If anyone knows skiing in Australia you will agree it’s a little hit and miss at times. The après ski is a little lack lustre, the off piste trails few and far between (unless an unusually large fresh spread is delivered-rare) and there are very few ski lodges available that don’t incur a 30 minute transfer time up the mountain.
That said, Thredbo, Perisher and Mount Hotham are three ski fields in Australia I’ve skied and I can’t lie as they were anything but great experiences. That is until we went to Thredbo back in 2015 in late June. The snow report predicted that we would be skiing manufactured snow the entire time. Most of the boys in our group are from the northern hemisphere and so couldn’t really grasp what that meant in reality. Here’s one word I’d use to describe the reality of that ski trip: Ice. Whilst on the ski lift, beneath us, all we could see was grass!! That was the first sign that these runs would be trickier than normal. After seeing multiple people being stretchered from the mountain it was then I knew that if we survived the weekend without any broken bones, we were pretty darn lucky.
That said, it was a phenomenal trip made by good mates and many a laugh. We were all geared to give the ski trip a second time around, but this time we would go check out the serious stuff. Check out what our favourite neighbours (New Zealand) were up to on the slopes and so it was. Back in July 2016, the 16 of us ventured off to Christchurch late one evening after work, hired a couple of mini vans and drove off into the night. We arrived very late into Methven, which I adore on most trips because the next morning is your true experience in a new place and BOY did it deliver!!
So, here you have it and by now you’ve guessed this blog is mostly about the snow, but with a few other tips thrown in for good measure.
Mt Hutt Ski Resort was a ‘World Ski Winner’ in both 2015 and 2016 and has been rated as New Zealand’s best ski resort. Mt Hutt boasts wide-open terrain for all abilities. Here you will find 4 freestyle terrain parks, a 365 hectare ski area, a 2km run (their longest!), the highest point is 2068 meters with a 648m drop. They also have an average 4 metre snow drop daily.
I guess you could say the owner has a wicked sense of humor or they’re just a little kinky, but the names of the trails certainly are memorable. Here are a few to err… wet your appetite? Morning Glory, Virgin Mile Ridge, Bob’s Knob and Wayleggo
Hire your ski’s and boards in Methven!
We hired our gear from Big Al’s, literally in the heart of the town. They offered great service, good quality equipment and without any fuss if we happened to return our gear a little late. Gotta love the Kiwis!!
The local watering hole
A sight for sore eyes were the locals at Methven. One of the girls in our group may have enjoyed their company a little too well, but we won’t get into that here. He was a sound guy and she’s a top lady so it was inevitable to say the least. Aptly named the Blue pub (not to be confused with the Brown pub) was our go to watering hole for atmosphere, warmth, live music and a pretty darn good time. If you miss the Blue pub I will be very impressed seeing as it’s painted bright blue and in the center of town.
The proximity to Christchurch is unbeatable (90mins) and the crowds are nothing on what I imagine Queenstown is like. You feel at home instantly with the friendly locals who are masters at striking up any conversation with you on the ski lifts. Honestly, I would like to see the world’s ranking of the friendliest people; I can guarantee New Zealanders are number one or at least a very close second.
I would say any longer than 4 days skiing you will inevitably be a little bored by the end of your stay at Mt Hutt. It is tucked away and very much on the down low for international guests. I’d say it’s the perfect weekender if you’re passing through or looking for alternatives for busy (and pricey) Queenstown.
The views didn’t get a mention but they should be expected in New Zealand. All I know is that I feel like I haven’t even scratched the surface of what this beautiful country has to offer and I simply MUST return as soon as physically possible!
Enjoy ski bunnies!