Sledding Venues

Venues for sledding are somewhat limited because of land tenure issues. Most of the best suited sites come under Department of Conservation authority. In rare cases such as the Waiorau Snow Farm, freehold land is involved which means a straight forward request to the land owner NZ's mushing fraternity owe a huge 'debt of gratitude' to John & Mary Lee of the Waiorau Snow Farm for the way they continue to allow access. Where a ski field is located on Crown Land they usually operate under a recreation lease. Under the general conditions of recreational leases dogs are not permitted on to these areas. It is possible (and has been done) to gain access on to these areas. Once an approach has been made to the ski field operators and you have an amiable agreement to hold an event then an application goes to the regional DOC office. The DOC staff then have their protocol to work through but the main necessity is for the RGO to be persistent and not give in. It is essential that you be polite and smile while remaining persistent.

Most of the snow race venues used in NZ so far, have generally had very good access which is good. However to get more venues to offer a better variety of races, mushers may need to consider the usage of other means to gain access to snowfields. Although very costly this may mean using either helicopter or fixed wing.

Other than the back roads, parks, etc., which are used when heavy snowfalls, the following locations are known to have been used by mushers for dog sledding; Mt Lyford Ski field;

Mr Dobson Ski field; Tasman Glacier (by Antarctic Programme);NZ Waiorau Snow Farm; Cardrona Ski field; Remarkables Ski field; Coronet Peak Ski fields; Old Man Range.

There are possibly other places but the three most suitable 'sites' NZ has could be the Tasman Glacier, Waiorau Snow Farm, and the Old Man Range. Ease of access means the Waiorau Snow Farm has been, and still is the most used venue. The Tasman Glacier by virtue of it being in the National Park is considered "out of bounds". (Persistence!).