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.