Some seasons come late, some come early…
some break the record books, some are a mere blip on the snow radar. Anyone who’s spent a lifetime recreating in the mountains knows what it’s like when you have a ski holiday booked in a destination that’s having a rough start to the season. Think ‘snow anxiety’ with blinkers on. We get so snow focused, we don’t stop to consider that a winter holiday can be so much more when you take the importance off fresh powder... and place a little more emphasis on the abundance of activities that are on offer in mountain destinations.
It’s true that not every ski area offers a lot when the snow isn’t flying. Thankfully due to snowmaking, there is always something to slide around on, but if we had to name one destination with the best ‘out of resort’ experiences, that place would be New Zealand. The land of the long white cloud is also the land of incredible wineries, restaurants, and it’s a veritable playground for adrenaline junkies.
New Zealand is serviced by world-class helicopter operations, so you can combine a heli drop with any activity imaginable. Even when the resorts are low on snow, the high alpine peaks have excellent coverage and terrain for most levels of skier.
Non-skiers can explore the mountaintops on snowshoes while skiers can glide through ice caves on long winding glaciers, breaking for a gourmet lunch on the snow accompanied with wine pairings or mugs of hot gluhwein.
If you’re ready to have a day off the snow completely and you’re itching to tick some thrill-seeking off your list, then picture yourself skydiving into a winery, whereupon landing you soak up the region’s best wine and food over lunch until it’s time for a lazy afternoon nap on hammocks dressed with luxury pillows and blankets under the low winter sun.
New Zealand knows how to do winter differently.
If you consider yourself a wine lover but you’ve never heard of heli wine tasting, it’s about time you became familiar with the concept. The good people at Mt Rosa Wines will fly you up to a stunning alpine perch with a view toward Mt Cook and lay out a feast of local artisan cheeses while taking you on a wine tasting journey accompanied by some of Central Otago’s best drops - including the region’s distinctive Pinot Noir.
For those who want to keep their feet on the ground, you can book a jet-boat to explore the fjordlands for the day.
Milford Sound is a popular choice but if it were up to us, we would arrange a day in Doubtful Sound where there are fewer tourists and more secluded beaches.
A private expedition to a remote beach armed with nothing but a picnic of epic local food and plenty of time to enjoy the still natural waterways of New Zealand is an otherworldly experience. Think; beach-combing on adventurous walks and watching the day go by in the warm winter sun.
It will be the best day spent ‘doing nothing’ you’ve ever had.
You can literally choose your own adventure in New Zealand.
Visit the birthplace of bungee jumping and take the ultimate plunge, cross country ski over high plateaus surrounded by stunning alpine peaks or learn how to run a sled behind the Huskies. Maybe you have non-skiers in your group, or maybe you’re just ready to experience something unique… either way, New Zealand is so much more than ski resorts - it would be a shame to experience only this small part of what is on offer.
The sky is the limit. Literally.
If you would like to know more about the bespoke experiences on offer, contact our travel specialists