Most of the Canterbury Ski Fields are within a half an hour to an hour drive from River Retreat with Mt Hutt being the closest. Below is a list and descriptions of the local fields, although we try to keep this up to date we recommend you visit their respective websites. You can check out the latest snow reports at Canterbury Snow Watch Facebook page here https://www.facebook.com/CanterburySnowWatch or you can visit our onsite weather station for conditions at Coalgate here.
A vast mountain with 472 hectares of diverse terrain, Mt Hutt offers a challenging and exciting snow experience. Mt Hutt’s lift and trail system, recently redeveloped, has made it a candidate for possibly one of the best lift and terrain mixes in the South Island. Mt Hutt has also seen the addition of more snowmaking, base building development and a new mini terrain park for beginners and novices. Mt Hutt offers all levels of skier and rider and awesome winter experience. Trails, off-piste, terrain parks and halfpipe are accessed by a six seater express chairlift, and express quad chair, a triple chair and a 140m long surface conveyer lift. Each winter, there is the opportunity to watch many of the world’s best ski racers who come downunder for training.
Porters Ski area
With a top elevation of 2000 metres, Porters is endowed with regular natural snow from both southerly and westerly weather patterns providing some of the best snow conditions for skiers and boarders. It is the closest ski area to Christchurch. Just 89km from the airport and around a one hour drive from Christchurch. The road to the field off Sh73 has a good surface and is easy driving at most times of the year. The fields new 4.5 million quad chairlift can carry up to 2000 people and hour and the field’s base facilities have also received an upgrade for the 2015 season.
Run by the Windwhistle winter sports club Mt Olympus is set deep in the Ryton Valley, 45km from Windwhistle. Its back-country setting gives it a real rugged feel. The ski area is a wide open south facing bowl which captures some of the best southerly powder in Canterbury. Situated halfway up the mountain, the recently renovated Top Hut Lodge and beginner’s slope is reached via an access tow. The beginner’s area is safe and close to the shelter of th eldoge. The rest of the mountain is suitable for intermediate and advanced skiers and boarders. Or try a bit of Curling.
Craigieburn has achieved cult status among some of the country’s hottest skiers. Three high capacity rope tows service a vertical rise of 500 metres. Terrain at Craigieburn Valley is varied and challenging with the infamous 600m vertical descent of Middle Basin accessible by a short traverse from the tow. Craigieburn is situated only 1 ½ hours from Christchurch on highway 73. The 6km road up to the ski field is accessible to all motor vehicles except camper vans. It is essential all vehicles carry chains though these are general only required by two wheel drives. On the field up to 65 people can be accommodated in the lodge which features 6 person bunkrooms and private double rooms.
Temple Basin ski area is 4km west of Arthur’s Pass in the middle of New Zealand’s most spectacular national parks. To reach the field is a 40 to 60 minute walk (a goods life is provided). Temple Basin is a club field with onfield accommodation in two lodges with terrain which covers everything from beginners to daredevil stuff. Brilliant upper slopes, ski touring, snowboarding and the sunny aspect means Temple Basin can have great snow when other South Island ski areas are barely covered. Temple Basin is one of the top snowboard areas in New Zealand and was voted the country’s top snowboard area by a NZ Snowboard Association/NZ Skiing Times survey.
Mt Cheeseman is the second ski area along the Craigieburn Range and boasts a sunny northeast basin with open rolling terrain. With great beginner and intermediate slopes, Mt Cheeseman is perfect for learners and families. Two T Bars give easy access to well-groomed gentle terrain with the learners to located right beside the main lodge. Mt Cockayne offers great off-piste conditions and the face holds snow well. If you are keen on a taste of backcountry, it is little effort to drop into Tarn Basin to get some fresh lines.
Broken River is regarded as one of New Zealand’s premier boutique club fields. Maintained by club members, it provides an inviting and friendly atmosphere mixed with some amazing soft-snow conditions. The terrain is suitable for everyone with a dedicated learner’s area in front of Palmers Lodge. Broken River is a destination fro adventurous snowboarders with powder-filled bowls, natural drop-offs and lips to keep them challenged all day. It also offers some of the most highly rated backcountry skiing available in the Canterbury region. More experienced skiers should take advantage of the rolling terrain in the bowls of Broken River and Allan’s Basin for some incredible off-piste, patrolled skiing