The other day, while we were driving back home from one of our trips we made a spontaneous decision. Let’s go snowboarding down to South Island. Originally, we planned to postpone this trip for the next year as I didn’t have enough holiday at work and it was also quite expensive fun. But because this year again the weather conditions didn’t give us a chance to visit at least the ski fields here in North Island, we really wanted to go!
Later that day we picked a location, booked flights, an accommodation and rented a car. Once we booked everything necessary, we just realised that we actually didn’t know whether there would still be snow and weather ski fields would be open. Fortunately, most of them operate until early October.
Since then three weeks went by and we finally got off the plane in Christchurch. We picked up the car and with the vision of four days full of snowboarding we headed off to our accommodation in Springfield. Our plan was to visit a different ski field each day to have a chance to explore more places during the short time.
The first day we spent at Mt Hutt. On the way there we were a bit worried as there was no sign of snow almost all the way long to the ski fields but then about the last 16km we drove up the steep hill and eventually saw the resort, covered in snow. The sun was shining and, finally, when we got our tickets after 30 minutes standing in a queue, we were ready to enjoy the ride. The resort provided some good routes, three chair lifts and nice snow conditions. The only problem were my boots, which were absolutely terrible and for the rest of our staying I had to rent another ones.
The second day we decided to spend at Porters - a smaller resort with one chair lift and few T-bar lifts. The weather wasn’t so nice as that day before and routes were quite icy. However, after midday, the clouds rose a bit and the visibility got much better so we could enjoy the rides at the top part of the mountain which had been covered by fog in the morning. I also felt like wearing slippers in my rented boots which were much more comfortable.
The third day we wanted to try one of those club fields which were in near surroundings and Mt Cheeseman had some nice reviews. As it had been snowing during the night, chains were required from a certain point on the way up to the fields. Because we’d had no experience with snow on New Zealand roads so far we rather stopped with other drivers and started to putting chains on wheels. After 10 minutes of hopeless attempts, a nice couple rescued us and put the chains on instead of us.
Eventually, it was the last pleasant thing related to this ski field because skiing itself really sucked. When we arrived there the whole hill was covered in dense fog and from two T-bar lifts only one was working. After a first ride when the visibility wasn’t bigger than 2 meters and there were rocks all around the routes we decided to finish and tried to ask for refund as those conditions really didn’t worth $60. Unsuccessfully. That was definitely our worst and the most expensive skiing experience. Ever!
Fortunately, the last day compensated all the disappointment from the previous day as we went back to Mt. Hutt again. A beautiful day (chilly but full of sunshine), a little bit of fresh powder and amazing views. That day was definitely the best and worth that whole trip.