Long Overdue Newsletter

Opps, it seems like a year has passed since my last newsletter. With the NZ borders opening up again its been a busy southern hemisphere summer.

But tracking back to the 2022 winter in NZ. Boy did we have a goodie. It started off with some of the coldest and lowest snow in decades. After almost 25 years of heli-skiing I found myself skiing new runs lower than I’d ever skied before. Harris Mountains Heli-ski was busier than usual also with August being solidly booked out.

Fast forward to spring, and then down to Antarctica with a group of friend/clients for the annual Ice Axe Antarctic Ski Expedition. We skied the Southern Continent in fantastic wintery conditions with a deep snowpack right off the beach. Good snow, fantastic turns, great company and the odd Antarctic storm all added to the enjoyment.

From there I jumped on a three week luxury ship based expedition starting in the Falkland Islands. We boarded the Legend yacht and sailed down to South Georgia. It was my first visit to this far off island and it did not disappoint. The wildlife was next level with barely any beach space for us to get ashore. Armed with a long stick, we had to go ahead of the guests and as politely as possible, encourage the male fur seals to move off their hard won piece of realestate so that we could pass.

The seals, the penguins and the scenery was spectacular.

From there we headed over to Antarctica, to meet the second ship, pick up our two helicopters and explore some more. Emperor penguins and mellow ski turns the highlight of this next phase before boarding a jet to fly back to South America.

I was home for Christmas morning, then back to South America for another ski tour in Antarctica with a family from Germany.

Next stop was Kashmir. I’d missed the many friends in Gulmarg so it was a real treat to return after 4 years. The season started slow with a rotten snowpack, then it snowed a couple of metres and we skied some fantastic tree runs and low angle high alpine. Always aware of the avalanche danger. But with our knowledge of the terrain we skied epic run day after day. The snow was deep and pristine. The guests all loving the long runs, culture and daily adventures.

After 5 weeks in Gulmarg we flew directly home to the north of NZ and to our recently purchased yacht and set sail for Great Barrier Island with its warm water, plentiful fish and great sailing.

Looking ahead to the rest of 2023 and into 2024
The big news for us is we are taking the New Zealand winter off (July to September) and will sail our yacht up to Fiji in early July. It’s a new adventure for us and we are excited for the change. Sadly I will miss the NZ winter with all my regular guests.

Antarctica 2023
Unusually, we still have space on this years Antarctic cruise expedition October 18-30 starting in Ushuaia, Argentina.

Antarctica is seen by many as the ‘Last Frontier’ for skiing and snowboarding due to its remote location and difficulty of access. An expedition to the Antarctic is an exotic, life changing experience very few people have the opportunity to experience. We are exploring the Antarctica Peninsula from the brand new Ocean Victory with splendid cabins and excellent food.

This is the most affordable way to explore and experience Antarctica for 2 weeks with a group of like minded skiers and snowboarders. Quickly cross the formidable Drake Passage and then spend several days exploring the amazing Peninsula’s snow covered slopes, wildlife and ambiance. Ponder the complexity of the fragile and dynamic ecosystem of the Antarctic Peninsula while enjoying daily ski tours, lectures and wildlife excursions. Actively explore this skiing possibilities with family or friends. 

More information and some photos are at: https://www.kiwiskiguide.com/trips/antarctica/

Gulmarg 2024
I just can’t help myself. I’ll be returning to Kashmir late January for my 10th winter in Northern India. I just love the place. Every day is an adventure when at the start of the day you aren’t sure what the day will bring. But at the end of the day you always have some good turns in the mind-bank, a tired smile and legs in need of rest and good food.

Gulmarg is Kashmir’s unique ski area. It’s big mountain nirvana, skiing massive gondola assisted back country runs, deep powder, superb trees or wide open alpine slopes, Kashmiri culture, great food and when it’s snowing, some exquisite touring in the trees. It’s a powder skiing paradise and there’s never the need to do nothing, unless you are tired of course.

More information and some photos are at: https://www.kiwiskiguide.com/trips/gulmarg-ski-snowboard-touring/

New Zealand 2024
It’s a long way out, but worth reaching out around the middle of this year to book your charters for July to September 2024. The popularity of NZ heli-skiing continues to flourish and there is a very limited supply of guides and helicopters. So reach out early if you wish to book in some epic kiwi heli-skiing……

What Could Possibly Go Wrong?
My book has been going extremely well with loads of very positive humbling feedback. I’ve launched it in Kindle now and have done a second print run. Check it out here: https://whatcouldpossiblygowrong.nz/ or on Kindle here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/0473592908?ref_=pe_3052080_397514860%20

A couple of comments I’ve received recently:
I just finished your book!!! Absolutely one of the most incredibly inspiring, nerve rattling, hard to put down books I have ever read!  Josh Newbury, Otago, NZ.

Hi Mark, I just got round to reading your book… Fantastic! Up there with Bonnington and Ed Hillary for ease of reading and armchair thrills… Ken Hardman, UK.

That’s enough for this Newsletter. Thanks for reading. If you are in NZ, I wish you an excellent winter and for others I hope to see you later in 2023 or 2024……

Fair winds,