After 3 months of living and working in the Southern Hemisphere's winter season it's now time to look back on my time spent in New Zealand. For many years I have wanted to go to New Zealand and I was finally able to make it happen. The tales of beautiful mountain views, friendly easy-going people, great food and amazing coffee were all true. Life was busy with lots of ski guiding with Alpine Heliski based out of Queenstown where I lived. We had some awesome days, meeting and skiing with people from all over the world, living my guests' best day of their lives... almost everyday!
NZ - Part one: Heli-Skiing
Heli coming in for a pickup with Lake Wakatipu. Whether hanging in town, driving the road or flying and heli-skiing in the mountains, the lake always enhanced the scenery.
The beginning of the season started out with less than normal snow cover, but there was enough coverage to get out and have great days. Regardless of thin or deep snow coverage, getting out in these beautiful mountains never disappointed anyone.
I continued to be amazed how all winter long down low there is green grass, while the mountains are filled with snow. Powder skiing during the day and a cold beer lying on green grass in the evening sun. That's New Zealand winter.
Lunch time with one of the coolest looking helicopters in the world.
Skiing! The terrain surrounding the Queenstown area has a lot to offer from easier intermediate and avalanche-safe runs to the steeper and bigger runs when the snow pack allows us.
Powder! To be honest, New Zealand isn't world famous for its powder like Alaska but it certainly does happen. When it's out there we can go get it with the help of a helicopter.
Heli heading up the valley for another run.
This day was awesome. Private charter day. I had one group with our own heli to go anywhere I thought would be good, and it was good.
This is heli-skiing in New Zealand. Sheep, green grass and a helicopter to get you up into the powder-filled mountains.
Here I am on a beautiful day. Enjoying my hard day at work. This run is called "The Diving Board" because as you ski the run it continues to roll over and it feels like you are about to jump off a diving board into Lake Wakatipu below.
Another group just dropped off along the ridge beside me. Watching the heli lift away like this never gets old.
Very happy guests out on a great day. You can see our tracks in the distance from previous runs.
The end to a perfect day of blue skies and powder. The town of Queenstown is visible behind us. A beautiful setting.
It's been awesome having Voormi clothing to wear this year. They are making industry-leading wool clothing that is comfortable, good looking and the most durable longest-lasting wool you will ever own. And it's all 100% made in the USA. Photo by: Ben Johns.
More happy guests stoked for another run. The Voile V8 ski stands out here against all the snowboards in the group.
Till next time New Zealand. You were Awesome!