Canterbury club fields for snow sports
New Zealand's Southern Alps are home to many 'club fields' - private patches of mountain managed and run by ski clubs. These 'private' fields are open to all skiers.
Snow conditions and terrain vary enormously, but there are some great hidden spots for the more adventurous to explore - particularly in the vast Canterbury region.
Many of club fields offer on-field accommodation, and well-priced all inclusive packages.
Mt Lyford Alpine Resort
Mt Lyford ski area - 140km north of Christchurch - offers a cafe, four pomas, one learner and one advanced tow, plus four snow groomers. Mt Lyford village has accommodation. The access road is a 10km gravel road that passes through beech forest and into alpine terrain.
Waiau - nearest town - 26km
Christchurch - nearest airport - 146km
ski season opens early June / closes mid-October
Hanmer Springs Ski Area
Hanmer Springs is a small club field with a relaxed atmosphere that's well suited to intermediate /advanced skiers and snowboarders. It offers open spaces with groomed trails, away from the queues of commercial ski fields. The access road goes to the day lodge, and is usually negotiable by 4WD vehicles but all vehicles should carry chains.
Hanmer Springs - nearest town - 24km
Christchurch - nearest airport - 149km
ski season opens early July / closes mid-September
Alpure Peaks Snowcat
Alpure Peaks offers skiers and snowboarders the chance to experience New Zealand's Southern Alps in a truly unique fashion. A modified snowcat transports a maximum of 10 clients per day on a full day of unforgettable runs on 2600ha of alpine terrain. Alpure Peaks is 10 mins off the main route from Christchurch to Queenstown.
Fox Peak Ski Area
Fox Peak is a sunny private field in the Two Thumb Range. Facilities include a free beginners tow, three rope tows, and heli-skiing. The 650m of downhill skiing iincludes groomed and ungroomed slopes. Hire equipment is available in Fairlie. Casual skiing is available by arrangement with Fox Peak Ski Club.
Mount Dobson Ski Area
Mount Dobson - owned and operated by the Foote family - is committed to being the friendliest ski area in New Zealand. With regular snowfalls on peaks and wide open slopes, Mount Dobson offers good skiing and snowboarding conditions for families, beginners and intermediates. Higher up there is smooth powder to challenge the best skiers and snowboarders. On field facilities include a triple chair, platter lift, fix grip, ski and snowboard rental. The ski field is easily accessed by road, and there is a weekend shuttle service from the car park.
Ohau Ski Area
Ohau Ski Area is halfway between Christchurch and Queenstown, and includes a 10km unsealed road to the carpark. The lower slopes and Boulevard trail, running the length of the ski field, offer ample terrain for beginners, on an otherwise steeper field. The 1033m T-bar accesses a variety of terrain from wide open intermediate slopes to extreme chutes. Lake Ohau Lodge, on the shores of Lake Ohau, is at the base of the access road.
- Twizel - nearest town
- Queenstown - nearest airport
- ski season opens early July / closes mid October
Roundhill Ski Area
Roundhill Ski Field, in the heart of the Mackenzie Country, has beautiful views of Mt Cook, Lake Tekapo and the Mackenzie basin. The main lift - a Garaventa T-Bar - is New Zealand's longest at 1.2km with 255m of vertical, but the learner platter lift is on a wide gentle slope.
Tekapo - nearest town - 7km
Tekapo - nearest airport - 8km
ski season opens weekends early July / closes late September
Cheeseman Ski Area
Cheeseman Ski Field lies in a sunny protected basin with groomed piste for beginner and intermediate skiers on one side, and the ungroomed slopes of Mt Cockayne and Powder Valley for skiing and snowboarding. Facilities include T-bar lifts, and the Club offers extensive modern facilities. Access is by unsealed road through beech forest into alpine terrain.
- Springfield - nearest town - 41km
- Christchurch - nearest airport - 112km
- ski season opens early July / closes late September
Broken River Ski Area
Broken River Ski Field, in an exhilarating back country setting, has on-field lodge accommodation, ski school and night skiing options when conditions permit. From the carpark, there's a pleasant 15 - 20 minute walk through beech forest to access accommodation and the rope tows, plus a goods lift to transport material.
Temple Basin Ski Area
Temple Basin Ski Area, on the main divide in Arthur's Pass National Park, enjoys prevailing north-west weather that brings plenty of snow. It's on the world extreme skiing circuit and has been voted #1 snowboarding area for its terrain, atmosphere and attitude. Facilities include three rope tows, a fixed grip tow for beginners, floodlit night skiing, equipment hire, and ski school. Two modern lodges beside the tows offer bunk-room accommodation. From the carpark, there is a 50-minute walk to the ski field and a goods lift.
Arthur's Pass - nearest town - 8km
Christchurch airport - 163km
ski season opens late June / closes mid October
Mount Olympus Ski Field
Mt Olympus - on a south-facing slope on the back of the Craigieburn range - has natural terrain that offers unbeatable skiing and snowboarding for all levels of winter sports enthusiasts. Facilities include rope tows, ski lodge accommodation and a great apres ski atmosphere at the local club.
- Methven - nearest town - 58km
- Christchurch airport - 125km
- ski season opens mid July / closes mid October
Craigieburn Valley Ski Area
Craigieburn Valley offers a superb range of skiing and snowboarding runs. Rope tows access the Siberia Basin and Hamilton Face, providing an advanced field with plenty of steeps and chutes. Facilities include a cosy alpine lodge with a bar. Access road is by 6km of unsealed road through beech forest, and a short walk from the car park to the lifts.
Springfield - nearest town -50km
Christchurch airport - 120km
ski season opens late June / closes late October
Porter Heights Ski Area
Porter Heights lifts run up two distinct valleys offering beginner terrain with two beginner tows, on-piste and off-piste for intermediate to advanced skiers and snowboarders. The off-piste is dominated by two faces - Big Mama and Bluff Face. At 620m, Big Mama has one of the largest vertical drops in one lift-accessed run in New Zealand.
- Springfield - nearest town - 35km
- Christchurch airport - 95km
- ski season opens mid June / closes mid October
Mount Potts Ski Area
Mount Potts - dubbed the new "spot x" by La Grave, caters to the most extreme snowboarders and skiers with a minimum age of 18. The mountain captures an average 11m of snow per season, and combines steep slopes with rock drops, wind-lips and chutes. Facilities include accommodation, and the Mt.Potts Cat which transports a group of up to 14 riders and skiers - gourmet lunch and avalanche transceiver supplied - to powder heaven.
These topics may also be of interest to you