First Tracks Wanaka Heli-Accessed Ski Touring

The following Frequently Asked Questions answers serve as a helpful guideline for First Tracks Wanaka trips. Please feel free to call or e-mail if you have any further questions. Our team is here to help!


How does the day work?
You will need to register the day prior to the trip start date and register for the following day. You will view a helicopter briefing video and a transceiver search video.

You need to arrive at the Adventure Consultants Office (corner of Brownston and Russell Streets, Wanaka) at 7.45am. Your guide will check your equipment to ensure it is serviceable as well as your clothing for the day.

You depart the AC office at 8.00am for the staging area in our transport. We arrive there 8.30am and the helicopter will pick us up soon after. We 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 so we have energy enough 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 come back in to pick us up and deliver us back to the staging area. You can expect to be back in Wanaka around 4.00pm.

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 group of four fit go-getter the guide would be happy to do more runs with you than a standard group might expect.

How long is each run?
The length of 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 will be 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 be wanting to ski the best quality snow we can find and sometimes that is in limited areas in which case we’d prioritise specific slopes 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 each 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.


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 more energy and will end up quite hot so a thin base layer and a light windproof shell will suit hot blooded people while those who feel the cold more can add another thermal layer.

Initially, you can wear an extra thermal layer that you would put in your pack on the first time 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 I need?
You will need specialist ski touring equipment which includes skis with touring bindings, stick on skins, ski crampons (if you have them), ski touring boots (preferable to normal ski boots because of their walk mode). There are rental options available in Wanaka.

How do I get touring gear? 
Touring gear is available for rent and purchase at MT Outdoors in Wanaka or Small Planet in Queenstown.

What about transceiver, shovel and probe?
First Tracks Wanaka will provide those for you.  


Can I pay by credit card? 
Yes, you can pay at our office by credit card (Visa, Mastercard or Amex), EFTPOS or NZ cash.

What is included in the cost of my trip?  
Each specific trip page on the website has a section with exactly what is and what is not included on the trip. 

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 and safe client: guide ratios, and quality equipment among other things. You do get what you pay for which is why we stand out from the rest. Many clients come to us after failing on one of our competitors ‘cheaper’ trips.

How do I sign up for a trip? 
The best way to reserve your space on a trip is to call or email our office. Phone our New Zealand head office on +643 443 8711 (Monday - Friday, 9:00am - 5:30pm PST + 19 hours) or Freephone 1-866-757-8722 from North America, or contact us via email.