…And some of the great and small ski club fields of Canterbury are near Christchurch. Let’s get that ski gear out and let’s hit the slopes!
Why club fields you ask? Because it is cheaper and less crowded! For some rides you might even have the whole slope for yourself. The ski fields are appropriate for intermediate and advanced skiers and boarders. They might be a bit challenging for beginners, however. That is because they all use the simple type of ski lift transport called the nutcrackers. If you haven’t used a nutcracker before, we can tell you from personal experience that it can be done for sure. However it will be good exercise for your hands, as you will have to hold on tight. But hey, that just makes it a full body workout. While you are working your legs as you ski down, you will also be doing some work on your hands as you come back up. Club ski fields are about 2 hours drive from Christchurch, seated in the Southern Alps. The drive is super beautiful and scenic, which makes it time well spent.
Here is a list of three ski club fields that we would suggest you to check out:
If you are a beginner and would like to experience what club fields have to offer, we would recommend to head on to Mt. Cheeseman. It is the closest ski field to Christchurch, only being 99km away. The ski area promotes a fun, family environment with terrain catering to all abilities. This means that it is a good place to learn how to ski. It also offers a learners’ area.
Temple Basin, in Arthur’s Pass, is well known for its distinctive ambience. Where other ski fields have a car park, you cannot access this ski area with a car. Instead, you walk the last 800 meters. At the car park you can send your ski gear up by the goods lift (see photo) and you follow by walking for the next 45 minutes to an hour. The sporty types can do it in under 30 minutes, so there is your first challenge of the day. If there’s snow to low levels it’s best to phone the office for an update, as crampons may be an advantage. Generally hiking boots or running shoes with an aggressive sole are suitable footwear for the track.
At Temple Basin you will find steep and rocky terrain. If you are an average skier there is no need to worry, there is plenty of intermediate terrain. If you are a bit more advanced, this is the place to go to. There is a great variety of intermediate and advanced terrain. There are no groomed slopes, as the Temple Basin is all about the alpine experience.
For backcountry lovers we would recommend Mt Olympus. Just as the Temple Basin, this ski field is groomer-free. This ski field is all about what nature has to offer and that can be plenty we can tell you. After a storm, it is not uncommon for the field to have more than a foot of fresh, dry snow. This can be quite a unique experience in New Zealand. Because there are not a lot of skiers in this area, the snow stays fresh and offers a good slope at all times.