You can’t go to New Zealand and not visit these wonderful ski snowboard, and hike destinations. From family oriented ski trips to advanced and competitive training, NZ’s commercial ski areas are known for their world class appeal infused with the extremely unique Kiwi experience.
Frills or thrills, these are the ski resorts you shouldn’t miss. Here’s Whiteroom Tours’ very own pick of the top 5 New Zealand ski holiday destinations.
If you’re the adventurous type, a trip in Craigieburn is something you shouldn’t delay. Known for being one of NZ’s most challenging ski fields, Craigieburn ski terrain varies from steep narrow chutes to wide open powder bowls. You will not find frills here. Craigieburn is reserved for hardcore ski enthusiasts and powderhounds.
As well as being one of the cheapest, it is also privately owned so if you’re looking for Kiwi Authentic, this is the destination you should book.
If you’re an adventurous skier or snowbaorder, a trip in Craigieburn is a must. Known for being one of NZ’s most challenging ski fields, Craigieburn has some of the best terrain, from steep narrow chutes to wide open bowls. With no beginner terrain, no ski rental and no groomers, you come here for the true essence of skiing & boarding, its more of a fuller serviced backcountry experience.
Run by the non profit Cragieburn Valley ski club, with accommodation on the hill you can share your stories after a big day with all the other powder addicts.
Just over one hour away from Christchurch, Mt. Hutt is a favourite destination for skiing and snowboarding, as well as for those who are fond of hiking. It is New Zealand’s largest ski area with some of the best natural snow in the country. It has an altitude of 2086 metres and a skiable area of 365 hectares.
Mt. Hutt is open for both beginner and advanced skiers and snowboarders. Rookies are catered into the Mini park with wide and groomed runs, while the experts and athletes are free to hit the terrain park and international race arena.
Voted New Zealands best ski resort at the 2015 World Ski Awards, Mt Hutt is a close 1.5hr drive from Christchurch Airport. With a covered magic carpet, high speed triple, quad and six seater chair lifts, Mt Hutt has terrain for all ski and snowboard abilities. The locals choice for conveinince and capacity, Hutt has 365 hectares of skiable area, a great ski school, 4 terrain parks and the 2km long ‘International’ run.
With Hubers Hut espresso bar and and Sky High Café, you wont be going hungry after all of those long laps around the large resort. Stay overnight in the town of Methven to get the full Mt Hutt experience.
The hidden gem, Lake Ohau is a fun little NZ ski area known for its off-piste terrain. The Ohau ski field is quite interesting with lots of rocks to huck off and different nooks and crannies in which to play.
There are two dedicated areas for beginners. Intermediate skiers may hit the groomed runs or, if you feel like challenging yourself, you can test Ohau’s various off-piste runs. Advanced riders can hit the fringes of the ski area.
The hidden gem, Lake Ohau is a great NZ ski area known for its off-piste terrain from a short ridge hike, a good little park and spectacular Mt Cook views, but most omportantly the best ski field vibe in the country. The Ohau ski field is a family run resort with great food, consistent snow and amazing atmsophere, its so good the US ski team train here.
There is some great hiking around the tops for the more adventurous accessing the best powder snow and the views from there are really magnificent and definitely worth the effort.
At the end of a great day in the mountains, there is nothing better than knowing you’re only 20 minutes from a hot spa with a gluhwein in your hand or a cold beer in the bar. You will leave relaxed and revived!
The perfect fit for a novice! Porters (formerly known as Porter Heights) is known for their groomed runs, snow-making, chair lift and a little terrain park. If you’re looking for frills, this is a destination to top your list. Don’t be surprised if you find it a little crowded during peak season as Porters is merely 230 hectares.
Like in many New Zealand ski spots, there’s no static average snowfall per season at Porters. The snow quality varies as well. While most powder days here are awesome, there will be days when snow can quickly turn to slop, crust, ice or worse, disappear into patches.
Porters is also renowned for “Big Mama” (long runs) thanks to its 680 metre vertical drop.
A long time favourite of Christchurch residents and a recent chairlift upgrade, Porters is a perfect fit for novices through to the advanced. Long groomed runs, snowmaking and a terrain park, Porters has something for everyone. Great facilities with families and convienience in mind Portes easily caters with its 230 hectares and short access road.
Big Mama boasts a leg burning 680m vertical drop and Porters also gives access to some amazing backcountry and stunning views to Lake Coleridge and Mt Olympus from the top ridge. A long powder run awaits those that put in the effort.
If you’re keen to bring in the whole family to your ski holiday trip, Mt. Cheeseman is probably the most affordable option you have in NZ. Mt. Cheeseman is a New Zealand club field but unlike other Canterbury club fields, Cheeseman lifts are T-bars instead of nutcracker ropetows.
Mt. Cheeseman is sort of like a ‘tame’ ski area for families and beginners. But if you’re planning to sneak in a little adventure and challenge yourself, Craigieburn, Broken River, and Mt. Olympus are just a couple of hours drive away.
Cheeseman is located on the Alpine Highway in between Porters and Broken River, not far form Castle Hill Village and only 90mins from Christchurch. With T bars to get tp the top a nice café with wrap around decks, the licenced Cockayne Café has gear for hire and plenty of storage and tables for a picnic with the family. Mt Cheeseman has some of the best beginner and intermediate terrian coupled with great value and uncrowded sunny slopes.