Chill Mountain Update
Check this space for the latest information from the Chill Mountains. This space will continually be updated as information gets released.
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.
The Waitaki Ski Club is monitoring how we may operate this season as restrictions ease. The skifield is well placed to open after another successful summer/autumn of work parties. There has been good progress on realigning the main tow pylons, replacing dodgy pulleys and fixing up wind damage on the skifield, of all things! The upper road has been regraded, a new safer walkway replaced on one side of the lodge and the base laid for a realigned section of road through the farm. Access through the farm is now controlled by a combination lock, so you will need to contact us to get the code. It’s a pity that the actions of a minority have required the farm to install this, but we completely understand and support them to help reduce further stock losses. Early snows are encouraging signs for a good winter ahead – let’s beat Covid so we can get on the snow!
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.
"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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The ski area itself is made up of wide pistes, gullies, rock outcrops and natural features. For those that like to get a little jibby you’ll find some boxes, kickers and rails scattered around the place. For learners the deal is even sweeter, the fixed grip rope tow is free! Once you’ve mastered the fixed grip rope tow there’s a learner’s platter to provide a stepping stone to the chairlift accessed cat tracks.
SAANZ Update - updated 28 April
The Ski Area Association of NZ (SAANZ) has been in contact with MBIE and we are waiting for a response for guidance around operations in Level 1 and 2. We hope this will be out in the next two weeks and will keep you updated on how the ski areas plan to operate. You can also follow them on their Social Media handles, and through our mountains update page.