The Kiwi Club Ski Fields are legendary for their terrain, value, and “nutcracker” rope tows. We check out the best for terrain, Craigieburn and Temple Basin, and the best for normal skiers to stay at (it has t-bars and grooming!), Cheeseman, in the new Southern Winter issue. Spectacular shots like these of young Kiwi hotshot Kenji Boekholt and Austrian freeskier Christoph Schöffeger give you an idea of the terrain available.
Temple Basin is typical of the more rugged Kiwi Club ski fields, with a stiff hike in of 40 minutes or longer depending on your fitness. Fortunately a goods lift hauls your gear up though. It sorts the real skiers/riders from the riff raff, and the nutcracker rope tows plus some hiking opens up an array of magnificent terrain. It’s right up on the main divide of the Southern Alps, so gets slammed with snow and weather.
Craigieburn is a bit easier to get to, being closer to Christchurch and with just a short walk from the carpark to the lodge/base. But the terrain is the most serious of all the Kiwi Club ski areas, if you want to look for it (the Club tell us a big chunk is rated intermediate, but that is intermediate ungroomed so you want to be a solid have-a-go sort of intermediate to try it). Kenji grew up skiing here, and loves the place, so don’t miss his full story on it and Temple Basin. Glen Plake used to rate Chamonix and Craigieburn as his 2 favourite spots in the world.
Exciting as it all looks for hung-ho skiers and riders, a lot of you are probably thinking, hmmm, not quite up to it. Especially with the family along. Never fear, try the “King of Clubs”, Cheeseman, which offers ski in/ski out packages to non-members from $NZD 999. That includes 6 nights, 7 day ski pass, and all meals! Even cheaper for full time students, teens, and kids. The Cheeseman difference is grooming – they do a great job of providing nice cruisy terrain, with plenty left for those who like it ungroomed, and 2 t-bars as the key lifts, so you don’t have to master the nutcracker!
For more info:
The club field specialists for day trips from Methven/Mt Hutt are Black Diamond Safaris www.blackdiamondsafaris.co.nz
To travel around can’t do better than Jucy campas www.jucy.co.nz