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FOX & FRANZ JOSEPH GLACIER SKI TOUR

Epic views and long downhill glacier ski runs. NZ’s most spectacular glacier skiing destination.

The Fox Glacier & Franz Joseph glacier alpine ski touring & snowboarding trips are based from the high mountain huts on the west coast glacier neves – Pioneer Hut, Centennial Hut, Almer Hut. All three of these huts offer incredible glacier skiing with views all the way to the ocean.

The high neves of the Fox and Franz Joseph Glaciers offer a variety of skiing for all levels. For intermediate skiers there are spectacular gentle neve runs, for stronger skiers there is the option of finding steep skiing. It is possible to ski off the summits of the mountains at the head of the Fox and Franz when conditions are right. We can start the trip at Centennial hut or Pioneer hut depending on your goals for the trip. A ski traverse of the Fox and Franz Joseph Glaciers is also possible. 

On the final day we usually ski down the Fox Glacier to Chancellor Hut. This is a spectacular and classic glacial ski run underneath some of New Zealand’s highest mountains.  

We use a helicopter to access the high mountain huts. Flying in enables us to bring in a good supply of food so we can enjoy relaxing with a good meal after a big day of riding. 

There is  a variety of skiing for all levels. For intermediate skiers there are spectacular gentle neve runs, for stronger skiers there is the option of finding steep skiing. For experts there are many ski mountaineering objectives.

 

LOCATION

Westland National Park

MEETING POINT & TIME

The Queenstown Mountain Guides office is located at Unit 403, 875 Frankton Rd in Queenstown. Please meet at our office at 7.30am on the first morning of the trip.

TRIP DURATION

4 to 10 days

ITINERARY

Note that this itinerary is a sample only. Your final itinerary is subject to weather and other conditions.

On the first day of the trip we will meet at 7.30am. Before we depart we will do an equipment check to make sure that you have everything you need for the mountains. It takes approximately 4 hours to drive to the town of Fox Glacier.

Once at Fox Glacier we will do a helicopter  safety briefing before we fly into the mountains. After establishing ourselves at the hut we will go for an afternoon ski tour. Please note due to mountain weather we cannot always fly in on the first day.

Each day depending on the weather and the snow conditions we will be touring around the glaciers and mountains making the most of the skiing. Our trips are customised to suit your experience, goals and fitness. You are welcome to ski as much or as little as you like. It is normal to do about 4 climbs and downhill ski runs exploring the glacier and backcountry.

On the final day we will ski down to Chancellor Hut on the lower Fox glacier before being picked up and flown back to the town of Fox Glacier. We would normally be back in Queenstown by 5.00pm.

FOX & FRANZ JOSEPH GLACIER SKI TOUR

1 to 4 people
6 days
From $3,400
July to October

PRIVATE TRIPS

People1234
4 days$4,890$2,790$2,150$1,800
5 days$5,890$3,400$2,650$2,200
6 days$6,950$4,000$3,100$2,600
7 days$7,950$4,600$3,550$3,000

INCLUSIONS

  • Guide fees
  • Technical equipment hire
  • Hut fees
  • Meals and snacks
  • Ground transport
  • Group equipment

EXCLUSIONS

  • Personal equipment & clothing
  • Ski touring/split boarding equipment
  • Aircraft access & egress fees
  • Accomodation in Queenstown & Wanaka

    TRIP NOTES

    Experience required
    For this trip the minimum requirement is that you are a strong intermediate skier with off-piste skiing experience. There is a variety of terrain for intermediates through to very strong skiers looking for steep skiing. It is possible to ski off some of New Zealand’s 3000m peaks when the conditions are right.
    Clothing & equipment

    Skiing & climbing in the New Zealand mountains requires that you have high quality equipment and clothing due to the extremes of weather we experience. Please ensure you look carefully at our equipment checklist. At the start of the trip your guide will go through your equipment and make sure that you have everything that you need for the trip. Please organise to have your extra equipment stored at your accomodation for the duration of the trip.

    It is important that you keep as close as possible to the equipment checklist. The focus is on ensuring that you have the equipment you need, but also on keeping your pack as light as possible. If your guide is meeting you at your accomodation for the start of the trip it would be helpful if you have all your equipment and clothing organised and laid out in a logical fashion so they can check that everyone has the right equipment and clothing for the trip.

    Ski touring equipment and split boards can be hired from Small Planet Outdoors, 17 Shotover St, Queenstown. For snowboarders Queenstown Mountain Guides rents snow shoes for $25 per day that can be used as an alternative to a split board setup.

    Accomodation during the trip

    In the mountains you will stay in mountains huts. These dormitory style huts are cosy and provide good shelter form the elements, they are all located in spectacular locations, but they are also basic. The huts have water, cooking facilities, a mountain radio, and a bunk area with individual mattresses. There are no showers or electrical sockets for recharging.

    On some trips to remote areas we use expedition style tent camps. If this is your preferred option please let us know.

    For overnights in Mt Cook village, we will stay in the New Zealand Alpine Club huts. These dormitory style huts have shared bathroom facilities.

    Accomodation in Queenstown & Wanaka is not included in the trip costs. Staying in Queenstown or Wanaka may happen if you are delayed entering the mountains or exit early because of the weather. Being based in Queenstown during poor weather in the high mountains will enable us to use the Remarkables mountain range as often this is sheltered from the worst of the Southern Alps weather.

    To organise accomodation in Queenstown, we recommend www.booking.com. Here you will find a wide range of accomodation depending on your preferred style and budget. The cost of accomodation in Queenstown is not included in your trip costs.

    Daily trip logistics

    Every day in the mountains is different with changing weather, snowpack, and access conditions. When you book your trip with Queenstown Mountain Guides we will discuss your goals for the trip and the general plan. When you meet with your guide on the first morning of your trip your guide will discuss with you the weather forecast and current conditions and make a final plan for the trip. It is best to be flexible so we can ensure that you will make the most of your time with us.

    At the start of the trip we will fly into the mountains at the first possible opportunity.

    Each day in the mountains will typically start at 7.00am. On some days we may start earlier, for example if we have a serious ski mountaineering objective that requires an early start.

    On any poor weather days it is possible to learn skills inside the hut – for example crevasse rescue, navigation, weather theory, avalanche awareness.

    On the final day of the trip we will aim to have you back in Queenstown by approximately 5.00pm.

    Aircraft access & egress

    The flight into and out of the mountains is not included in the trip cost. Our goal is to minimise the cost of the flight out by sharing the cost of flights with other climbing and skiing parties when possible.

    The below costs include GST and are the total price of the helicopter and this cost will be divided by the number of clients in the helicopter. For example Plateau hut 2 clients plus guide the cost would be $535 per client for a drop off.

    *All prices are subject to availability and occasional change by aircraft operators.

    Mt Cook Region.

    Plateau Hut: $1,070. Max 5 passengers.

    Upper Tasman Glacier – Kelman Hut & Tasman Saddle Hut: $1,430. Max 5 passengers.

    Lower Tasman Glacier Pickup: $1,070. Max 5 passengers.

    Fox Glacier Region.

    Upper Fox & Franz Joseph Glaciers Drop Off – Pioneer & Centennial Hut: $1,050. Max 4 passengers.

    Upper Fox & Franz Joseph Glaciers Drop Off – Pioneer & Centennial Hut: $770. Max 3 passengers.

    Lower Fox Glacier Pickup – Chancellor Hut: $575. Max 4 passengers.

    Lower Fox Glacier Pickup – Chancellor Hut:  $420. Max 3 passengers.

    Mt Aspiring Region.

    Mt Aspiring – Bevan Col: $1,250. Max 5 passengers.

    Fiordland Region.

    Mitre Peak Fiordland: $950. Max 5 passengers.

    Turners Bivy – Darran Mountains: $1,430. Max 5 passengers.

    Guide to participant ratios

    The maximum guide to participant ratio that we ski guide in glaciated at is 1 guide to 4 participants. 

    centennial hut franz joseph glacier
    Skiing on the Fox Glacier
    Skiing off Graham saddle
    Climbing to Chancellor hut from the trough lower fox glacier

    My wife and I just finished a 5-day ski touring trip on the Fox Glacier with Mike and QMG and absolutely loved it. Mike worked diligently to coordinate the location of the trip, helicopters, and huts to make sure we got the most out of our 5 day trip on the Glacier. We had lots of fresh and tasty food including bacon and eggs every morning, fruit, Thai curry, pad Thai, and Mexican. The daily ski tours were awesome and included skiing and climbing various summits and high cols. Mike genuinely wanted us to have a great and safe experience and took the time to explain and teach us about the intricacies of skiing and climbing in NZ. All that said, it felt like Mike was not only our guide for the 5-day trip, but our guide for our entire trip to New Zealand. He offered us suggestions on more skiing and hiking in NZ after our Fox Glacier trip, and even had some topo maps and weather reports printed off for us to go by. Special thanks to Mike and Marina for the great bed and breakfast after the trip as well! 5 stars. We highly recommend Queenstown Mountain Guides. 

    C Beyer, Canada