BACKCOUNTRY KIWI INGENUITY

BACKCOUNTRY KIWI INGENUITY 2560 1707 The Flyer Magazine


BACKCOUNTRY KIWI INGENUITY

Snowmoto

Hamish Goodall is a Kiwi DIY guy who just happened to have a good idea…and now it’s paying off.

A super keen snowboarder, Hamish was getting some air enjoying a long season in Canada a few years back when he spent a day out snow biking with his mates. It was too much fun. From then on the Manawatu farm-raised mechanic was on a mission to get the converted dirt bikes – jokingly referred to as a “Harley cross with a jetski”, onto Kiwi slopes back home.

“They’re trail bikes with the wheels taken off, a ski in place of the front wheel and snowmobile-type tracks in place of the back wheel,” says Hamish.

He moved back to New Zealand in 2018 and has since set up an automotive workshop with a mate in Cromwell.

In early 2018 he’d identified the best site in the lower South Island to launch snow bikes as the latest adventure tourism attraction. “I thought I’d give it a crack,” he says. Hamish bought topography maps and mapped out the lower South Island in search of the best area to set up his Snowmoto operation. “Then I went door knocking.”

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In 2019 he launched the activity in the Hector Ranges on Kingston Station, south of Queenstown.

Hamish is not only a dab hand with an engine, he converted his eight bikes himself. The tracks were built in a factory in Canada. They reach around 85km per hour on the snow and while it’s handy for riders to have some motorbike experience Hamish says they’re quite safe. Snowmoto operates on a 1214ha (3000-acre), average one metre, sometimes two-metre deep, snow playground. His riders, who range from 15 to their late 60s, have been getting some good air on their snow bikes, leaping as high as one to two metres, depending on speed. The scenery is second to none and most of his customers have always been Kiwis.

Most seasons he’s taken several hundred customers for a cruise, some half day, some full day, and others keen for overnight expeditions in the backcountry huts on the Range. Some recent national publicity had Hamish’s phone running hot.

Pretty much a one-man band Hamish is Snowmoto owner, director, mechanic, administrator and cook all in one. Like any good Kiwi bloke he’s pretty ace on the barbie, turning out great burgers, sausages or venison sandwiches for lunch, when required. And you guessed it, Hamish even shoots the deer himself.

All in a day’s work for this hardworking Kiwi, who’s pumping out 12 to 13-hour days, seven days a week, but oh, what a workplace!