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Heliskiing FAQ's

Harris Mountains Heli Ski - Skiing Powder Above Lake Wanaka

How well do I have to ski to go heli-skiing? 

Ideally, you are a strong intermediate skier/boarder or better, with a sense of adventure. 'Strong intermediate' means you can easily ski all the blue runs at your home ski field, and can generally ski the black runs, even if you find them challenging.

Harris Mountains Heli-Ski has exclusive access to a wide range of terrain, from easy rolling slopes for powder first-timers to challenging chutes and steep valleys for the more experienced. Talk with us about your skiing/boarding preferences and we’ll find the perfect terrain for your heli-ski day. 

Still not sure? Take our Ability Guide Quiz to find out which ability level you best fit into, and which trips we would recommend for you.

How do I schedule my heli-ski day?

Book well in advance for your preferred heli-ski date. However, we also recommend that you contact us as soon as you arrive in the area, to allow flexibility in case of bad weather on your chosen date. For example, if you’re booked for a trip on Saturday, but you arrive in Wanaka on Wednesday, let us know if you’re also available to ski Friday and Sunday. The more options we have, the better we’re able to find you the best ski conditions! Remember, reservations must be confirmed no later than 6 pm on the day prior to your trip.

What’s included in the heli-ski package?

Included in all heli-ski packages:

-          Fully-qualified, certified mountain specialist heli-ski guide, at a guide-to-guest ratio of 1:4-5

-          Picnic lunch

-          Avalanche transceiver and training on transceiver use

-          Limited transportation from accommodation to heli-staging areas available

Do I need powder skis?

Wide-body powder skis or all-mountain skis are the preferred choice for your heli-ski trip. This style of ski allows you to handle a wide range of snow conditions, faster, easier and with more stability. All of our guides use these and they’re wonderful for those wanting to go longer and harder in more advanced terrain. You don’t have to own your own powder skis – talk to us and we can recommend a variety of hire equipment retailers.

Harris Mountains Heli Ski - Untouched Powder Skiing

How long are the runs?

Run length varies depending on the terrain and snow conditions, from 600 vertical metres to as much as 1300 vertical metres of skiing. On average, the run length ranges from 800-1000 vertical metres. 

What do I need to bring?

You will need to bring your own ski/board or your hire equipment.

You will need to have warm clothing and safety equipment – a windproof jacket and pants, warm gloves, snow-quality sunglasses or goggles, a helmet and sunscreen.

The day is spectacular, so don’t forget to bring a camera to capture your heli-ski adventure!

Lunch is provided, but keep in mind that you’ll be doing several hours of high-energy activity before the break. Consider packing some water and snacks to keep you going.

What about safety equipment?

We take every precaution to ensure that our clients are properly equipped and prepared for their day in the backcountry.  Harris Mountains Heli-ski provides all guests with AV transceivers, and our clients are required to complete a safety briefing before the start of their heli-ski trip. In that briefing, we teach the use of avalanche transceivers, helicopter and mountain safety. More safety details. 

Do you provide accommodation pick-ups?

We do encourage guests to self-drive to our staging areas. However we do have limited transportation available from your Wanaka or Queenstown accommodation to our airport helipad or staging area.

How does the weather affect heli-skiing?

Mountain weather can be harsh and unpredictable. Early in the morning, our Head Guide will evaluate the snow and weather information and decide if conditions are suitable for heli-skiing to operate. We will then phone you to confirm if weather conditions allow us to operate. If weather conditions preclude flying, you can reschedule to the next day. Check out our daily snow reports (available during winter only).

What are the cancellation and refund policies?

A full refund is guaranteed if your cancellation is received at least 24 hours before your trip. Failure to give 24 hours notice will result in full payment being taken. We require a 48 hours notice prior to departure for charter cancellations.

A full refund will be given if adverse weather conditions prevent flying. View the full terms and conditions.  

It’s the day of my heli-ski trip. Here's how your typical day will unfold.