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Will bribe New Zealand skiers with beer in exchange for guiding me away from 50 ft. cliffs
July 19, 2010 8:54 PM   Subscribe

I'd prefer to not fall off a 50 ft cliff in New Zealand while skiing backcountry this August. Besides hiring (the very expensive) guides, how do we find volunteers willing to help us make it back to civilization each day in exchange for beer?

I am embarking on an epic ski-touring adventure of the south island of New Zealand this winter with my brother. The goal is to ski/climb for 20 days, driving between mountains/ranges as much as possible in the evenings and at night. We'll be doing hut-to-hut touring and heli skiing in two separate tours that will provide Avy gear. (beacon/shovel/probe) and mainly skiing slackcountry where ever else possible. Since we can only afford to be part of a guided tour for a few days (1 day on our first day at craigieburn, 2 days heliskiing at mt. potts and a 3 day tour at mt. aspiring) , and obviously getting stuck in back country on the other side of the world is less than ideal, we initially considered leaving our avy gear home (in the US) to prevent us from getting into trouble.

HOWEVER, as our research has deepened, we've realized that 60% of the most awesome terrain will always be out of bounds, and we obviously feel more comfy with our own transceivers, so we're bringing our own gear. So, how do we go about finding cheap/free guides/friendly locals who will point us away from the unmarked 50 ft cliff around in arthur's pass and queenstown?

In the US and Canada (and even in the french Alps) I was always able to find a volunteer guide willing to go slack country and guide us towards the better spots and willing to share some fresh tracks in exchange for lunch. Are there volunteers like this in NZ? the resorts are quite small, and as we won't have the time to devote to really properly learning the terrain/studying the snow etc, we are wary of heading off into the back country on our own.


So Skiing New Zealanders. I'm doing an epic ski/road trip through your southern island. Point me towards your favorite guides, best maps, best trailheads and I promise I won't spoil your hidden powder stash (too badly).



BONUS: Any additional details about traveling in winter is much appreciated. Amazing restaurants/pubs in Wanaka and Queenstown are much appreciated.

here is map of places we plan on hitting up.

We are spending almost no time in cities. This trip is about the mountains, the fresh powder, the vistas, the the 4 hour predawn accent, fresh tracks at dawn, earning our turns,the swish of the skiis, victory over the elements, the celebratory beer. This is a once in a life time opportunity to shred the gnar, bust our knees and worship some of the most wild snow on this planet.

Other relevant info: siblings, 23/24, avy certified, avid skiers, can read maps/orienteer, new yorkers. We've got lodging, car and tons of insurance (medical and otherwise) already set up.
posted by larthegreat to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Are you an ADK or AMC member (since you're a new yorker, this seems reasonable)? I'm sure someone in either or both of those groups would be able to help.
posted by blaneyphoto at 10:28 PM on July 19, 2010


I would honestly post something on http://trademe.co.nz (if there's such a category) and see if anyone would help. New Zealanders are some of the most amazing, helpful friendly people I have met, who have English as their first language.

I think your of fear of falling to your untimely death is also realistic. New Zealand is a very dangerous place. If a local says don't do something, don't do it. Talking from experience.

Don't worry about the cities - there aren't any! Almost. You will be a little depraved of the 5,000 people places, not to mention the few hundred town places. When you do make it to Wellington, Christchurch, stock up on food - especially all the scroggins! Leave Queenstown well enough alone, check out Wanaka - skiing all around there - if you need a nonplanned place to stay, I suggest http://www.wanakabakpaka.co.nz/
posted by alex_skazat at 10:53 PM on July 19, 2010


You could contact the Otago University Hiking Club.

Incidentally, the way you've phrased your question might not go down too well in New Zealand. It sounds too much as though you're asking people to perform a service for you for free. People don't take kindly to that; if you need a guide, you should stump up and pay for a guide.

I suggest you tell the the club representative that you're excited about your trip, and you're keen to meet and ski with some New Zealanders while you're there. Say you're you're seeking trip partners with local knowledge and plenty of back-country experience. Mention that you're willing to provide food, beer, whatever, and emphasise that you're well equipped and will be carrying tranceivers.

Make sure you log your trip with the local Department of Conservation (DOC) office or a police station before you leave, and ensure you let them know you're out safe when your trip is over. Follow every precaution you are told to follow, even if you don't understand the reason for it at the time. If there's one thing New Zealanders take seriously, it's bush and back-country safety. Have fun!
posted by embrangled at 1:35 AM on July 20, 2010


Ooh-er, make that the Otago University Tramping Club. I've been away too long.
posted by embrangled at 2:07 AM on July 20, 2010


oh, I honestly don't expect anyone to guide for free. (we're already paying for guiding as much we can, to the limit of our budget) In the states, if you contact resorts a head of time there's usually a bunch of locals who meet up and go skiing some of the more hidden bits of the terrain. Usually I can get in touch with the group leader and they'll set us up with a volunteer guide; it's usually been a semi-retiree who's an incredible skier, who just wants to share some killer turns; we always establish that they are not obligated to stick with us for more than one run if they don't want too... I was just wondering if there was a culture of that in NZ...

Here I know how to call and phrase my questions, I have no idea if something like that is even acceptable/done in NZ.


Thanks for the Otago tramping club link.
posted by larthegreat at 5:46 AM on July 20, 2010


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