What's Happening at the Chill Mountains?
Updated 24 September 2021
Rainbow - closing day 10 October
At the top of the South Island, the Nelson, Tasman and Marlborough regions are blessed with the Nelson Lakes National Park and Rainbow Ski Area. It’s a seriously fun and friendly ski area, with facilities to match a medium-sized commercial operation. There’s extensive snowmaking, a terrain park (with its own tow), 5 tows including a T-bar and Platter, with plenty of grooming. The terrain caters for beginners, intermediate and advanced.
Mt Lyford- Closed from 23 Sept
Located on State Highway 70, smack bang between Hanmer Springs and Kaikoura, Mt Lyford is a fun and friendly family operated ski area for all abilities. The upper slopes bask in sunshine and in recent years it’s consistently been the first to open. It’s an uncrowded mountain and a favourite of locals and Christchurch residents alike. A fleet of groomers keep the piste in great condition and wide open faces let you open up your riding on powder days.
Hanmer Springs Ski Area
Hanmer Springs Ski Area, formerly known as Amuri, is a small club ski area with a tonne of personality and terrain suitable for all abilities. A fun, affordable, grassroots experience where the focus is on who you're with and not how hot your gear is. Self-catered day lodge and awesome on-mountain accommodation.
"It is important to tell you this: If I had to stay in one area, in one mountain, in one place to snowboard for the rest of my life, it would be Temple Basin. It's that good....Yes, you have to hike into the area, but it's one of the most beautiful places to hike in the entire world...and yes, the place is not like a normal ski area - that is exactly the reason to go." Brad Steward. Transworld Snowboarding. March 1996.
Porters is a long-time favourite of Christchurch residents. There’s a chairlift and 3 consecutive T-bars to take you skyward with views to Lake Coleridge and Mt Olympus from the top.
Cheeseman- closing day 26 Sept
Cheeseman has a distinctive family friendly atmosphere as well as offering diverse terrain for all abilities and loads of great facilities. The main runs are accessed by 2 T-bars lifts and there are easy trails down courtesy of extensive grooming.
BR, as it’s known to the locals, has a friendly atmosphere, social & sunny day lodge and great terrain. Add to that the quirky access via an alpine railway and you’ve got something quite unique. The day lodge is a great place to relax and watch the action. There is some beginner terrain and plenty of variety for intermediate to advanced skiers and snowboarders.
Craigieburn Valley- closing day Oct 3rd
Located in the heart of New Zealand's Southern Alps, where the ups are good, and the downs are even better. Steep narrow chutes, wide open powder bowls, uncrowded runs or just a place to take it easy in the awesome vista of the Craigieburn Range. If you are an advanced or expert rider then skiing The Big One at Craigieburn is your holy grail!
Mt Olympus- closing day 17 October
Mt Olympus, run by the Windwhistle Winter Sports Club (WWSC), is one of those ski areas with an impressive reputation. The terrain is amazing, the access road an adventure, the coffee is good and it boasts the highest hot tub in NZ.
Fox Peak is one of the smaller ski clubs on the Chill Pass, but one of the largest when it comes to its terrain and suitability for all skiing levels. Located 35 minutes from Fairlie, along the spectacular Two Thumb Range, the ski area boasts amazing views of South Canterbury and the Mackenzie Country.
Mt Dobson (closing day 26 Sept)
For those in the know Mt Dobson is an under-rated gem. Firstly, it’s big. A triple-seater chairlift and a T-bar access two massive valleys and come powder days a short traverse or walk will ensure you score fresh tracks all day long. It’s also high, boasting the highest car park in the Southern Hemisphere at 1725m. The road is an engineering feat that has been lovingly crafted and cared for by one man, Peter Foote. It’s wide and suitable for 2WD’s with chains.
Awakino is a club-operated field that opens up for group bookings during the weekends. It's easterly aspect means that it is sheltered from most weather and picks up good dumps from southerlies.
Update from 17 Sept: Awakino was struck by Level 4 restrictions just as we were about to open last month, which unfortunately meant that the groups booked in missed out. We have since lost snow cover lower down, but are still hosting groups for snowcraft activities this month.