A Complete Introduction to NZ’s 24 Skifields for International Students – Part 2

Thursday, July 30, 2020

With 24 ski fields across the country, here is our follow-up list of the second half of the skifields to visit in both the North and South islands of New Zealand. Read Part 1 here.

1. Tukino – Mount Ruapehu, Tongariro National Park, North Island

With 170 hectares of skiable area, 35% beginner, 30% intermediate and 35% advanced trails, this mountain, which is located on the Eastern slopes of Mount Ruapehu, offers you a chance to avoid the crowds of Turoa and Whakapapa. A season pass will cost $300 for students and a lift pass for the day costs $50. The skifield has three tow ropes and cat-skiing to the top of the field (when available). Tukino ski area is run by Aorangi Ski Club, with the first tow rope set-up in 1962 by the army. You can stay at the Tukino Alpine Sports Club 1700m up on the mountain, the Desert Alpine Club or the Aorangi Ski Club.

2. Rainbow Ski Area - Nelson Lakes, St Arnaud National Park
With 25% beginner, 55% intermediate and 20% advanced terrain, five lifts (T-Bar, three tows, one platter) and 300 hectares of rideable terrain. There are chalets, bed & breakfast and other accommodation options in St Arnaud township, 35 minutes’ drive away – there is no accommodation on the field. A gold season pass costs $415 for students and a full day lift pass is $91 for students. It is a commercial field and has options for rentals, lessons and transport on and off mountain.

3. Mount Lyford - Lyford, Canterbury, South Island
With 30% beginner, 40% intermediate and 30% advanced terrain with 75 hectares of skiable terrain, this is a great mountain to ski and only 26km from Waiau. Student passes for the day are $55 and student season passes are $249. Stay at the Mount Lyford Lodge (8km from carpark) or in a Mt Lyford Holiday Home. 

4. Hanmer Springs - Canterbury, South Island

This wide alpine bowl contains 10% beginner, 60% intermediate and 30% advanced trails. There are three lifts, one Poma Lift (807m), one rope tow and one fixed grip learners tow. There is 52 hectares of rideable ski terrain.

5. Temple Basin - Arthur’s Pass Village, Arthur’s Pass National Park, South Island
This ungroomed ski area has 25% beginner trails, 50% intermediate and 25% advanced. IT has a ski school, shop, two on-site lodges and is operated by the Temple Basin Ski Club, and the Canterbury University Snow Sports Club. From the carpark to the ski area lodges is a 40-minute walk, and there is a goods lift 800m West of the car park.

6. Broken River - Craigieburn Forest Park, Canterbury, South Island
With 175 hectares of skiable area there are three high-capacity of rope tows and two learner rope tows. The terrain is 5% beginner, 40% intermediate and 45% advanced. The mid-week madness two night and three-day package, including accommodation, lift tickets and tow belt hire costs students $275 catered vs $200 self-catered. Choose from catered or self-catered accommodation at one of the three alpine style lodges on the mountain.

7. Mount Cheeseman - Castle Hill, Canterbury, South Island
This is the closest club ski area to Christchurch and has been around since 1929. There are 15% beginner, 50% intermediate and 35% advanced trails and 50 hectares of skiable terrain. It features two T-bar lifts and one learner tow. Situated in a south-east-facing basin, it gets a lot of winter sun. Accommodation includes the Forest Lodge and Snowline Lodge (currently closed for the 2020 season). Student prices are $65 for a day pass and $229 for a season. Ski rentals, lessons and the beginners package deal are on hold for the 2020 season due to Covid-19.

8. Fox Peak - Fairlie, Canterbury, South Island
This club is run by the Fox Peak Ski Club since 1932 and the first rope tow was established in 1950. The mountain has 15% beginner, 40% intermediate, 30% advanced and 15% expert only runs. With 500 hectares of skiable terrain and five lifts (four rope tows and one platter lift) this mountain is low on crowds and high on terrain to utilise! All season passes include a year’s membership to the club and cost $110 for students. A day pass costs $30 for students.

9. Roundhill - Lake Tekapo, Canterbury, South Island
Opened in the 1960’s the area has gone through multiple changes over the years, starting as a club field before becoming a commercial one and now it is back to a privately-owned field created for the family. The lifts are two T-Bars, a poma and two rope tows and the world’s longest and steepest rope tow to Australasia’s biggest vertical drop (783m). There are 550 hectares of skiable terrain, 20% beginner, 45% intermediate and 35% advanced trails. Lift passes for adults (18+) are $95 for the day, while passes for children (6-17) are $45 and a season pass is $720 for adults and $325 for children.

10. Mount Dobson - Lake Tekapo, Canterbury, South Island
With four lifts, 14+ trails of 25% beginner, 50% intermediate and 25% advanced and 160 hectares of skiable terrain, and the highest car park in NZ (1,725m), this ski area has been operating since 1979, with its first full year coming in 1980. The ski field is fully owned and operated by the Foote family.

11. Ohau Snow Fields - MacKenzie High Country, Canterbury, South Island

With 125 hectares of skiable terrain encompassing 20% beginner, 50% intermediate and 30% advanced runs, this is a fantastic place to go for your skiing experience. Skiers have been coming here since the mid 1950’s and the area currently has three lifts (one chair, one snow mat/magic carpet and one platter). The mountain is known for its spectacular Southern Alps and lake views. A lift pass for the day will cost students $75, while a season pass will cost $800. 

12. Snow Farm - Wanaka, Otago, South Island
Less of a skifield and more of a snow events area, this is the best place to go if you are looking for an activity like cross-country skiing or snowshoeing. You can stay on the mountain at the Snow Farm lounge or one of the backcountry huts. Cross-country skiing will cost $75 for the day for students (lesson included) or a rental package and trail pass for $70 for students.

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