Ski the Southern Lakes finest mountain terrain

First Tracks Wanaka Heli-Accessed Ski Touring

Heli-Accessed Ski Touring enables you the opportunity to ski tour in Wanaka’s premier mountain terrain.

A morning helicopter ride will deliver you to a remote mountain top and from there you can enjoy a day of ski touring on high alpine terrain with your friendly and highly qualified ski guides.

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Difficulty Level Medium ?
Fitness Level Low ?
Duration 1 day
Elevation 1,400M / 4,593FT
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The day begins with a short scenic flight into the McKerrow Range - Liz Mathieson

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A guide briefing before skiing begins - Liz Mathieson

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The mountains stretch out in the distance. - Liz Mathieson

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Guides regularly undertake snow safety assessments - Liz Mathieson

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The snow and the views are simply phenomenal - winter or spring! - Andy Cole

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Spectacular views create plenty of photo opportunities - Guy Cotter

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You'll be hard pushed to find untracked terrain like this on the skifields! - Guy Cotter

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Traversing across to find more fresh lines - Guy Cotter

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Complete between three and six runs each day depending on snow conditions and group fitness - Guy Cotter

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Heli pick up at the end of the trip - Guy Cotter

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Soar high above Lake Wanaka - Geoff Marks

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Smiles as wide as the terrain - Geoff Marks

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Many routes from which to choose - Geoff Marks

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Skinning up for some magical runs down - Geoff Marks

From August to October
Departs from Wanaka, New Zealand
1:2 $1,250 NZD $
1:3 $850 NZD $
  • Overview

    • Ski the Southern Lakes finest mountain terrain with First Tracks Wanaka
    • Explore endless runs with our fully qualified IFMGA guides
    • Heli-Accessed Ski Touring enables you the opportunity to ski tour in Wanaka’s premier mountain terrain.

    After a helicopter ride up into the high mountains, your guide will set the skinning track for each new run and will be happy to share in a wealth of mountain knowledge and tricks on where to find the best snow and how to stay safe in that environment.

    At the completion of the touring day, the helicopter will whisk the group back to the staging point.

  • Why First Tracks?

    Professional and experienced mountain guides run all of our trips. First Tracks Wanaka has a commitment to ensure the highest standard of instruction and guiding practices and we only employ guides who share our philosophy. Our guides will offer you the best possible experience, and a safe and enjoyable time.

    Our guides are all NZMGA and/or IFMGA internationally qualified. They have been trained and assessed through the New Zealand Mountain Guides Association, and operate to the high standards and guidelines set out by the association.

    Experience the solitude of being in the big mountains without the expense of heli-skiing or the time commitment of a trip into the glaciers. Once the helicopter departs, enjoy the peace and solitude of the Southern Alps and as much action as your legs can handle!

  • Payment Conditions


    The price of your trip includes the following:

    • Guide and permit fees
    • Helicopter flight in and out
    • Return transport from Wanaka office to staging area
    • Lunch
    • Avalanche rescue equipment (transceiver, shovel, probe)
    • 15% NZ Goods and Services Tax


    The price of your trip does not include:

    • Ski touring equipment (skis with touring binding, skins and poles)
    • Personal equipment (clothing, day pack, sunblock, water


    Full payment is required at the time of booking for all daily First Tracks Wanaka packages.

    A 50% deposit is required to make a reservation for a Multi-Day Heli Accessed Ski Touring package, with the remainder being due 30 days prior to the package starting.

    Prices are per person and in New Zealand dollars and inclusive of 15% GST (NZ Goods & Services Tax). All transactions including refunds are made by First Tracks Wanaka and are in New Zealand Dollars. First Tracks Wanaka is not liable or in any way responsible for transactional charges passed on to our customers by credit card institutions, banking institutions or merchant service providers (international or domestic), these lay solely with the purchaser. Additionally, First Tracks Wanaka may not be held liable for any financial loss suffered by the customer from currency exchange fluctuations rate in purchase and refund situations. First Tracks Wanaka process payments and refunds in New Zealand Dollars as per our advertised rates and in adherence to our cancellation policies.


    1) Daily Packages

    A full refund will be given if the cancellation is received before 2pm the day prior to the package commencing. No shows and any cancellations made after 2pm the day prior to the package commencing incur a 100% charge with no refund entitlement without exception.

    2) Multi-Day Packages

    • Cancellations outside of 60 days incur a NZ$500 cancellation fee.
    • For cancellations made within 60 days of the trip commencement date we reserve the right to retain 50% of the full fee.
    • For cancellations made within 30 days of the trip commencement date we reserve the right to retain 75% of the full fee.
    • For cancellations within 15 days of the departure date a cancellation fee of 100% of the full fee applies.


    If adverse weather prevents the departure of your Heli Accessed Ski Touring trip you will be issued with a full refund, or the opportunity to reschedule to another day. If some Heli Accessed Ski Touring has been initiated and you have successfully flown into the mountains by helicopter, but a full day has not been achieved, there will be no refunds due. Refunds are not given due to injury, lack of ability or fitness.

    NOTE: First Tracks Wanaka is operated by Adventure Consultants Ltd. All references to First Tracks Wanaka also apply to parent company Adventure Consultants Ltd.

  • Trip Notes

    First Tracks Wanaka Heli Accessed Ski Touring 2021The Trip Notes provide detailed information and background for First Tracks Wanaka Heli-Accessed Ski Touring.

    You can view the trip notes online by clicking the image or download a pdf by clicking the following link:

    First Tracks Wanaka Heli-Accessed Ski Touring Trip Notes 2021

    Team Membership

    The trip will run with a minimum number of three people and a maximum of eight. The guiding ratio is 1:4.

    Our Guides

    NZMGA IFMGA LogoProfessional and experienced mountain guides run all of our First Tracks trips. First Tracks and Adventure Consultants have a commitment to ensure the highest standard of instruction and guiding practices and we only employ guides who share our philosophy. Our guides will offer you the best possible experience, and a safe and enjoyable time. An open and helpful approach is encouraged within the group to help communicate and reinforce the learning process.

    Our guides are all NZMGA and/or IFMGA internationally qualified. They have been trained and assessed through the New Zealand Mountain Guides Association, and operate to the high standards and guidelines set out by the association.

    Head Office Support Team

    Running successful journeys and expeditions is more about experience, knowledge and strategic management than any other factors. As an organisation, we place a substantial amount of time and resources into ensuring our trips are well planned and supported. You can be assured that the First Tracks staff will provide you with friendly advice and knowledgeable support throughout the planning stages of your trip and we will be there to provide backup while the trip is running.

    Suze KellySuze Kelly, General Manager

    Suze has been coordinating the office at AC headquarters since 1996 and was our Everest Base Camp Manager in 2000, 2006, 2007 and 2008. Much of the quality of our expeditions and the way we go about things here at AC is owed to the attention to detail which Suze applies in her role. Suze has skied and climbed in New Zealand all her life, including ascents of Mt Aspiring and Mt Cook and internationally she has climbed Island Peak, Aconcagua, Kilimanjaro, Lhotse, Everest and Vinson.


    Staff Photo

    Your Health

    Our registration form requests that you advise us of any medical problems you may have and if you are on any medication. Any information you supply will be treated as confidential.

    Level of Experience Required

    Skiers are to be a minimum of strong intermediate off-piste skiers. You will be grouped with similar ability skiers as much as possible to maximise your day.

    Difficulty Rating

    Each of our trips is individually rated according to its physical and technical difficulty, displayed in the icons towards the top of each trip page. You can click on the accompanying question mark for additional descriptions and the full run-down of our grading system is available on our Difficulty Ratings page.

    Preparing for Your Trip

    To make the most of your skiing experience we encourage you to work on your fitness and skiing/snowboarding prior to the trip.


    We strongly recommend that you take out trip cancellation insurance to protect yourself in the case of injury or mishap prior to/or whilst on our trips. This is usually available as an option when you purchase your airfare.

    Whilst our focus is on safety and our track record supports this, the mountains do have hazards and there is always the potential for mishap.

    If you were injured whilst on the trip the New Zealand Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) will pay rescue costs, however, you would not be eligible for bulk compensation payments. You are responsible for any medical or evacuation costs beyond the cover provided by ACC. Hence it is worth getting travel insurance for your trip.


    We will provide a nutritious and hearty lunch for the day. We can cater for special diets such as vegan and gluten/dairy free, please advise us at the time of registration.


    Wanaka has a range of accommodation from backpackers, motels, hotels and luxury lodges. We are happy to assist with your accommodation arrangements.

    Clothing & Equipment

    While winter ski touring in the New Zealand mountains requires good personal gear due to the potential cold weather conditions, your regular ski clothing, bulked up with some extra warm layers will normally suffice.

    We will provide your avalanche safety equipment, transceiver, probe and shovel, but you will need to come prepared with your ski touring equipment, personal clothing, sun cream and water.

    There are a number of rental options available in Wanaka and we can help you with sourcing rental of specialised touring skis, boots and climbing skins. We have snowshoes available for rent for snowboarders or we can help you rent a split board and climbing skins.


    We commence this trip from our base in Wanaka. The nearest airport is located in Queenstown, approximately one hour's drive away. Air New Zealand and Jetstar airlines provide daily services to Queenstown from Christchurch, Auckland and Wellington. There are also direct international flights from most major Australian cities.

    A shuttle service operates several times daily between Queenstown and Wanaka (from $35 each way), see We are happy to assist with your transfer arrangements.

    Bus services also operate daily between Christchurch and Wanaka (approximately 6 hours' travel time).

  • Itinerary

    Day Prior Register at Adventure Consultants Office, Wanaka
    8.00am Day of Trip - Report to Adventure Consultants Office, Wanaka
    8.15am Drive to helicopter staging area
    9.00am Heli flight into the Geo Domes and begin ski touring!
    12.00pm Lunch break, followed by more ski touring
    3.00 - 3.30pm Helicopter returns for pick up, drive back to Wanaka
    4.00 - 5.00pm Trip finishes at Adventure Consultants Office, Wanaka
  • Add Ons

    Wanaka and Queenstown have some of the most relaxing and beautiful accommodation in New Zealand. Let your friendly liaison know if you would like to discover some of the potential options that they have to offer.

    IMG 00170Take a private transfer between Queenstown Airport and Wanaka in a Jaguar F-Pace S.

    Available any time of the day or week, the service is personalised and includes an airport meet and greet at the gate.

    A Frankton shopping stop can be included in this service, as can a brief Wanaka orientation tour upon arrival.

    Each transfer can be tailor-made to meet your needs and transport can be included for up to 4 passengers.

    Please see Wanaka Chauffeured for more information.

    (Photo: Wanaka Chauffeured)

    Wild Wire - Top Pick!

    Experience a via ferrata (iron rung) climb on soaring waterfall whilst in Wanaka! Wild Wire is a truly great guided day out climbing a private via ferrata at Twin Falls in the Matukituki Valley. A safe and fun active activity for all ages.

    Scenic Flights

    In Wanaka we are surrounded by a myriad of lakes and mountain ranges as well as South Westland and Fiordland National Park, with the world famous Milford Sound. Seeing such sights from above by helicopter or plane is a must whilst visiting the South Island. Talk to our office about booking a flight.

    Bike and Boat Tour

    Enjoy a fun and adventurous half day boat and bike tour which combines a scenic lake cruise on the pristine Lake Wanaka with a mountain bike tour skirting the lakeshore with our friends at Wanaka Bike Guides.

    Wanaka Wine Tours

    Discover the scenery, history, food and wine of Wanaka and Central Otago with Wanaka Wine Tours. Catering to all, from complete wine novices to dedicated wine connoisseurs, their explorations of the local vineyards are a delight to the senses!

    Bungy Jumping / Canyon Swing

    Bungy… the quintessential New Zealand activity that speaks for itself. And Canyon Swing! Let us organise this for you after your trip with us and take the hassle out of it. Talk to our staff about it today!

    Fiordland Helicopter Flight, Cruise or Remote Scuba Dive

    Take an incredible scenic helicopter flight through Fiordland National Park, a listed World Heritage Area, where you will land on a private boat in the very remote Dusky Sound. Enjoy a cruise of the Sounds and if you're feeling adventurous then don your dive gear and head underwater for a phenomenal dive in the unique underwater world that Fiordland has to offer. Feast on an amazing lunch of fresh seafood, before heading back to civilisation. Truly an experience not to be forgotten.

    Multi-Pitch Ice Climbing

    After your trip/course you could add-on a multi-pitch single day 1:1 ice climbing ascent with your guide. Depending on your skill level, there is a range of excellent options within a couple of hours walk. or a short helicopter flight near Queenstown. Contact us to learn more.

    Have a camera man join your trip and document the entire thing! Choose from a variety of options for different budgets. You could have a full-colour book and short film, or a full documentary for television. Your trip is the trip of a lifetime; why not keep it to show your friends and family. Contact us or see our specialty Film and Photo Services page for more information.

    Let us take the hassle out of buying new gear. We can sort all of your equipment requirements for you from head to toe with specific personal purchases that will leave you with all of the best gear on the mountain. Contact us or see our specialty Gear Store page for more information.

    Your friends or family may wish to join you on your holiday but don't like the idea of heading into the backcountry for skiing or ice climbing. Let us know if this is the situation and we will be able to put together an itinerary that keeps them busy while you are up high. There are so many wonderful things to do, so have a chat with us and we will put together the perfect program.

  • Travel Insurance

    Finding the right travel and rescue insurance for your trekking and mountaineering adventures can be tricky! Rest assured when you book with the expedition specialists here at Adventure Consultants we'll help by sending through advice on what you'll need, including:

    • Travel insurance including trip interruption and cancellation cover
    • Medical Evacuation and Rescue Insurance

    For further information check out our Travel and Rescue Insurance page or contact us.

  • FAQ

    • Contact Us

      The following Frequently Asked Questions answers serve as a helpful guideline for our First Tracks Wanaka Heli-Accessed Ski Touring. Please feel free to contact us if you have any further questions. Our team is here to help!
      NZ: +64 3 443 8711 (Monday - Friday, 8:30am - 5:00pm PST + 19 hours)

    • Heli-Accessed Ski Touring

      How does the day work?
      You will need to contact the AC Office to register for your trip the day before it begins. You will view a helicopter briefing video and a transceiver search video.

      On the day of the trip, be back at the Adventure Consultants Office by 8.00am. Your guide will check your equipment to ensure it is serviceable as well as checking your clothing for the day.

      We will transport you on the 30-minute drive from the AC office to the staging area at 8:15am and the helicopter will pick us up soon after. We will land on a summit, then ski as far down the run as the guide deems appropriate. Then you will attach the skins to your skis, put your bindings into walk mode, and 'skin’ back up the hill.

      The length of each climb varies, but generally, you will climb back up for 30-45 minutes each run. That will give you around 200-250m of ascent/descent each time. We travel at a leisurely pace so as not to over-tire ourselves and retain enough energy to enjoy the next few runs.

      We will stop for lunch to enjoy the views, and your guide will take the time to stop to discuss touring techniques and help you become a great ski tourer!

      At the end of the day, the helicopter will return to pick us up and deliver us back to the staging area. You can expect to be back in Wanaka around 4.00-5.00pm.

      It is important to note that the focus of the day is to enjoy the skiing and being in the mountains. If you are a small group of fit, go-getter types, the guide will be happy to do more runs with you than a standard group might expect. Alternatively, if your group’s focus is to extend your backcountry touring skills, your guide can include some instructional sessions throughout the day. Simply talk to us at the time of booking about your group's goals for the trip.

      How long is each run?
      The length of each run will depend on the features of the terrain on the mountain we are skiing. Some terrain lends itself to shorter runs while in other terrain, it is better to take longer runs so we can gain optimum enjoyment of the natural features. At other times it will depend on snow quality. We will want to ski the best quality snow we can find and sometimes this can be in limited areas. In this case we’d prioritise specific slope aspects and orientations.

      What happens if I get tired?
      We can finish the activity and wait for the first opportunity to fly out, or if others want to keep skiing you can wait out a run or two.

      How much water shall I bring?
      During winter when it's cold (July/early August) you may only drink 1 litre a day, but in spring when it's hot you'll want at least 2 litres.

      What's for lunch?
      We provide a sandwich and 2 bars each day. If you're a big eater or have strict dietary requirements and feel you need more, then please bring some extra snacks or food.

    • Travel

      Do I need to arrive the day before the trip starts? 
      We need you to register at the AC Office the day before your trip. This allows us to go through a briefing and view a couple of instructional videos ahead of time.

      Where do we meet? Will I be picked up?
      Our NZ trips start at the Adventure Consultants head office. Our trips start at 8.00am and we can easily arrange for your guide to come pick you up from your accommodation.

    • Clothing & Equipment

      What equipment will I need?
      You will be provided with an equipment list when you register.

      Will I be cold? What layers should I wear?
      When touring you are generally outputting a lot of energy and will end up quite hot, so a thin base layer and a light windproof shell will suit hot-blooded people. Those who feel the cold more can add another thermal layer. Initially, you can wear an extra thermal layer that you put in your pack when skinning back up the mountain unless it is an especially cold day. Light gloves and a sun hat protect you for skinning when it’s hot. Of course, bring sunblock to lather up with.

      What ski touring equipment will we use?
      We will use specialist ski touring equipment, including skis with touring bindings, stick on skins, ski crampons (if you have them) and ski touring boots (preferable to normal ski boots because of their walk mode).

      How do I get touring gear?
      The rental of ski touring equipment is included in your fee for this trip. 

      What about transceiver, shovel and probe?
      If you have your own avalanche equipment, please bring this along. If not, First Tracks Wanaka will be able to provide those for you.

    • Health & Fitness

      What kind of physical condition should I be in for my trip or course?
      We encourage you to work on your fitness prior to your trip as arriving fit and prepared is a key element to a successful and enjoyable time.

      What experience should I have?
      To get the most out of this trip you should have experience in off-piste skiing or snowboarding, unless you are travelling exclusively with a group of similar abilities. If not, it’s best to get some instruction in backcountry techniques first, on a course such as our 3 Day Backcountry Skiing CourseTalk to us about snowshoeing or similar options for non-skiing companions.

    • Insurance

      What insurance do I need to get?
      We strongly recommend that you take out trip cancellation insurance and travel insurance to protect yourself in case of injury, mishap or cancellation prior to/or whilst on our trips. Coverage varies based on your nationality and the trip that you are taking with us. When you have booked on a trip with us we will send you information on various insurance options which will serve as a good starting point for obtaining the best coverage available for yourself. While our number one focus is on safety and our track record supports this, the mountains do have hazards and there is always the potential for mishap.

      What is trip cancellation insurance?
      Trip cancellation insurance is an option that may allow you to cancel your trip without losing the total cost of the trip. Adventure Consultants highly recommends cancellation insurance for all of our trips and courses. If circumstances cause us to cancel a trip, then we will refund your fees paid. However, if you have to cancel your trip at the last minute trip cancellation insurance will cover your airfare and any other costs you may have incurred in the lead up to your trip.

    • Fees & Payments

      Can I pay by credit card?
      Yes, you can pay at our office by credit card (Visa, Mastercard or Amex), EFTPOS or NZ cash. Please note there is a 3% fee for all credit card transactions.

      What is included in the cost of my trip?
      Each trip page on the website has a section with exactly what is and what is not included on the trip. Please see 'Payment Conditions' above.

      Why are you sometimes more expensive than other operators?
      Many of our trips are very similar in price to our competitors. Some companies even wait for us to set our prices and use ours as a guideline!! Some of our main selling points, which sometimes do cost more, are internationally qualified guides, small group sizes, safe client-to-guide ratios and quality equipment, amongst other things. You do get what you pay for which is why we stand out from the rest.

      How do I sign up for a trip?
      The best way to reserve your space on a trip is to contact our office or complete our online booking form (click 'Book Now' below).
      NZ: +64 3 443 8711 (Monday - Friday, 8:30am - 5:00pm PST + 19 hours)

  • Media

    Wilderness Mag May 20Wilderness Magazine - Going Guided: First Tracks Wanaka Ski Camp
    May 2020 - If you’ve skied all the runs at your local field, you may be wondering what to do next. Wanaka-based Adventure Consultants has the answer: a two to four day ski camp at 1600m on the McKerrow Range.
    SMH No Place Like DomeSydney Morning Herald - No Place Like Dome
    1 June 2019 - The Geo Dome is a captivating base for ski touring remote and pristine slopes, writes Jim Darby.
    Traveller Geo DomeTraveller - New Zealand's Geo Dome heli-camp: A merger of modern technology and Kiwi can-do
    May 2019 - Jim Darby is hosted by AC CEO Guy Cotter at New Zealand's first Geo Dome heli camp, a remote and inspired ski touring camp in the mountains above Wanaka, a merger of modern technology and Kiwi can-do.
    Stuff Geo Dome Kiwi Can DoStuff - New Zealand's Geo Dome heli-camp a merge of modern technology and Kiwi can-do
    May 2019 - I'm ski touring with Guy Cotter; it's a bit like having Bruce Springsteen play in your garage band...
    Stuff First Tracks 2018Stuff - First Tracks Wanaka Alpine Heli Camp Ski Touring
    October 2018 - Jim Darby visits First Tracks Wanaka Alpine Heli Camp, built for ski tourers in the winter and bushwalkers in the summer, the camp is in the McKerrow Range, well above the snowline at about 1600 metres.
    Snow place like domeThe Sun Herald - Snow place like dome
    September 2018 - They organise Himalayan base camps and expeditions, so surely it wouldn't be too difficult for Everest veteran Guy Cotter, his partner Suze Kelly (she has also climbed that peak) and their team at Adventure Consultants to make a camp in the alps above Wanaka.
    Space Camp 2018Space Camp - Contours & Coffee
    September 2018 - A visit to Adventure Consultants‘ new alpine heli camp high in the mountains of Wanaka’s Southern Alps will give you the opportunity to experience space in every definition of the word.
    Miss Snowitall - Camp in an 'igloo' and ski tour New Zealand's Backcountry
    September 2018 - First Tracks Wanaka is pleased to announce that the Geo Dome Heli Camp has been set up in the McKerrow Range.

    JE8A7473AC Blog - Welcome to the Geo Dome
    September 2018 - Sitting snug into the mountainside of the McKerrow Range, near Wanaka, you’ll find New Zealand’s newest alpine experience, the First Tracks Wanaka Geo Dome Heli Camp.

Book Now

Suze kelly dude skiing 2

AC just stuck out as a professional organisation - a really nice and helpful group of people that work around the weather to help you gain the most of the course.
Backcountry Ski Course, 2017

Dale Larner
Suze Kelly dude skiing

Very professional but balanced by a relaxed "Kiwi" style that made the trip very enjoyable.
Backcountry Ski Course 2017

Glenn Vile
New Zealand

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