| Jun 21, 2013
This mountain is surrounded by rural South Canterbury, yet the facilities and services are world class. Christchurch residents call it ‘The Big Mountain’, even though it is a mere foothill to the backdrop of the Southern Alps. Perhaps Christchurch people spend most of the year gazing at their own Port Hills which don’t quite register with the same magnificence!
A zip through Customs and the biggest welcome from the Wilderness team, then you are on your way, as long as you remember to pick up a set of chains from the base. When you are up around the ski-fields you will soon realise what a smart move it was to hire your motorhome from Wilderness. Most campervans and motorhomes aren't suitable for taking to ski fields in the winter because they are not insulated, therefore are likely to be as chilly as a tent! In comparison all the Wilderness fleet are fully insulated and have a thermostatically controlled heater that works any time (you don't have to be hooked up to mains power). Wilderness’s newer motorhomes, the Breeze and Escape, all have doubled glazed windows as well so you'll be ‘as warm as toast’. For more info, check out our Winter page.
Mt Hutt has the largest skiable area in the South Island. Although this might sound like a useless piece of information it is good to know it caters for a wide range of skiers as it has the greatest variety of terrain compared to other New Zealand ski-fields. Although beginners prefer to stay around the ‘magic carpet’, there are fabulous, super-wide, groomed intermediate runs as well as the famous steep off-piste chutes.
Mt Hutt maintains good quality powder snow most of the season. The snowmaking team crank the snow guns into action to maintain snow coverage on a range of beginner and intermediate trails. It all happens behind scenes. The night crew have been known to spend the entire night making snow and getting the slopes ready for the early ski-bunnies. Their motto must surely be “The snow must go on”!
After a strenuous or fun-loving day on the mountain, retreat to the cosiness of your campervan and drive to a campground in Rakaia Gorge or Methven for the night, both around 30 minutes drive from the ski-fields. You might like to tag Rakaia River for a future salmon fishing holiday, but in the meantime relax with the aim on being the first on the slopes next morning while others are still pondering over what to have for breakfast.