From skiing in Antarctica to private skiing on a high country sheep station. Mark Daffey reveals the coolest ski and snowboard experiences south of the equator.

A private ski field in New Zealand

Photo supplied.

There’s not a single groomed trail and just one nutcracker-style rope tow that’s powered by an old farm tractor at The Invincible Snow Fields – located deep in the Southern Alps near Glenorchy, on a private high country sheep station accessed only via helicopter.

It’s run like an old-fashioned club resort, targeting advanced skiers and boarders searching for backcountry chutes and gullies across 900 hectares. The only accommodation is a 10-person hut equipped with a wood fire, gas stove and solar power.

Guests are limited to six at a time on four-day stays.

Cat ski the Andes

You’ll need a four wheel drive to access Ski Arpa, Chile’s only snowcat skiing or boarding in the Andes Mountains. Annual snowfalls here, in the shadow of South America’s highest mountain, Aconcagua, average five metres deep. Two Pisten Bully Snowcats, each carrying 12 riders, will ferry you up the slopes of the Arpa and Honda Valleys in just 20 minutes.

At the top, there are no lifts, no groomed pistes, no restaurants and no accommodation. Just all-natural, thousand-metre descents across more than 4000 acres of freeriding bliss.

In the shadow of Aoraki

Imagine carving ribbons down New Zealand’s longest ski run, on its largest glacier, beneath its highest mountain. That’s after a breathtaking helicopter flight over the Aoraki-Mt Cook National Park. And before stopping en route to explore blue ice caves and serac canyons. Then doing it all again.

Sounds like an adventure for experts only, right? Wrong. If you can ski down a blue run, you can ski down the Tasman Glacier with Ski The Tasman. A day package includes guided skiing down two runs up to 10 kilometres long, three helicopter flights and a picnic lunch. Not suitable for snowboarders.

Thredbo Sunrise Sessions

Experience Thredbo Sunrise Sessions where a snowcat will ferry you to Australia’s highest lifted point in time for sunrise ahead of an on-mountain champagne breakfast at Eagles Nest restaurant. You’ll then get first tracks down the Supertrail – Australia’s longest run – before the lifts have opened.

Guests must be upper intermediate-level skiers or boarders. Sunrise Sessions run every Tuesday from July 25 to August 29.

Ski Antarctica

Ski, snowboard, trek or kayak the Antarctic Peninsula this October with Australia’s favourite ski guide, Bill Barker. Bills Trips has been offering polar cruises to the Frozen Continent since 2016. Itineraries are flexible and expert guides are trained to seek out the best snow conditions.

How many runs you do depends on how fit you are as the only way up is on foot. Some groups like to cut laps all day, others prefer to split their time between the various activities on offer or relax on the ship. And backcountry experience isn’t required. If you can ski or board down an easy black run, you can do it here.

Ski/board by ATV and snow mobile in Argentina

Mallin Alto in Argentina’s Patagonia region boasts 6000 thousand hectares of skiable terrain accessed by ATVs and snow mobiles for “cat skiing” with a difference. With features across ten valleys to suit every level of off-piste skier and boarder. Bed down in custom built glamping dome accommodation, wake early for a full day skiing and then hit the mountain top hot tub before an abundant dinner.

A private cat ski mountain in New Zealand

Fancy a private backcountry mountain with all the luxe bells and whistles? Soho Basin offers 177 hectares of skiable terrain from the crew behind the award winning Amisfield dining and winery. You and six or more friends will have a private cat for the day to ski and board as little or as much as you would like. You’ll dine in a private hut on Amisfield fare with matching wines before more skiing followed by après ski.

You can even fly in and out by helicopter should your wallet desire. Season runs from July 24 to October 1 2023.

This article first featured in our 84 page FREE e-mag. Download The Southern Issue here.
Why Thredbo ski resort in Australia is having a renaissance