t usually get the helicopter rotors turning until July but this season is proving to be slightly different as the snow is sticking around. We feel confident that we can get some heliskiing trips out by the end of June.

Heliski guide Tarn Pilkington exploring the backcountry around Queenstown in June 2018
Guide Tarn Pilkington exploring the backcountry on a recent powder day.

We have a fun and busy week ahead with our guides training program now in full swing. It’s a great time of the year that sees our team of carefully chosen guides reconnect back in the Southern Lakes region and prepare together for winter 2018. Our guides will once again be engaging in exercises and scenarios in our local mountains, and also working hard in the classroom to ensure all our clients receive the very best heliskiing experience possible.

Southern Lakes Heliski Guide Michael Shynkaryk checks snow pack on guides training in NZ
Mike Handford (UK) watches as Southern Lakes Heliski guide Michael Shynkaryk (Canada) digs a pit to check snow conditions for the up and coming heliski season                                                                                                        Photo: Dan Power

So what to expect over the next few months?…. this fantastic early snowfall has set us up with great coverage over the Queenstown and Wanaka backcountry. This weekend the northwest storm is forecast to deliver at least 30cm of fresh powder in our western terrain. Next week will be an excellent week for heliskiing with some good weather windows and knee deep powder.

Long-term it will be interesting to see what happens. If you have a read of the Mountainwatch Grasshopper’s blog he is predicting more storms than usual, which is perfect for us as it means regular snowfall and lots of powder days! He also suggests that the El Nino will be kicking in late spring which will extend our New Zealand heli-ski season out longer the usual. We are feeling optimistic as we know mother nature will certainly provide and we have the helicopters to enjoy the fruits.

Cardrona ski field covered in lots of snow from May snow storm in New Zealand
Checking out the view from the helicopter over Cardrona….so much snow

The best thing is to stay updated on our daily snow report page or follow us on Instagram and Facebook. We will be reporting regularly with the latest imagery and footage showcasing the conditions.

Remember we are flexible if the day you have booked for isn’t flyable we can move you to another available day so you get the best heliskiing experience.

Looking forward to a few powder turns with you all this winter!