Here's a brief look at some of the sights up at Craigeburn Valley on Friday last. Fresh snow although quite heavy, but helping repair the snow cover after the devastating rain last month that almost wiped out the whole regions base. Sorry about the quality of the pics - just a cellphone camera.
First here is the road in. It follows a steep sided vally with lots of growth so you don't feel too exposed. The car park is not the largest you will come across. You can see the main basin area above the car park.
Above and to the right of the carpark is the ticket office
The access / bottom tow is a 5 minute walk up a gentle sloping snow covered path. All the Craigeburn tows are right handed nut cracker rope tows. They get along at a reasonable pace but wouldn't handle a large crowd too well. Having said that, your legs don't get a rest at all, so a break while standing in the queue is not always a bad thing.
To get to the lunch hut / Day lodge, you need to ride the bottom two tows, then take the top tow for about a 1/4 of its length, until you are high enough to dismount, slip under the rope without knocking the safety wire, then ski down to the hut.
The three tows give you about 2000 feet total vertical. The tow you are looking up in the above photo is about 800 vertical feet. The main basin terrain is all out of sight to the left of the top tow, but there is a lot of variation, chutes, gullys, almost all advanced or high intermediate level terrain.
From the top of the top tow, at about 6000 feet you can see the Southern Alps to the west. The mountains around this area only go to about 8000 or 9000 feet. A hundred mile further south they go as high as 12300 ish (Mt Cook).
Craigeburn and three other Canterbury club fields are in the Craigeburn range, with typical peaks at 6000 feet. Temple basin a bit further west sits right on the main divide.
A popular lunch run or home run is middle basin, which meets up with the road a 10 minute walk below the car park. This can have very good spring skiing, and of course powder every now and again.
Here is a link to the trail map: http://www.craigieburn.co.nz/mountain/trailmap
Below is the lunch hut deck which overlooks middle basin
The skiing was typical Craigeburn. Tough but a lot of fun if your legs can stand it. We found a few untracked pieces (a dozen turns max) but otherwise had 2 day old chopped heavy-ish powder, some areas skied up nicely while others were too tough to bother with. There is no grooming at Craigeburn.
Overall, a good day, like most days in the mountains