Darfield a home for Canterbury skiers

by Anonymous Author

Darfield is the gateway to the best of Canterbury’s ski fields.

Head south from Darfield along the Torlesse Range, and you will come to Mt Hutt, Canterbury’s largest commercial field with an international reputation.

Mt Hutt is regarded as having some of the most varied terrains in the South Island and attracts skiers and boarders from not just all over New Zealand but across the globe.

Head west into the Craigieburn Range and you will come first to the Porters Ski Area, which is now an all-year round destination and commercial operation, with its newly installed mountain bike track.

Continue further west along SH73 toward the West Coast, and you will come across a plethora of club fields which cater to all levels, from the beginner to expert skier or boarder and for those who enjoy the atmosphere of a club field.

Darfield is also home to the iconic Gnomes Alpine Sports, the one-stop shop for all skiing requirements from the latest in gear and clothing to the best in hire equipment.

Mt Hutt ski area

A vast mountain with 472 hectares of diverse terrain, Mt Hutt offers a challenging and exciting snow experience.

Mt Hutt’s lift and trail system make it a candidate for possibly one of the best lift and terrain mixes in the South Island.

Porters Ski Area

With a top elevation of 2,000 metres, Porters is endowed with regular natural snow from both southerly and westerly weather patterns providing some of the best snow conditions for skiers and boarders.

The field’s new $4.5 million quad chairlift can carry up to 2,000 people an hour, and the field’s base facilities have also received an upgrade.

Mt Olympus

Mt Olympus, run by the Windwhistle Winter Sports Club is set deep in the Ryton Valley, 45km from Windwhistle. Its back-country setting gives it a real rugged feel. The ski area is a wide, open south-facing bowl, which captures some of the best southerly powder in Canterbury.

Mt Cheeseman

Mt Cheeseman is the second ski area along the Craigieburn Range, boasts a sunny northeast basin with open, rolling terrain. With great beginner and intermediate slopes, Mt Cheeseman is perfect for learners and families.

The Craigieburn Valley ski area provides a challenge for the experienced 
skier and boarder

Curling is a highlight of the season at the Mt Olympus ski field 
Photo by Kinga Palmer

Broken River

Founded in 1952 by 12 snow enthusiasts, Broken River is one of New Zealand’s premier boutique club fields. Maintained by club members, it provides an inviting and friendly atmosphere mixed with some amazing soft-snow conditions.

Craigieburn Valley

Craigieburn has achieved cult status among some of the country’s hottest skiers.

Three high capacity rope tows service a vertical rise of 500 metres. Terrain at Craigieburn Valley is varied, exciting and challenging with the infamous 600m vertical descent of Middle Basin (which is often compared to a heli-skiing experience) accessible by a short traverse from the tow.

Temple Basin

Temple Basin Ski Area is 4km west of Arthur’s Pass in the middle of one of the country’s most spectacular national parks. To reach the field, there is a 40 to 60 minute walk and offers on-field accommodation in two modern lodges.