Methven Heliski opened for business on June 24th a week earlier than normal. This was due to a special request from two of our best and most regular guests. Having skied with us for over 20 years and usually for up to two months at a time Christof and Britta Wieser have possibly done more Heliskiing in the Southern Alps of New Zealand than anyone. As a couple they hold a record in the Guinness Book of records for having skied the most vertical feet. Christof and Britta come to New Zealand every winter and while in the past they have sampled other heliski operations for the past decade they have stuck with the one they claim as the being the best!
It is fair to say that at 88 years old Christof has slowed down these days and likes to stick to the easier terrain. Back in his 60s Christof and Britta were famous for making the perfect powder 8 turns where ever they went. Britta claims that skiing is an addiction for them so whenever they get the chance they are off from their home town of Mondsee in Austria to where ever in the world there is powder snow. In the past this included Russia, Canada, India, Greenland and New Zealand with the coupe travelling the globe and skiing continuously for weeks on end. Married now for 54 years this is the couples passion and they plan to continue doing this together for as long as they can. Alpine Guides is happy to continue guiding Christof despite the extra care and attention required in taking someone that is arguably getting on in years out into the mountain environment. Christof and Britta understand the limitations and ski in their own private group now with two guides to assist them. They claim it’s what keeps them going and while their age presents a challenge for us when conditions are right we are happy to make it work for them.
July started with some great skiing however overall to date we have had less snow at lower elevations than normal. We are lucky as we get snow from all directions and while we have had a predominantly south west flow recently we have still been receiving regular top ups that have missed the ski areas! At higher elevations this month we have had up to 2 meters of new snow and this has filled in the crevasses on our glaciers. Our snowpack is building and overall is very strong with minimal weak layers. We are expecting a lot of snow to 600 meters this weekend so as we move into late July we should have some amazing skiing and boarding. This shot was taken just before the storm rolled in!
In 1986 Methven Heliski started from a desire by local farming brothers Tom and Bob Todhunter to heliski the mountains at the back of the farm. A partnership was formed with Mount cook based “Alpine guides” to run the operation and “The Helicopter Line” to supply the aircraft! Over the past 30 years Methven Heliski has grown into a premium operation that attracts both skiers and boarders from around the world. While the operation has grown and there have been many changes over the years the underlying structure of the business and its partnership remain the same. Today Philp Todhunter the son of Bob Todhunter is the chief pilot and now runs Lake Heron Station while Toms son Charles is running Glanfalloch station. From Alpine Guides Kevin Boekholt still remains the director and the guiding team despite changing from time to time remains consistent with another Methven local Jamie Robertson working as the chief guide for the past 12 years! It’s not only the staff that have remained constant but also a very high percentage of our guests have returned year after year bringing new friends to enjoy a the amazing terrain, reliable snow conditions combined with a professional, friendly well run operation!
Methven heliski differs from other NZ heliski companies in that we have remained a small boutique operation that consistently delivers a very good product to our guests. It offers a combination of high country hospitality from the beautiful settings of our helipads at Glenfalloch and lake Heron Stations alongside the professional team of guides and pilots that look after you in the mountains!
30 years on and a month before we start operating on July 1st the team at Methven Heliski are looking forward to a great winter! We already have an amazing base of over 2 meters of snow at 2000 meters! We look forward to old friends coming back and also to new guests that we can proudly show around the mountains we have spent the last 30 years getting to know!
I will be in Australia for the weekend of May 30th to 31st at the Travel Plan Ski Shows to promote CMH Heliskiing and the upcoming New Zealand winter heliski options from Methven and Mt Cook! I have also got some great shots and stories from my recent trip Helisking and ski touring in East Greenland! If you have any free time and you are in the area please come to:
Saturday 3oth Brisbane Conventions Centre between 10am and 3pm
Sunday 31st Sydney Maritime Museum Darling harbour “Lighthouse Room” 11am to 4pm
It would be great to catch up and talk about previous fun times or future trips!
Our season is well underway and we have had some good days out to date. We could definitely use some more snow but still have good coverage on our glaciated and high elevation terrain. July is a great month for taking photos as the sun is low producing a strong contrast between the white snow and the blue sky! Incorporate long shadows, powder snow and skiers in bright clothing and you get amazing pictures
Over the past few days all the guides got together at our new Mount Cook base and completed the annual pre season training! The weather has not been favourable for the ski areas in NZ but the backcountry has had some significant snowfalls and the current system will top things up this week and improve the ski areas as well. It is great to see Australia has had some long awaited snow and this should get everyone warmed up before getting on a plane to hit the big mountains over the next few months! New for this season is an area to relax and hang out at our Glenfalloch Helipad! Dietlind has been working hard this summer on improving the facilities and the helipad is looking fantastic. At our Lake Heron Helipad we will have a 2nd tanker for fuelling so for guests staying at www.lakeheron.co.nz there will be the option to fly directly to the mountains or even get picked up from one the remote huts for guests that prefer a total backcountry experience.
I will be in Australia to promote “CMH Heliskiing in Canada”, my adventures and upcoming trips to “East Greenland” and this coming winter in New Zealand heliskiing at our Mount Cook and Methven operations. I will join Jarred from Mint Tours to talk about the new Heli Camp at Mount Cook on Wednesday 28th and then will join the crew from Travel Plan Australia for their annual snow shows in Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney! If you are free to come down and have a look around it will be great to see you at any of the venues below.
Thursday May 29th, 5pm – 9pm
Melbourne Exhibition Centre South Bank
Saturday May 31st, 10am – 3pm Brisbane Event and Exhibition Centre South Bank
Original Room “M3” Close to Entrance
Sunday June 1st , 11am – 4pm
Australian National Maritime Museum Darling Harbour
New Larger Room “Gallery One”
Always keen to talk about adventures to distant mountains! Hope to see you in Australia!
IFMGA Guide, CMH Guide, Director Alpine Guides Aoraki, Director Greenland Heliski