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Corn Snow, Sunshine and Epic Times!
06/09/2017 1:02pm

The birds are chirping, the sun shines longer and lambs are popping up all over, that can only mean one thing, spring is here! The rise in temperature brings an exciting change to the snow conditions. Operations manager Roger Kingston explains the magic of skiing spring 'corn snow' and reminds us of the fun that can be had at this time of year.

As winter becomes spring the temperatures in the valleys and mountains are creeping up. This doesn't mean the ski season is over, it just means it's time to ditch a layer of clothing and enjoy the playful spring snow. In fact, if you're new to skiing and love the idea of heli-skiing, then now is the best time to try it. The snow is soft and forgiving and the team will find runs to suit your ability.

Still not convinced?
Check out what Heli-ski veteran and HMH Operations Manager Roger has to say about one of his favourite times of the year. Roger’s heli-skied over 1000 days and has worked for HMH for over 30 years. He looks forward to spring every year and wanted to sing its praises. 

Roger Kingston

HMH Operations Manager Roger gives us the lowdown on spring skiing

1) How have the recent temperature increases affected snow conditions?

We’ve gone from skiing winter snowpack to a mostly spring snowpack, which is great news for guests. It reduces the avalanche risk to basically zero, opening up far more terrain. We are still skiing powder on the high south-facing peaks and corn snow on all the other slopes.

2) What the hell is corn snow?
Corn snow is a widely sought-after snow type. It is often placed in the 'hero snow' category. It generally forms during spring following a number of freeze-thaw cycles. Large grains of snow freeze together during the night and loosen as the sun warms them up during the day. Corn snow refers to the snow that has softened before it becomes slushy and wet. Not too hard and not too soft, just right! 

Nat Craig enjoying the corn snow in the Buchanans

Nat Craig shredding corn snow in the Buchanan Ranges

3) What can our guests expect when they go heli-skiing right now?
The warmer temperatures mean it's slightly harder in the morning and softens as the sun hits the slopes. The beauty of heli-skiing is we can follow the sunshine to ensure the best conditions throughout the day.  We always try to provide the optimum spring skiing experience with snow that is soft and very forgiving, perfect for new heli-skiers.  Spring conditions are easier to ski or board than powder with the same weightless, floating sensation.  Spring groups often end up skiing longer runs and more of them, many requesting to add extra runs to their package on the day.

4) What do you like about spring skiing?
I love spring skiing, it's warmer, the weather is often calmer and the sun shines longer.  As a guide, there's a bit more planning involved at this time of year, which adds to the excitement and it's well worth it when you see the smiles on the client's faces. We need to know where the suns going to be at every hour of the day so we can follow the snow as it softens, that way we get to ski the 'hero corn snow' all day long.

Last weekend I was able to take my group to my favourite slope, “Tales of the Unexpected” in the South Buchananas. We haven't been able to go there all season so we were all thrilled about finally getting the opportunity, we had ear to ear smiles during every turn.


So, has Roger convinced you? Our guides can tailor a trip just for you, your friends or your family (kids included) so that everyone can enjoy the thrill and freedom of heli-skiing! With plenty of fun still to be had and with perfect conditions for a first time heli-skier why not book an experience of a lifetime with Harris Mountains Heli-ski!

Address:
19 Shotover Street,
Cnr Shotover and Camp St,
Queenstown.
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