SPACE CAMP

Adventure, Landscapes, Mountains, Photography, Skiing

SPACE (noun) 1. the unlimited three-dimensional expanse in which all objects exist, 2. a blank portion or area, 3. the region beyond the earth’s atmosphere containing other planets, stars, and galaxies; the universe.

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.

The futuristic geodesic domes – which resemble an igloo and/or spaceman’s helmet – seem to defy space like Dr Who’s TARDIS*, and at an altitude of 1600m provide a superb base for ski-touring in the vast expanse of the McKerrow Range.

Joining a visiting Australian journalist, I was privileged to get a first taste of the new ski-touring experience, oh, and those all important First Tracks.

Thanks again Guy & Suze!

Time and Relative Dimension in Space.

Helicopter take off over the Southern Alps near Wanaka, New Zealand

ROTOR WASH. An icy blast as the helicopter peels away after dropping us in the heart of a pristine alpine wilderness.

Ski-touring in the Southern Alps near Wanaka, New Zealand

THE McKERROW MARCH. Hiking up into the wilds of the McKerrow Range with our home for the night, the igloo-esque geodesic dome, to the right of frame.

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SUNSET BOULEVARD. The Southern Alps cast long shadows as we hike towards the mountain tops.

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SUNBURST. Spectacular back-country ski-touring conditions with great views of Lake Wanaka and Mount Aspiring.

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IN THE SPOTLIGHT. The last of the evening sun lights up the dome at the camp below (bottom left of the frame).

Ski-touring at sunset in the Southern Alps near Wanaka, New Zealand

SUNSET LAPS. Skiing at sunset in the shadow of Mount Aspiring.

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GOLDEN GLOW. Scoping fresh lines for the next morning as the sun drops behind the Southern Alps and Mt Aspiring.

Ski-touring camp at sunset in the Southern Alps near Wanaka, New Zealand

HOME SWEET DOME. The geodesic dome under the glow of the setting sun.

Ski-touring camp in the Southern Alps near Wanaka, New Zealand

CHEERS! Toasting the first group of visitors to stay at the dome. The domes are equipped with a full kitchen range (inc. extractor fan), solar powered LED lighting, log burner, tables, chairs, comfy bean bags and bunk beds with plush mattresses (no plastic coated DOC style mattresses here)! 

The milky way over a ski-touring camp in the Southern Alps near Wanaka, New Zealand

SPACE CAMP. To infinity and beyond!!….

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400 BILLION. That’s the estimated number of stars in the Milky Way, with a mere 100 billion (ish) planets. I wonder who’s out there taking photos of us?…..

Ski-touring camp in the Southern Alps near Wanaka, New Zealand

OLD FASHIONED STORY TELLING. Tall tales over a glass or two of pinot and single malt by the fireplace. Despite the down jackets and hats, once the log burner got cranking it was warm & cosy with the quilted double skin of the dome providimg great insulation. 

Panoramic sunrise over the Southern Alps near Wanaka, New Zealand

PASTEL PANORAMA. Sunrise over the Southern Alps.

Ski-touring camp at sunrise in the Southern Alps near Wanaka, New Zealand

IN THE PINK. Yet even on such a stunning morning, I was the only person outside taking photos at 6:30am…

Ski-touring camp at sunrise in the Southern Alps near Wanaka, New Zealand

FROSTY FOOTPRINTS. Solitude at sunrise… Everyone else was still in their sleeping bags!

Sunrise over Mount Aspiring in the Southern Alps near Wanaka, New Zealand

SUN KISSED. The summit of Mt Aspiring (3,033m) catches the morning’s first ray of sunlight.

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MORNING GLORY. Mount Aspiring and the Southern Alps at sunrise.

Camping breakfast

FIRST TRACKS….BUT FIRST BREAKFAST. Steaming hot coffee, bacon & eggs.

Ski touring in the Southern Alps, Wanaka New Zealand

LOADING ZONE. Loaded up with coffee, bacon & eggs, we load up for a day of ski-touring.

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LINED UP & READY TO DROP. First run of the day on a pristine blank canvas.

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FIRST TRACKS. Catchy name for a new ski-touring business perhaps?…

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VALLEY VIEW. Ripping down the valleys of the McKerrow Range.

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SPACE | THE FINAL FRONTIER. And freshies for days!…..

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EARNING TURNS. Climbing upward for another lap.

Ski touring camp in the Southern Alps, Wanaka New Zealand

LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION. The dome blends in with the snow and is quite hard to see…although I bet the local population of kea have spotted it! 

Backcountry skiing in the Southern Alps, Wanaka New Zealand

UPSIDE DOWN POWDER. Punching through a thin frost crust to the light, dry powder snow below.

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POWWWWW!

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BASE CAMP. Back at camp at the end of a sublime day of skiing in the back-country.

View of Lake Wanaka from a helicopter

HOME RUN. The short helicopter flight back to the cars with more stunning views over Lake Wanaka and Mt Aspiring.

Mountain reflections in Lake Hawea, New Zealand

REFLECTION PERFECTION. Lake Hawea at it’s mirror-like best on the return drive to Wanaka.

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DOUBLE VISION. Perfect reflections of Corner Peak in a glassy calm Lake Hawea.

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