Monthly Archives: August 2010

When it blows it snows!

Trying to pick the perfect day to Heliski? A very good tip to remember is that when Mt Hutt gets strong winds that can restrict the operation of its lifts it is snowing in the Arrowsmiths! The energy that creates the strong winds and warm temperatures in Christchurch comes from energy released in the form of snow during the winter months and rain at lower elevations on the West Coast. We can get great cold powder snow with  no wind effect when Mt Hutt is receiving strong winds! Believe me being 100 km to the West can make a very big difference! If you are checking Mt Hutt for fresh snow so you can heliski then are looking at the wrong website!  Just remember when it blows its snows and when it stops blowing make sure you have your booking in place!

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Ragged Range

When flying up the Rakaia River for a days heliskiing one of the many exciting options is to head to the Ragged Range. The Raggeds are often sheathed in cloud as incoming storm systems hit here first. What can often happen is that this can produce some of the best powder skiing in the region. There is a an amazing variety of terrain here from mellow basins like “Sunset Bowel” to lines with steep headwalls like ” Mexican Madness” and “Tomes Backdrop” . Today the Raggeds was the place to be with everyone making the most of the 15cm of fresh snow by doing lots of extra runs.

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The Run List

You may wonder how we choose the runs we ski? It is not that simple, from the start of the season we monitor the snowpack and record temperatures, precipitation rates, wind and solar radiation and record these graphically and in a data base. We use the ongoing history of the snowpack in conjunction with a hazard forecast to produce our run list. For runs that we are certain we can ski safely we code green and for runs that require further investigation we code yellow. Red runs are deemed unsafe for skiing and are to be avoided in under all circumstances! As this season has progressed we have moved toward a stable snowpack and we now have no red runs on our run list. The last red runs to be changed to green got there first tracks for the season these past few days and they definitely produced good skiing and riding!

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Beautiful skier, great smile!

New snow and good stability has allowed us to get out and explore some of our steeper terrain! Yesterday saw descents of  LMF and Deep South! both big south-facing runs that hold good powder snow! Alex an attractive Utah girl who can ski with the best was out with partner Joe for the third time this season and the smile on her face says everything about the day. Joe and Alex come to NZ most seasons and travel around looking for good snow which means they spend a lot of time with us! Good on you guys we love having you!

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Mexican Madness

One of the favourite runs at Methven Heliski is Mexican Madness! In the Ragged ranges Mexican Madness is a steep south-facing run that descends from the most prominent peak at the head of the valley. The initial slope is a constant 400 meter drop at 36 degrees before a series of moderate angel pitches take you to the pick up! Not always in conditions as we need good stability however on August 19th 2010 it was all on and we made the most of it! Good stability now means we can get onto all our favorite steep runs . Long may the fun last!

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Another storm rolls in!

After a few days of great skiing we are now waiting for the next storm to pass! We are now into the last half of our season and with longer days and the sun higher in the sky we are starting to get great spring skiing on our steep solar aspects while the powder remains cold and dry on shady aspects.

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14 Million Vertical Feet

Yesterday our regular guests Christof and Britta Wieser celebrated their 14th million vertical foot of total heliskiing to date. What makes the occasion more notable is that Christof is about to turn eighty-two and is still going stong and heading for 15 million. Christoff and Britta have enjoyed heliskiing at selected locations around the globe including Canada, Greenland, India and Russia and Methven heliski NZ!  Having experienced all the different heliski operations in NZ Christoff and Britta are now content to spend all their 7 weeks at their favourite destination Methven Heliski! We love having you and look forward to your eighty second birthday party!

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