Snowskiing: A Winter Vacation in New Zealand During Summer!

Imagine taking a skiing vacation at the height of summer! The seasonal differences between the two hemispheres of our earth, offer this striking contrast for those who relish a vacation with a twist.

The New Zealand Free Ski Open Volkl Big Mountain is scheduled to take place in August at the extreme terrain of Treble Cone’s Motatapu Chutes. It is a great occasion for a vacation with a difference for those of us who live in the Northern hemisphere. Some of the world’s best free ride skiers are expected to participate and put their skills to the test. This is the Southern hemisphere’s largest ski event of its kind and the top free ride skiers of the host country are expected to do very well. One disappointment for American enthusiasts is that Ted Davenport of the USA who is the European Free Ski Champion of 2005 has pulled out of the competition as he has not fully recovered from an ankle injury.

This competition depends heavily on weather conditions because of the extreme nature of the sport. This adds to the vacation pleasure and excitement of tourists and local spectators as well. Usually the organizers keep a six-day weather window to ensure the big mountain event is held in optimum conditions. It has already been postponed once this year due to poor visibility and control work. After the preliminary rounds, the finals are usually held at the chutes on the first fine weather day that follows.

Treble Cone, Wanaka is South Island New Zealand‘s largest and most popular skiing and snowboarding vacation resort. Spread over three basins there is skiing for all levels here. There are designated lifts and areas for kids and beginners. Keen skiers can attend their Alpine Skill Achievement Program to hone their skills at the five day ski clinic. Treble Cone offers excellent snowboarding free skiing terrains and there are natural half pipes in the upper regions. A new permanent terrain park is added this year.

Treble Cone’s Motatapu Chutes have now been demystified a little. Formerly this 300 meter long extremely complex terrain was open only to experts. Now anyone who has the courage to try it and the will to hike up can ski here under the eagle eyed supervision of Snow Patrols. Motatapu terrain rivals the best of Europe and comprises of chutes, towers and ridges. Increasing numbers of skiing enthusiasts plan top quality vacations in this area.

The Open will have competitors pick lines and commit to them as they drop off cliffs varying in size and difficulty. Spectators are able to watch the skiers from the adjacent face as they use their skills, creativity and strength and take on gut-wrenching drops. Now that is a vacation to remember!