The People We Meet

Southern Lakes Heliski group on a private charter leaving powder tracks in the backcountry around Queenstown
Making new friends while doing an activity you love!

We get to enjoy the company of some wonderful guests throughout our New Zealand heliski season and lucky for us we get to share in the creation of many of their stories. Here is a slice into some of the people we have met and what they get up to when they choose to step into a day with Southern Lakes Heliski.

Here is a beautiful romance story involving Jo and Josh who decided to heliski with us. Josh surprised Jo on top of a mountain in the Southern Alps when he got down on a bended knee and presented her with a ring. What better place to do it and even better when the answer was yes.

A marriage proposal on the top of a mountain in NZ while heliskiing with Southern Lakes Heliski
Josh asking for Jo’s hand in marriage on the top of a mountain in the Southern Alps. She said YES!

Traumatic life events can either stop a person or make them stronger. One of those people is former Olympic Australian snowboarder Steph Prem who suffered some major injuries from a massive snowboarding incident. She and her favourite guide Jimbo headed off heliboarding into the mountains around Wanaka and managed to achieve 24000ft of vertical in one day!
stephieprem“ Yesterday was one for the books. Grateful for this day and those I shared it with” 🚁♥️

Steph Prem from Studio PP heliboarding in New Zealand with Southern Lakes Heliski on a Private Charter
Steph Prem throwing up powder on a heliboarding day with us….what broken back?

For a heliski guide being paired with a professional snowboarder who loves big mountain is the ultimate dream. Antti Autti came back for his 8th year with Southern Lakes Heliski to get some fresh content for his new short film “Closer”. He and professional Japanese snowboarder Shin Biyajima heli-boarded some unbelievable lines within five of our terrain areas including two glaciers and some steep spines that got even their hearts pumping. Keep an eye out for some teasers on their Instagram sites and make sure you view Closer when it comes out later this year.

Professional snowboarder Antti Antti spraying powder in the mountains above Wanaka while filming for his new film Closer
Antti Autti surfing the white wave while filming for his new clip “Closer”

Antti “It is really a pleasure to work with Southern Lakes Heliski. To me, there is no better heliski company in the world and I have been visiting plenty of them throughout my snowboarding career”

We have some incredible local skiers and snowboarders that live in the region. One of these is athlete Sam Smoothy, who is well known for his cheeky personality and skiing a line of great consequence while competing on the Freeride World Tour. We partnered with him and The World Bar to host a short film festival showcasing Sam’s ski adventures around the world and in his own backyard. His adventures were an inspiration to keep getting out there and enjoying the mountains.

Sam Smoothy heliskiing powder with the Voelkl team
One of our top freeride athletes in NZ Sam Smoothy is inspirational in what he has achieved and the adventures he has been on. Pic: Voelkl

Local legends Carlos Garcia Knight and Will Jackways came out for a Monster Energy filming session at Mt Albert overlooking Lake Wanaka. They had an epic day on a mountain that is like its own art piece. New Zealand is a perfect place to film as it has so much variety within such short distances. If you haven’t met the very personable Will Jackways, you will as he has recently started up an adventure guiding business called Explore Wanaka where he specialises in guided snow experiences.

heliski guide Tom Willmont skiing a line above Lake Wanaka while on a film shoot
Guide Tom Willmont showing the Monster film crew the best shot in the world!

How old do you have to be to heliski? There is no age limit, you just have to be intermediate and above and want to do it. This year we saw an increase in parents bringing their kids out to experience heliskiing and those kids ripped. We had an 11-year-old Slalom skier from the UK and a local 10-year-old who went out on a Private Charter and absolutely loved it. It’s something special to see these kids’ faces when they get to jump into a helicopter for the first time and heliski untouched powder.

11 year old stands by helicopter with parents after a heliski day with Southern Lakes Heliski in NZ
You are never too young to heliski….

There’s just a slice of the characters we get to enjoy the backcountry with but then there is also all of you…the first-timers who  to take the step to heliski, the experts who ski lines they don’t have to hike to, the guys, the girls, people from all over the world who all leave with a smile on their face saying “that was one of the best days of my life”. We are so lucky to be able to work in this industry and share in the making of many a fine tale.