Discover local legend Will J's Wanaka

Born and bred local, Will Jackways was one of the first to pave the way for pro snowboarders in this region. Now he's back to raise a family and show people the very best of his home mountains. This is Will J's Wanaka.


Tell us a little about yourself

I’m Will Jackways, 36 years old and have called Wanaka home now for 30 years.

I come from a snow background, where I’ve been fortunate enough to have traveled the world. I've chased winters for the last eighteen years as a professional snowboarder.

What do you do now?

I live here in Luggate with my wife and kids and help run our  business - Explore Wanaka 

At Explore Wanaka, we offer a range of experiences like guided snow trips, both here and in Hokkaido Japan as well as golfing tours, based in the Southern Lakes region. We also do planning, logistics and coordinating for production crews and brands that are visiting to shoot.

Why did you start Explore Wanaka?

I think the main reason we started Explore Wanaka was because of our passion and knowledge for the area and the desire to create a lifestyle doing something we truly love and want to continue to be passionate about.

From our time spent as professional athletes and what we learned, we really wanted to share that knowledge and those experiences we've had with others wanting that same feeling of fulfillment . 

Also having grown up in this area, I felt that it was valuable and a great advantage to have. The business we have created is about having local knowledge which is really hard to beat in this day and age! 

What is the best piece of advice when planning a winter/ski holiday?

I'm not sure if it even falls under planning, but my advice on any winter vacation or holiday in general is just to go with the right attitude and open mindset.

Enjoy the experience of being away and embrace the local way of doing things, meet people, explore, don’t be afraid to try something new.

Whenever I travel, I always try to keep my expectations low so that I always exceed them no matter what.