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NZ’s most stunning campground? Tents pitched on frozen lake, 1800m above sea level


The country’s most stunning campground has popped up in Queenstown – but it's not ground, but a frozen lake.

Mike Thorpe spent the night on Lake Alta, on the heights of The Remarkables. Source: Seven Sharp

Seven Sharp reporter Mike Thorpe spent the night camping on Lake Alta, on the upper deck of The Remarkables, which sits 1800 metres above sea level.

The North Face's Lindsay Peak says, "There's at least three foot of solid ice, I think, so we're pretty good".

However, spending a night camping out on Lake Alta is only an entree – the morning after is the main course.

The North Face Frontier 4 Star, located on The Remarkables, is a proving ground for freeride skiers and is part of the New Zealand Winter Games.

Sam Smoothy, who has been down The Remarkables' slopes for years, is one of the country's finest freeride skiers.

"I'm predicting it's going to be true blue blood and guts Kiwi freeride. There's going to be some massive crashes, some incredibly risky manoeuvres and I'm more geed up than a man with a ferret down his pants," Mr Smoothy said.

The skier described his job as "a really limited niche", saying, "I just stand still and abuse people falling down mountains - that's my job title now".

There are no second chances while freeskiing, with competitors getting just one run to get it right.

"You don't get to ski it, you don't get to practice it, you look from the bottom and you've got to judge where that level is today and make smart decisions based on the conditions and put it all on," he said.

“It's a big roll of the dice and it's incredibly impressive when you pull it off."