Badminton hits new heights with game on Franz Josef Glacier

The game took place on Saturday.
The game took place on Saturday. Photo credit: Franz Josef Glacier Guides

It's not everyone who can boast to have played badminton on a glacier.

But following a game on Franz Josef during the weekend a select few players can now claim to have done just that.

The South Island glacier played host to a match on Saturday between South Westland Badminton Club and Lincoln, rival clubs that play each every second year.

Although normally meeting in more normal conditions, Graham Berry, one of the organisers, said this year the teams decided to meet in a middle ground between their home bases. The only issue: there just happened to be a glacier in the way.

Players from the teams arrived on the glacier by helicopter and then donned crampons for a brief walk before abseiling down to the custom-made court.

Badminton hits new heights with game on Franz Josef Glacier
Photo credit: Franz Josef Glacier Guides

Berry says none of it could have happened without help from the Franz Josef Glacier Guides.

"The glacier guides were amazing for us. They spent a bit of time making the ice a wee bit level and just making it very spectacular," says Berry. "We were all blown away by the amount of work they did and the stunning aspect of it all."

The one-of-a-kind court meant the players needed to change their style up a bit.

"You couldn't do any dive shots, that's for sure. It was pretty much just standing in one spot. A couple of us were harnessed down onto the ice because there are some crevices right around us. There wasn't much movement going on."

The game was also filmed and a short video will be made to promote the badminton World Junior Championships which will be held in Auckland next year. 

Berry says he hopes the stunt will help "to promote badminton, to promote our beautiful area down here" and will encourage "people to travel, and show that it's not just Auckland and major cities that play badminton."

Berry says credits the experience to "a bit of Kiwi ingenuity" but says there are no plans for a repeat. 

"It's just starting to kick in now what we actually did."