Why Ski The Tasman Needs To Be On Your Bucket List
Trade-in a ski lift for a ski plane with our latest product: Ski The Tasman.
Trade-in bustling groomed runs for fresh untouched powder, and shred down the longest glacier in New Zealand. For the avid skier, Ski the Tasman Glacier should be right at the top of your bucket list and is an excellent introduction to backcountry skiing.
The experience begins in a ski plane. Fly up the Tasman Valley, past the Hochstetter ice fall and cloud piercing Aoraki/Mt Cook before landing on Tasman Saddle – at around 2,400 m. Two alpine huts sit amongst the snowy expanse, somehow moving with the mass of ice beneath their wooden floorboards yet shuddering in the fierce Southerly winds. Surrounding peaks poke their noses out of the glacier, icefalls cascading down to join the main flow.
The ski plane skims onto the saddle, you clip into your bindings then follow your guide down the first run of the day. Past the Darwin Icefall, visit ice caves and peering into deep crevasses. Over your left shoulder, you can see Tasman Saddle Hut perched above on a rocky cliff.
The sweeping ski run follows the gentle gradient of the glacier for 8 to 12 km, down 1,000m to your awaiting ski plane, and a deliciously scenic lunch. After your stomach is full and sunscreen is reapplied, round two is beckoning.
The second ski run showcases a different section of the top of the Tasman, meandering through the Canyon Lands. Giant-sized ice blocks and deep glacial canyons demonstrate the sheer size of the glacier – with nearly 600 meters of ice beneath your skis. Your expert guides ensure your safety and comfort at all times, providing local knowledge and tales, all with lashings of good humour.
With the second ski run done and dusted, you’ll hop on board the ski plane for the third and final time, finishing up with a scenic flight back to the Mt Cook Airport.
Become part of the rich history of skiing on the Tasman Glacier, with tours being offered since the early 1970’s. The tributary Ball Glacier was also popular for skiing, with national championships being held there in the 1930’s.
The ski planes date back even further and are a unique experience in the Southern Hemisphere. In 1953, while flying tourists around Mount Cook and over glaciers, Harry Wigley saw the need for a retractable ski which would allow aeroplanes to take off from an airfield and land on snow. With good old kiwi ingenuity, Harry fashioned the first mechanically lowered retractable ski two years later. The concept and design have since been refined, including hydraulically operated skis and plastic soles, to provide a smooth as butter glacier landing.
With easy to moderate terrain, and a relaxed pace, Ski the Tasman Glacier is a once-in-a-life-time experience, exploring the vast expanse of this UNESCO World Heritage Area up close and personal. Grab your friends and family and shred some pow! Book now, and you can save $50 by using the code LOVESNOW.