Bucket List: Harris Mountain Heli-Ski (New Zealand)

by Wagner Skis / Jul 05, 2024

Down in the Southern Hemisphere, snow enthusiasts are easing their way into the depths of winter and gearing up for the ski season ahead.

Harris Mountain Heli-Ski
A group waits as their helicopter takes off.  Photo credit @HMH

Based in the aptly named Southern Alps of New Zealand, the Harris Mountains Heli-ski (HMH) team chase winters around the globe, skiing and guiding in destinations such as Antarctica, Russia, India, China, Greece and beyond. And you've seen HMH Manager Hugh Barnard before – he's one of our friends at Tordrillo Mountain Lodge during the Northern Hemisphere winter.

Schedule a call.

HMH operates in three locations in the heart of the South Island: Wānaka, Queenstown and Aoraki / Mount Cook. As the pioneers of Heli-ski in New Zealand, the company boasts exclusive access to more terrain than any other operator. Runs vary between 2,000 - 4,000 vertical feet of above-treeline skiing in sheltered basins, bowls, wide rolling mountain plains and steep chutes. 

The terrain in New Zealand is unlike anything in the lower 48.
The terrain in New Zealand is unlike anything in the lower 48. Photo credit @HMH

If heli-skiing isn’t quite enough, Wānaka and Queenstown are considered meccas of adventure in New Zealand. Below the snow line, jet boats, gondolas, alpine slides, bungy-jumps, sky-dives, and a ton of other non-snow activities keep your adrenaline peaked off the mountain. The towns are about an hour apart from each other, have unique personalities, and are filled with boutique bars and restaurants. (Editor's personal note: book a hot pool at Onsen for an incredible day-off / après ski soak.) 

While July and August predictably own the best winter snow conditions, September is not a month to be overlooked and can be, arguably, one of the best times to ski in New Zealand. The longer spring days allow helicopters to fly further west, enabling access to fantastic glacial terrain – not only providing exceptional snow, but beautiful vistas and warmer temperatures as well.

Skiing with HMH
Tom Donahue gets some freshies with HMH. Photo credit @Hugh Barnard

The New Zealand ski season is short but sweet, and the Northern Hemisphere summer is already too hot. Why not plan your escape to the cooler temps and tick some heli-skiing off the bucket list this summer?


Article by Moana Barnard