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A Summer skiing in new Zealand!

post #1 of 45
Thread Starter 

Well, It looks like I've finally figured out what I want to do this summer. I've been sitting around on my fat ass like a lazy bastard since the ski resorts laid me off, trying to figure out what I'm going to do next.

Well, I've always wanted to ski New Zealand, and I've been saying for a long time that I'm gonna do it. Well I just got off the phone with Mt. Hutt, and they want to hire me for me this season! I'm so stoked over this I don't even have the words.

So! Now all Y'all are going to have to endure my ski reports ALL SUMMER LONG! [evil laugh] Heh heh Heh [/evil laugh]

I know I asked a similar question here a few months ago, but now that a plan is starting to come together, I have some more specific ones.

So? Who here has been to the south island? I'll be staying in Methven, which is the closest town to Mt. Hutt, and not far from Christchurch. I'll definitely have to make a few trips to Queenstown, too. Any of you guys going to be around?

Is it hard to get a place to live? What's the cool stuff to see and do there? What's it like living there? Does anyone know of any bulletin boards like this one that cover NZ? I still haven't found a place to stay there. Is it expensive?

AND… this is important… I start work there at the end of June, and right now I'm totally broke.. I have a month to find good a job and work my ass off before I go, otherwise I may arrive there with fifteen dollars in my pocket, and no place to live. Do you guys have any suggestions on a good job that I can work hard at for a month, bank some $$, then quit? I don't have a lot of marketable skills, but I can travel anywhere. I've been thinking about hitting up construction jobs and stuff like that. If you guys have any other ideas, I'd sure appreciate it.

Info on cheaper flights would also be very welcome.
post #2 of 45
Thread Starter 
wow, cool. A hundred posts!
post #3 of 45
Good for you! What kind of job did you get with Mt. Hutt? I've heard they only hire foreigners if they are instructors with experience.

I'll be in Kiwiland for the entire month of August- mostly hiking and skiing. I found $1200 airfare from Boston but I've seen under $900 from LAX on United and American. If you're staying over 30 days (which you must be) then the airfare goes up a few hundred. You may also want to try AirBrokers (look them up online). They are a San Fransisco based travel broker with good deals on flights to NZ. It's expensive to there so good luck earning the bucks quickly.

There are some Barking Bears from NZ. Check out my "Meet in New Zealand" thread in the "Meet-On-the-Hill Planning" Forum. We should arrange a Bears weekend down there.

post #4 of 45
Priceline's my favourite way of getting cheap hotels and airfares, although they'll only take credit cards with a US addresses now, very annoying.
www.priceline.com but you have to commit yourself to whatever it is your're after, as after you've put up your request, you are locked in if someone goes for it.

check those airfares too: the advertised bargains are often for holiday fares. If you need one that goes for several months, you'll often find the bargain fares don't apply.
post #5 of 45
Geoff, I’ll be at Hutt so may see you there. If you haven’t been to NZ before I have some good news for you. The people are really nice (it’s a bit like stepping back in time, with all due respects to the Kiwis here), like the way things were; and should be. This is especially true in the South Island in my experience. The other thing for you, especially if you don’t have much cash, is that the Kiwi dollar is worth just about zip, the exchange rate is 0.47 US$ = 1 NZ$. So if you arrive with US$ you will be given a squillion Kiwi dollars (actually the exchange rate is much better than it was … well for a Kiwi that is). Expect a cost of living much less than in the US.

The bad news is Methven is real small. REAL small. There are basically 2 pubs there, the blue pub and the brown pub. Expect to see me in the Blue pub. There are some pretty good restaurants, hope you like lamb, and import your own parties. The worst news is that Mt Hutt’s real name is Mt Shut. It closes around 30 days per season, normally due winds. You will understand why when you see the access road, although it’s far from the worst I’ve seen in NZ, that title must surely belong to Ohau. Unfortunately the laid back attitude can sometimes extent to the mountain’s opening times. I recall a time last season when we had a pretty good dump but they couldn’t clear the road in time to open for the day. Fair enough you’d say until you see the job being done by just a couple of machines. I mean, if you’re serious about having the mountain open as much as possible this was a pretty feeble effort. We sat all day under blue skies while the staff who stay up there overnight tracked out the mountain, just to add salt to the wounds.

The mountain itself is quite large, but not much of it is lift serviced. I can see a day in the future (and given that it’s just been sold hopefully not too far away) when they finally pull their finger out and upgrade the lifts there. Improving the access road and extending the lifts over the back of the mountain would give an absolutely kick ass place to ski.

Unlike Methven, Queenstown rocks! This is the place to party, but also don’t overlook Wanaka. Queenstown really is geared for the tourists, both summer and winter, while Methven is a farming town. Wanaka is between the 2 and is probably my favourite place to stay.

Have fun, and see you there.


post #6 of 45
Methven is a cool little town, with an intersting mix of international skiers and boarders and country bumkin locals. Accomodation is easy, just ask around everyone you meet, someone will have something available, and accom is really cheap (but then you won't be making much money either) Living is easy, the only potential difficulty may be transport if you want to go outside Methven-Mt Hutt. Just find out who has a car and buy them a few beers and you will be sorted.

snowco is the definitive NZ snow website with snowcams, bulletin boards and info on every ski area in NZ.

The coolest thing you have to do while here is visit the club fields - local fields with the best snow and terrrain. They have limited facilities, basically a cross between a resort and pure backcountry, essentially lift-accessed backcountry.

There are six club fields within 2 hrs drive of Methven and you can't say you have seen NZ until you have visited at least a couple of them.

Coronet and the Remarkables are just clones of Mt Hutt, they are all about the same size, terrain and facilities but after a couple of days in the club areas I predict you will flag Queenstown to spend a week or two touring the local fields.

As for making fast money rigging the lottery is always an option [img]smile.gif[/img]
post #7 of 45
Kiwi, I must confess I have never been to any of the club fields (I know, shame on me). Which ones are your faves from Christchurch? I understand some have basic accom. on field?
post #8 of 45
Ok, so you are committed to Mt Hutt for a job (or Jabba as some call it), but maybe you could also get on to Treble Cone or Cardrona while you have some time. Wanaka is a much better town than Methven for size and partying, and you have the bonus of having 2 great commercial ski areas available. TC has some really good, challenging terrain.

Pete is correct in his analysis of Mt Hutt being closed a lot, but then that is the price for being a snow pocket - it catches the southerly (snow bearing) systems perfectly, and so usually has the earliest season and deepest (lightest?) snow in the south island. Problem with the southerly aspect is the high winds, cold and it is largely shaded till later in the season. Make sure you pack your thermals! When you see the road and some of the exposure it has you won't be surprised at the difficulties they have clearing it. At age 11 I vividly recall a trip down the road in Mum's Subaru 4WD, chained to the back of a large bulldozer to stop being blown of the road.

Pete bitched a little about lack of lift access, I suppose that is one of NZ's beauties, none of the fields are over-commercialised, and you have (on the most part) easy foot access to pristine, spectacular back-country skiing, with views to rival anything, anywhere. The day they put lifts over the back of Mt Hutt to spoil that view is the day I eat my Thorlo's after a hard spring day.

Methven and Wanaka are both near a number of excellent club fields: from Methven you have to try Porter Heights, Temple Basin, Craigieburn and Broken River; further south you must try Ohau and Dobson. Club skiing is a great experience.

And at the end of the south island season you have to get up north to Mt Ruapehu to sample Whakapapa and Turoa, the best and latest spring skiing in NZ (usually end of October, although El Nino may influence that this year).

As far as $$ is concerned, your USD will go a long way, but I suggest buying currency asap as the NZD is strengthening by the day.

Have a great time, I wish I was back home too.

post #9 of 45
Rock, get your sauce out mate because one day those lifts will go in, there's nothing more certain in my mind. If you want back country there’s plenty of it, I wouldn’t be hanging around Hutt for that, that’s for sure. Then again, yeah the view is great … I reckon it’d look even better looking over my shoulder from the seat of a quad!

Don't know if I was having a bitch, but you have to admit the lifts at Hutt are pretty ordinary for such a high profile field (and for our US friends, surface lifts are the norm in our part of the world). As I guess you know ANZ is now out (and since they had neither the money or the commitment let’s hope that’s a good thing), so I’m betting on a few changes within the nzski.com group in the near future. If you’re a local it may be nice that the area isn’t overly “commercialised” but I can assure you that it’s mighty frustrating when you only have x days there. Obviously I keep going back so I do love the people and the place, but for somebody more used to the US scene some things may be a little “different” that’s all.
post #10 of 45
Thread Starter 
Hey! Do you need some new toys? I have a ton of gear for sale, mostly ski stuff.

Help me to finance this trip!

Now you can finally pick up those 223cm downhill monsters that I know you all have been dreaming of having. or a new snowboard : bike stuff, too.

Take a look at the list I posted over at Pouter. Thanks.

[ May 22, 2002, 10:17 PM: Message edited by: Geoff' ]
post #11 of 45
Yeh Pete I agree Mt Hutt is totally underdeveloped (and I meant 'bitched' in the mildest ANZAC spirit), and I hate to say, veeeery boring to spend a season at. But fortunately there are all those other areas nearby, even Wanaka is only 3 hours away by car.
post #12 of 45
Hmm, Thorlo's and HP? or a nice Thousand Island?
post #13 of 45
Rock, like you say the place is so exposed there's probably little that can be done about the wind. I don't know, maybe build up the side of the road or something so the cars stop going over the edge, like forming a cutting, don’t know how you’d get it cleared though. Have you seen the way the snow builds up at the saddle where those boards are? For those not familiar with Mt Hutt, I’m not sure what the average is, but each year a few cars don’t make it down. I guess that’s the reason for those pieces of wood.

I’ve never been over the back, and guess few have, but reckon it would be quite sheltered. The problem still remains that to get back down to Methven you have to go down the windward side. I guess it will always be a problem with the mountain, just the same, yep, I’d go with the Thousand Island [img]smile.gif[/img] The South Island has enormous potential and I bet one day a big US company or similar will say “OMG how did we miss this gem!”, spend big $$ and promote the place in the northern hemisphere. You already know how many Japanese go there.

BTW you know the reason why there is basically no on mountain accommodation on the South Island? Is it a national park or something? I’ve never known why that is, but do know it is a right pain in the ass to drive up and down each day. I know of plenty of people who don’t go there because of it, as it detracts from the feeling of a “snow holiday”, means you either have to catch a bus each day or hire a car, and you're stuck in Methven!

PS Speaking of the best ANZAC spirit, bet you'll be REAL homesick on 13th July http://www.rugby.com.au/central/cale...sp?sectionID=1

[ May 20, 2002, 07:15 PM: Message edited by: Pete ]
post #14 of 45
NZ skiing is limited by geography, basically our mountains are too young and the snow line is too high (or the mountains are too low). If you see Mt Hutt without any snow it is nothing but a big gravel pile. It would be impossible to put lifts in most places because the ground is too unstable. In terms of increasing lift capacity it is pointless because the car park has already reached it's capacity, and the north and south faces don't get enough snow. Instead Hutt is diversifying into other activities - last year they installed a bungy jump off the side of the car park (oh yeah, the car park cant be expanded because of the big cliffs below it).

NZ has to have surface lifts around as backup for when it is too windy for chairlifts

The basic problem with NZ ski areas and why there is no accomodation on-field at commercial areas is that flat stable ground is at a premium so any development has to be small and protected against both landslides and avalanches.

Not that we really need to expand our ski areas, there are 21 ski areas in the South Island and a population of less than a million, it is just that most people don't go to the club fields.

I would personally recommend Temple Basin as the best of NZ club fields. Club areas are run totally differently to the commercial areas, few staff, basic lifts, empty slopes, bunkroom lodges on the mountain, and snow and terrain that is as good as or better than the commercial areas.

The lodge capacity is typically 80-100 beds on the mountain and you rarely get more than that on the slopes despite having the same acreage as Hutt. Prices are about NZ$600-$800 per week including passes, all food and accomodation. The atmosphere there is so much cooler than resorts, everyone has made an effort to be there, everyone knows what they are doing on the mountain, there are very few beginners, all the hard core NZ skiers and riders go there - the commercial areas are left to the punters and tourists.

Queenstown and Wanaka are fun if you are into the nightlife (which is limited), but they are far more expensive and the experience of going there is just the same as going to any small ski town in the US.

As I said, Hutt, Queenstown and Wanaka are left to the tourists and punters because all the real skiers and riders in the know are going hard at the club fields.
post #15 of 45
Originally posted by TheRockSkier:
Hmm, Thorlo's and HP? or a nice Thousand Island?
Dead 'Orse, mate! Nothing else.
Although since me and pete are from The Oz, it'd possibly be sweet chilli these days, or harissa.
post #16 of 45
Kiwi, that’s a good point re. the carpark. On weekends it’s a bus up unless you get there before all the Christchurch people. You could expand it, but you’d probably have to move a lot of dirt to do it.

Bungy jumping, oh well that’s different. Sure it would be novel to jump with the skis on and ski down to the lift, but other than that … well! I thought it had been in 2 years? Either way, I would hardly rate it a major draw card of the area.

In Europe they have lifts on glaciers so I don’t think the “unstable ground” is an issue that can’t be worked around. I’m obviously no expert in lift design but where I go in Switzerland there’s a stonking big glacier at the top about a squillion feet thick and with several lifts on it. Besides, the lifts went in on the front ok. I hear what you’re saying re the gravel, and the bases of my skis are testimony to that with all the crap that gets blown off the ridge!

Cardrona has plenty of (relatively) flat ground, yet, discounting those 4 self-contained units, there’s no accommodation. Same with Coronet., plenty of space, nothing on it.

Not that we really need to expand our ski areas
Hmm well I guess you have one perspective and I may have another. Sure the locals may be quite content to ski a club field (and thanks for the tip, I’ll give that a go this season. Is Temple a rope tow or T-bar? Would I need to book a bunk much in advance. Sorry but my Brown Bear didn't arrive this year), but somebody from overseas probably has different needs. In my opinion, the average person coming from O/S has far greater expectations regarding nightlife, accommodation, service, etc. than a local may. They don’t want to haul their ass up a mountain each morning, they want to be able to enjoy a bit of post-dinner activity, they expect the mountain to make a half reasonable attempt to open, etc. The thing is, they are prepared to pay for it too. This is something I’ve continually said, I feel we look at the ski scene from the perspective of a group of pretty hard core enthusiasts. However the average person looks at skiing as a holiday. They budget xx amount of money for a HOLIDAY each year. In taking a holiday they don’t expect it to be hard work. So getting back to your statement, does NZ need to expand (I’d say develop the existing, but whatever) the ski areas. Well no, not if you only want to cater for the local population. But tourism is where it’s at, the amount of money a foreign tourist spends would blow you away (trust me, I’ve seen the figures). So I guess it depends on which side of the fence you’re sitting. If you’re an entrepreneur wanting to make some serious money, or somebody running the economy, then you’d probably want to push ahead with development. But if you’re an environmentalist, hard core skier, or somebody who just hates change, well like it is would probably do just fine. Me? I could go either way. As mentioned it would be nice to see a few changes, but not if it was done poorly and came at the expense of what the South Island is all about.


post #17 of 45
Originally posted by kiwiski:
The basic problem with NZ ski areas and why there is no accomodation on-field at commercial areas is that flat stable ground is at a premium so any development has to be small and protected against both landslides and avalanches.
Geoff, FYI

Whakapapa in the north island has over 40 lodges on the mountain with ski in/out access (usually NZ$25-40 a night). You can see these at www.mtruapehu.com. Mt Ruapehu includes Whakapapa (NZ's oldest, biggest and best commercial area) and Turoa (second biggest). The company that runs these areas embraces the need to expand and grow to meet the overseas skiing market. This year they have been given permission to put snowmaking on the upper mountain, which will be a huge benefit in low snow years. The major factor prohibiting development on Ruapehu is that it is in a National Park, and on maori land. Getting permission for expanding lifts out of the current boundaries is protracted.

At these areas you will find a massive amount of excellent lift accessed terrain, and some awesome back-country areas with easy walking access, and very few people. Mt Ruapehu is formed from vocanic rock, so you get good severe terrain (bluffs, cliffs, steeps etc). Typical season is July to end October, with superb spring skiing in late Sept/Oct.

[ May 21, 2002, 01:02 AM: Message edited by: TheRockSkier ]
post #18 of 45
Rock, I've never skied up there, I hear it get's quite busy with people from Auckland. I think it's fair to say most people I know of from O/S tend to associate NZ skiing with the South Island, so what's your feelings on why there has been basically no development down there?
post #19 of 45
Originally posted by Pete:
I think it's fair to say most people I know of from O/S tend to associate NZ skiing with the South Island, so what's your feelings on why there has been basically no development down there?
It is hard to say. There has been steady development, but it is usually upgrading a t-bar with a chairlift etc.

Queenstown has obviously boomed since the 1980's, mainly due to the fact that has developed as much as a summer resort than winter (in fact more people visit in the summer than winter). I forget when the Remarkables opened, but think sometime in the 1980's, so that is a recent development.

I think you assessed Mt Hutt's potential expansion dilemma's well, but the bottom line is I don't think any of the southern commercial fields are particularly big money spinners, and probably have a fairly steady number of visitors year to year. I am not sure that more expansion would necessarily increase their profitability.
There is only so much accommodation and infrastructure to support skiing in the south island, and so the numbers stay fairly static.

Whakapapa and Turoa have developed steadily over the years, I think you will find they have far more income from being smack between Wellington and Auckland. They have the lift capacity to deal with the weekend influx, and indeed have a very loyal 'weekend warrior' following, that probably earns them a lot of money, as a large number of these people stay on the mountain, thus spend on mountain facilities.

Remember also that developing an area (new or existing) in NZ is politically very challenging, as there are all sorts of environmental, cultural and historic hurdles to overcome.
post #20 of 45
Originally posted by kiwiski:
all the hard core NZ skiers and riders go there - the commercial areas are left to the punters and tourists.
Kiwi, I agree with most of the things you mentioned in your post, but the above statement is a complete load of crap. Demographically I guarantee you would find most of the top skiers and riders at commercial areas, because that is where they can get work, places to live, and mix with all the other top level athletes who come down to NZ in winter. Sure there are a lot of great skiers and riders in the club fields, but a minority I would suggest.

I know of a large number who spend winter at Whakapapa.
post #21 of 45
Remember also that developing an area (new or existing) in NZ is politically very challenging, as there are all sorts of environmental, cultural and historic hurdles to overcome
Yes I suspected that may be quite a situation.

I feel the north island may be mainly local Kiwis, but the South Island may attract proportionally more foreign skiers. Without proper research it’s impossible to know just how viable development would be, but my feeling is that there is huge potential there. A case to point is Coronet. Now personally I think it’s a pretty lousy mountain, indeed my understanding is that Remarkables was developed to supplement Coronet due to the often poor snow conditions at Coronet. Yet as a result of a big promotional push many years ago, Coronet Peak still retains almost legendary status in the minds of many.

As I mentioned, I think many more Aussies for one, who maybe not as keen skiers as us, would be attracted to the area if it offered more in the way of in snow facilities like I suggested above. Queenstown, as you mentioned, has become a goldmine, a real indication of what is possible. Yet I feel that even Queenstown could be taken a step further, though I know many people loath Queenstown for what it has become. I personally feel Canterbury has much the same potential as further south, with the additional advantage of a much easier access point in the way of Christchurch.

I’m interested to hear from the opinions of anyone from the Northern Hemisphere who has skied down in NZ, how you found the overall facilities, and what you may have found a little lacking during the visit.
post #22 of 45
Originally posted by TheRockSkier:

Demographically I guarantee you would find most of the top skiers and riders at commercial areas, because that is where they can get work, places to live, and mix with all the other top level athletes who come down to NZ in winter. Sure there are a lot of great skiers and riders in the club fields, but a minority I would suggest.

I know of a large number who spend winter at Whakapapa.[/QB]
Todd Windle was a lodge custodian at Temple Basin in '98 and '99 and won the IFSA comp in Whistler in 2000 and came second in Valdez the same season (correct me if I am wrong). I am a semi-regular at Temple and have been there during extreme events and ordinary weekends and the number of sponsored skiers hanging out there, toting next years skis and prototypes is ridiculous.

Sure it is a rough indication of how hard core a place is but I have seen far more hot skis and skiers at club fields than commercial areas.

Club fields definitely do not cater or everyone, they are not cushy, family resorts. You need to keep your brain switched on. As I said they are a mid point between resorts and backcountry camping.
post #23 of 45
Geoff- Congrats on making the trek down under!

I worked at Mt Ruapehu (Whakapapa/ Turoa) on the N Island for 11 seasons, many as head race coach and as Ski School Manager. Probably the best skiing in NZ, terrain wise, but also the worst, weather-wise. It can rain 8 out of any 7 days. But when it has snow, it's unbeatable!

At Whakapapa, the Ski School is about 25 full time, with about another 30 part time, and sufficient housing is available. It ranges from employee housing in Whakapapa Village (4 kms), to house rentals about 15kms away. On the Turoa side, the Ski School is slighty smaller, and the town of Ohakune is situated about 12 kms down below the area. Again, relatively easy to find housing. Pay is somewhat comparable with the S Island areas.

But don't go to NZ expecting to make money. If you break even on your airfare and cost of living while there, you've done great!

Don't expect to find facilities anywhere in NZ to be similar to those in the US. Things are a bit more spartan than home. Over the years, there has been great improvement in the area of high speed lifts, enlarging base lodges, and food service facilities. But remember, there are fewer skiers in NZ, so the financial base does not support the kind of growth and development which we enjoy in the US.

As far as ski towns, for my money, Queenstown has it all over everywhere else. It is a real town, with all the trimmings. Whereas Methven or the N Island areas are a bit stuck out in the country.

The greatest reason to go to NZ, or Australia, is to work. You will learn more about yourself, your craft, your skiing, and about being a professional than you will ever believe possible! It will not be easy, the conditions will try your patience to the breaking point, and the pros you will work along side, will become life long friends.
Those are the true rewards of spending a few (or more) seasons in the Southern Hemisphere!

"When you see the Southern Cross for the first time,
you understand now why you came this way,
cause the truth you might be running from is so small,
but it's as big as the promise,
the promise of the coming day"

"Southern Cross" Crosby, Stills, and Nash

: : :

[ May 24, 2002, 11:49 PM: Message edited by: vail snopro ]
post #24 of 45
Originally posted by Pete:

BTW you know the reason why there is basically no on mountain accommodation on the South Island? Is it a national park or something? I’ve never known why that is, but do know it is a right pain in the ass to drive up and down each day.
There are very strict rules about what can be developed in our high country. My father is an earthmoving contractor and he did the earthworks and shaping for the last development at Coronet Peak, when they installed the quad and realigned the double chair. The 'Department of Conservation' staff were on site at all times ensuring that no snow tussocks were destroyed. When reshaping he had to dig up and replant EVERY snow tussock - apparently they take 50 years to grow. The land is easily eroded, and as others have said there is little flat land to build on. Trying to find enough for car parks is a problem. Treble Cone want to install a toilet over in their Saddle Basin area and have yet to find an economic way of installing them that complies to resource consents. Dad also built the Treble Cone road, the rules were not quite so strict back in the 70's, it would take years to get consent nowadays to build something like that.

Geoff - I am moving to Christchurch in a couple of weeks and will be skiing Mt Hutt at the weekends, so we should meet up. I will doing the occasional weekend trip to Wanaka to ski Treble Cone which is my favourite. So if we meet up at Hutt sometime and don't drive each other 'crazy', I can offer you a ride - assuming you can get days off over a weekend, and don't turn out to be a pshyco. It is a long trip on my own, I have family to stay with in Wanaka so will generally be going on my own.

Would be good to see what Bears we could get together down here. I am going to be out of the country for Sept so my perference would be any of the weekends in August (I leave for France on Sat 31 Aug, back 21 Sept).

I don't know anything about the accomodation for staff at Hutt, I expect the only on mountain accom will be for the snowcat drivers and the firstline ski patrol. Christchurch is about 90 minutes away I think. Maybe they run a staff bus from Christchurch? Methven is pretty small and quiet, but can't really comment as have only ever stayed there one night. Christchurch population is about 300,000 so has a lot more options, but you'd get pretty sick of the travelling, so I'd make Methven your first choice. Ashburton is another option, is a lot larger than Methven and a lot closer than Christchurch - it is a farming service town so you'd find it cheap but VERY broing (sorry if I offend any bears from Ashburton).

They are predicting snow for the Southern Alps on Thursday (it is Wed night here as I write this) - this is the first major smowfall predicted for the season. Mt Hutt is usually the first mountain to open, they sometimes are open by the 'Queens Brthday' public holiday weekend, which is 1/2/3 June this year. I have all my fingers crossed.

[ May 21, 2002, 11:46 PM: Message edited by: julie from nz ]
post #25 of 45
Julie, enjoy Hutt, I'll be there as soon as it changes colour from brown to white.

Most of the staff I know ... hmm, no come to think of it, ALL, live in Methven. I wouldn't want to commute from Christchurch each day unless maybe you lived there already. I've never timed it, but guess it would take around 2 hours to get from Christchurch to the carpark at Hutt.
post #26 of 45
Thread Starter 

Wow, you guys are great! This thread has been incredibly helpful. I can't wait to check the place out and meet some locals.

so, you folks who'll be living there, how hard was it to find a place? And about how much should I expect to pay in rent?

post #27 of 45
I work at Porter Heights (across the river from Hutt). The club fields are the place to go if you like powder on your days off. It lasts there days instead of hours at Hutt. Accom is fairly easy to find in Methven but as you will be coming late in the show it may be a bit harder to find.
All the club fields have accom, if you are going there in a weekend you need to book a bit in advance, during the week not so bad.

I skied a bit with Todd Windle last winter, he is not the only one of his caliber to be seen at the club fields. If you can ski at a club field you make the rest look like monkeys when you get back onto the groomed.

By the way snowmaking is up & underway.
post #28 of 45
Geoff, Perhaps I can arrange for you to participate as an extra in my upcoming moofie, Terminator 3.

You vill be one of ze villains, und I am going to crush you like a little maggot for turning to ze darkside.

I hef only been to Queenstown (perhaps zat is a better name for San Francisco). Skied Concrete Peak, Cardrona und Remarkables. By the vay, keep in mind zat Whakapapa is pronounced "F*ck-a-papa"
post #29 of 45
Aaah. Methven. Where the sheep outnumber the skiers 100 to 1. Blue Pub is a fun hangout. I recall that the chinese place was edible but the Mexican place was pretty scary. Hope you like meat pies and french fries... otherwise, you'll starve to death. I had a pretty good time at Mt. Hutt. The skiing down the front face of the mountain is a complete snooze but the edges are quite good. You'll spend your life doing Triple to T-Bar laps. The South Face has 30 interesting turns as do the chutes through the Tower rocks. Like most Kiwi ski fields, the good skiing is out of bounds down to the road. It's a loooong traverse to get there but lots of untracked powder mixed with rock and that tussock grass.

I agree that Ohau wins the hairball access road contest. The lodge down on the lake also wins the best place to stay award. The new wing is really nice and they have great food. I was there on a powder day... 1000 vertical foot diesel T-Bar serving low-expert terrain and maybe 100 people skiing. 'Twas an experience I'd recommend to anybody.

Personally, I think Treble Cone has the best skiing on the South Island. Do yourself a favor and try to get there for at least a few days. Wanaka has more going on than Methven and it's only an hour and change to Queenstown.

I really didn't care for Coronet Peak. Too many lifts, too much grooming, too much polish. They have some easy hike-to that's interesting but most of the mountain is a little shy on character and it's flooded with wealthy Japanese. I only caught one day at The Remarkables. They didn't hvae great cover when I was there and it was socked in. It looked like there was some good hike-to terrain when they have snow but the lift serviced is incredibly flat.
post #30 of 45
Originally posted by GeoffD:
Hope you like meat pies and french fries...
Pies...food of the gods. I did miss them in the US. French fries?! They are chips! Although if you pronouce them like that, you probably won't get any. In NZ, they are "chups". Chips and vinegar is also food of the gods.
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