Whether you are an expert skier with a lot of heli-skiing experience or an intermediate snowboarder trying heli-skiing for the first time the right equipment is essential for an amazing experience in our beautiful terrain! So what do you need for a perfect run in deep fresh powder?
In 1988 a guy named Rupert Huber created the Atomic Powder Plus by band-sawing a snowboard in half. At 115mm underfoot, it was the first fat powder ski. Ever since then the fat skis have been the way to go when skiing powder. They make it easy to surf along the top of the snow and smooth transitions that you might otherwise get in a run. Easy turns with no edges catching are the ingredients for an incredible day. When it comes to the right technique, the recipe is quite easy according to HMH Manager Hugh Barnard: “Lead with the knees, evenly weight the skis, ski powder with ease.” Remember to keep your balance in the middle of the skis with your knees in front of your feet and skiing untouched powder will feel like flying!
Their size and form make every snowboard suitable for riding powder. However, there are specialist freeride boards that are directional which means that the nose and tail are different with a wider cut that gives a bigger surface area to float on. Keep your weight shifted towards your back foot so that the nose of your board is lighter and floats above the powder. HMH employee Dana Wrigley, a level 2 snowboard instructor, has another tip: "Don’t forget to keep your legs working and pumping to really enjoy that floating feeling. You might have sore thighs at the end of the day but it's definitely worth it!" Good to know: In case you need to rent your powder equipment this winter, there are plenty of rental shops in Wanaka and Queenstown that can get you sorted.
Having the perfect equipment is an essential part of having a great day heli-skiing. While the right ski or snowboard gear is crucial, there is one thing more important than this: The right safety equipment. Senior guide Whitney Thurlow, responsible for Health & Safety at Harris Mountains Heli-Ski explains: "Being in the backcountry means being in avalanche country and our guides do everything to make sure you are safe during your time with us. That’s why every heli-skiing trip starts with an in-depth safety briefing." All our guests are issued with an avalanche transceiver. Every group skis with a guest pack that includes a radio, shovel, probe and instructions on what to do in an emergency. Before boarding the helicopter, the guides train their groups in the use of the equipment and advise them on the avalanche danger rating for the day. Our Guides are UIAGM / NZMGA certified and/or specialists in mountain safety, so there is no need to worry: You are definitely in the best hands!
Our front desk staff are more than happy to assist you with any questions you may have. For more tips on the right equipment, check out our video below with Wanaka Ski Shop owner Shaker. Don’t forget to book your heli-skiing trip with us for 2018 for a once-in-a-lifetime powder experience!