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Temple Basin

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Trail Map
Trail Map
Trail Map
Temple Basin is a 45 minute walk uphill from the car park. There is a goods lift that takes your skis and gear up the hill for you, make sure to check if it is operating before you depart. Also wear appropriate footwear and clothing on the walk as you are in an alpine environment.
Temple Tow
Looking up Temple Tow
From the top of Temple Tow it is 10-15 minute walk to Downhill Tow where you can ski a wide open bowl. Some of the more challenging runs on Temple are out of view to the lookers right in this photo. Temple Basin offers Night Skiing when there is demand from the Temple Tow, only one of a few places in New Zealand to have this service.
Looking down on Downhill tow
Looking down at Downhill Tow, notice the crowds (or lack of!)
Downhill Tow offers a wide open basin on both sides of the Tow. There is a warming hut at the bottom to have lunch (bring your own) and leave gear. From the top of Downhill you can ski back to the lodges via more challenging terrain. This makes an awesome lap on a powder day.
Temple Basin
View from Temple Basin
Temple Basin's location near the Main Divide of the Southern Alps generally means it gets a lot of snow and the mountain is renowned for its spring skiing.


The closest airport is Christchurch International Airport which a 2 hours drive from the Ski Area car park.
Temple Basin is located near Arthur's Pass National Park and is a 2 hour drive from Christchurch through scenic mountainous country. If you don't have your own transport there are a couple of bus services to that drop off at the car park for Temple Basin.

Temple Basin has a couple of lodges on the hill for accommodation. Facilities are pretty basic but fun and include bunk style beds and packages can include skiing, lodging and food. A bar is available for those over 18 years old.
Other accommodation off the mountain can be found in the Arthur's Pass village about a 15 minute drive from the car park.
Name Description Maximum Occupancy Price Range


Temple Basin Lodge


Basic bunk bed lodging, own towel and sleeping bag


4-10 per room see website

Arthur's Pass Village

Small village with chalets and motels, no big hotel   $75-$150 nzd/night








Temple Basin

Temple Basin is another great New Zealand club field in the elk of Craigieburn. It offers varied terrain from open bowls to narrow chutes and usually gets decent snow due to its location on the Southern Alps. Like Craigieburn it has no grooming at all, has only rope tows and very limited beginner terrain. You have to walk to get to the skiing from the car park which takes about 45 minutes or more, just think of it as a warm up for the days skiing! However, there is a goods lift that takes your equipment and gear up the hill for you. The mountain has a strong following with Canterbury University students so lodges can be full, noisy but fun on some weekends. Any one can stay at the lodges on the mountain which is a fantastic experience to see what club fields in New Zealand are all about. There is nothing better than just clipping on your skis outside your door and getting into it.

Snow making percent0
Lifts-Surface Lifts-Magic carpet0
Lifts-Surface Lifts-Rope tow3
Lifts-Surface Lifts-Poma0
Lifts-Surface Lifts-T bar0
Lifts-Surface Lifts-J bar0
Lifts-Chair Lifts-Single0
Lifts-Chair Lifts-Double0
Lifts-Chair Lifts-Triple0
Lifts-Chair Lifts-Quad0
Lifts-Chair Lifts-High speed quad0
Lifts-Chair Lifts-Five person0
Lifts-Chair Lifts-Six person0
Lifts-Chair Lifts-Eight person0
Lifts-Coggle train0
Lifts-Total number of lifts3
Lifts-Total lift capacity0
Trails-4-Expert only?
Trails-5-Terrain parkNo
Trails-6-Half pipeNo
Runs-Steepest run?
Runs-Longest run?
General-Base elevation1326m
General-Vertical drop427m
General-Mountain range?
General-Annual skier visits?
General-Back country accessYes
General-Total area in bounds320 ha
General-Snow making coveragenone
Model Name/TypeMPNEAN/UPC


Pros: Epic terrain, uncrowded slopes, cheap prices, friendly people

Cons: Weather can be a gamble,

Many people describe the experience of Temple Basin as lift accessed backcountry, and that really does sum it up. It is a 2 hour drive from Christchurch and a 40-60 minute hike to the lodges and lifts once you drop your gear at the goods lift. The hike puts a lot of people off and Temple is all the better for it. In general I find that the more inaccessible a ski area is the better the vibe and more people are willing to help each other. It doesn't fell like another homogenised, pasteurised resort, it is something a little bit wild and you are reminded of that constantly.

I have a very love / hate relationship with Temple Basin. I have a lot of fantastic memories of mindblowing terrain, fresh powder, great people, hidden secrets and magnificent wilderness. And combined with that is miserable weather, unnecessary frustrations, polished ice and injury. I can't blame most of that on the mountains or the people but it can mean you are never quite sure what will happen when you go there.

The terrain is the most varied of any place I have ever skied, you can go from from wide open mellow bowls to 8 foot wide 40 degree chutes with overhanging rock in the space of 5 yards. In the right snow conditions steep gullies become the skiing equivelent of a rollercoaster and it seems every time I go there the snow has fallen or been blown differently and there is something new and fun to discover. Temple will reward exploration more than any place I have skied due to uniquely intricate terrain and complicated weather.

Temple Basin is a throwback to an older, simpler era. It has everything you absolutely need for a pure skiing experience and none of the unnecessary luxuries. And new people heading there are often surprised that the things they think of necessities are actually luxuries. Like snow grooming, chairlifts, and restaurants, and hotels.

What Temple offers is uncrowded slopes, epic terrain, cheap prices and a real sense of community.


Pros: No crowds, friendly atmosphere, awesome terrain

Cons: A hike to get there if you don't like walking

Temple Basin is a great place to ski. It's best to stay in one of the lodges overnight as you have to hike into the ski area. There's also a little hiking involved to get to the best skiing but it is well worth it. It offers some open slopes as well as tight steep chutes. The rope tows can take a little bit to get use to and there is no grooming so really only suited to those that can ski already. The place generally get lots of snow due to its location near the main divide.


Maybe not the best for families too because of location, terrain and tows although kiwi families come up here.