It’s time to wax the skis and unearth the snowboards!
New Zealand’s ski season officially kicked off on Monday (June 27), with the opening of Mt Hutt, the Canterbury region’s largest commercial ski area, just an hour from Christchurch International Airport.
After a record warm May and a mild start to June, temperatures have dropped enough over the past few days for the popular ski area to fire up its snow guns and fresh snow is currently falling.
Mt Hutt is the first ski field in the South Island and New Zealand to open for the 2011 season.
“This is great news for all those who have been champing at the bit to get on the slopes,” says Christchurch & Canterbury Tourism chief executive Tim Hunter. “They’ve had to wait a bit longer than usual but hopefully it will be a great season, with enough snow to allow skiing right through to late October.’’
Canterbury offers some of the best skiing in New Zealand, with 13 ski areas all within easy reach of Christchurch International Airport. The fields range from large commercial areas, such as those at Mt Hutt and Porters, to smaller club fields, meaning all ages and abilities are catered for.
Superb smaller-field experiences are on offer in the Selwyn District at Mt Cheeseman and the club fields of Craigieburn, Broken River, Temple Basin or Mt Olympus.
The Mackenzie area, a leisurely half day’s drive from Christchurch, is due to open soon, with the family-friendly options of Ohau, Mt Dobson, Fox Peak and Roundhill, as well as the heli-skiing thrills of the Tasman Glacier.
“If you want to bring the kids here for a few days skiing or snowboarding then Tekapo township is a wonderful base. With its Alpine Springs hot pools and spa, ice rink and snow tubing with magnificent views of the lake there’s plenty to keep the whole family occupied when they’re not on the slopes. Night star-gazing in the impressive skies above Tekapo is another must-do while you’re there,” says Mr Hunter.
“If you are a more experienced skier and really want to test your skills we’ve got some great off-piste thrills, including some of the world’s best heli-ski experiences.
“For those well-earned ‘rest’ days there are a multitude of après-ski experiences you can choose from. After skiing at Mt Lyford and Hanmer Springs ski areas, you might want to enjoy a soak in the natural thermal pools at Hanmer Springs and indulge yourself with a spa treatment, and check out some of the region’s wineries. There are lots of options and you’ll get a warm welcome wherever you go,” Mr Hunter says.
Hanmer Springs will be home to the Wallabies for four days during the Rugby World Cup.
If you would like your Hanmer Springs event listed please contact us.