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Tuesday September 11, 2018 - Email this article to a friend

Seems we've saved the best till last as the PlanetSKI RV trip in the South Island in New Zealand comes to an end. Last stop: Mt Hutt.



I've lost count of the number of ski resort reviews I have written over the years - hundreds and hundreds.

But I can't recall beginning even a single one about the road up to a resort.

Until now.

This review of Mt Hutt, following reviews of Cardrona and The Remarkables, is the third time I have written about the access road in as many articles since being in NZ.

It is just the first aspect that strikes me and probably any visiting skier.

Welcome to the ski fields of New Zealand.

Mt Hutt, New ZealandMt Hutt, New Zealand
















Most resorts here are at the end of a long dirt road with twists and turns a plenty.

Mt Hutt is on another scale with the narrowest and steepest of access roads.

Here in New Zealand they drive on the left - not on the way to Mt Hutt in the local ski bus I was in.

The right hand side has a better road surface (even though it is closer to the edge) so that is where our driver is sticking.

Mt Hutt, New ZealandMt Hutt, New Zealand
















And as we got closer to the resort the snowier (and more treacherous) it became.

I hadn't felt like this since accessing some of the resorts in Argentina in the Andes - a mix of fear, excitement and heading into the unknown.

Mt Hutt, New ZealandMt Hutt, New Zealand
















Then the thick cloud descended with some vehicles stopping due to poor visibility (not to mention the slippery surface), but our driver pushed on.

Mt Hutt, New ZealandMt Hutt, New Zealand
















And then (at last) as we approached the resort we broke through the cloud.

Mt Hutt, New ZealandMt Hutt, New Zealand
















Mt Hutt is usually one of the first to open in June and skiing can continue until the end of November.

It has good vertical and perhaps the most consistently steep and wide-open terrain of any of the resorts in the South Island.

It has just 3 lifts with the skiing starting at 1,430m and rising to 2,086m.

Mt Hutt, New Zealand  Mt Hutt, New Zealand















There is no accommodation up here and most stay in the nearby ski town of Methven or come from the city of Christchurch.

There is a good base lodge and the prices were reasonable.

So, first impressions:

And with the fresh snow the avalanche patrol was making things safe as off piste skiers and snowboarders were heading up:

Mt Hutt, New ZealandMt Hutt, New Zealand
















Mt Hutt, New ZealandMt Hutt, New Zealand















But before heading to Oz there was time to enjoy the stunning views from the top of Mt Hutt.

Mt Hutt, New ZealandMt Hutt, New Zealand
















Mt Hutt, New ZealandMt Hutt, New Zealand
















Mt Hutt, New ZealandMt Hutt, New Zealand














And as the ski bus headed back down the mountain at the end of the day, the poor weather had lifted but it was still an, er, ‘interesting' ride.

Some passengers closed their eyes, others dressed the part and looked on in gleeful excitement.

It must be an age thing.

New Zealand, Mt HuttNew Zealand, Mt Hutt
















And me?

I looked back and reflected on my time skiing in New Zealand as my trip came to an end.

By European standards the resorts are small but what they lack in size they make up for in variety.

More importantly it was fabulous to be skiing on steep slopes and on decent snow in August and September.

This winter has been average to poor in New Zealand with some saying to me that winter never really got going.

Well, if that is a winter that never got going I look forward to being here again in one that does.

There are 15 main ski areas in the South Island and I had managed just 4.

There are another 5 club ski fields.

And then there are the resorts of the North Island that I never made it to.

I need to come back.

Mt Hutt, New ZealandMt Hutt, New Zealand

















PlanetSKI has been funding its trip: flights, accommodation and much else besides as we like to remain independent.

However we have to thank a few people and organisations who offered to help along the way.

NZSKI grasped the idea of the trip immediately and have assisted us in its resorts of Coronet Peak, The Remarkables and Mt Hutt - thank you Frederique Gulcher.

See here for further details about the resorts:

Apollo Camper also embraced the idea of doing part of it in an RV and have offered support in getting the right vehicle for our adventures - thank you Tara Eller and Dylan Moetara.

If you want an RV in New Zealand or Australia look no further:

Robyn Pester from Queenstown has given us valuable introductions to people who have not heard of PlanetSKI - hard to believe people haven't we know ;-)

See further details of the town - Queenstown 

Lastly Sophie Luther from the Audi quattro Winter Games only got a last minute request from us, at one of her busiest times, and yet was able to find time to help. BIG shout out!


See here for the main PlanetSKI news page with all the latest stories from the mountains.

For the Spirit of the Mountains - PlanetSKI: Number One for ski news 

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