3 minute read
Winter Olympic Ski Cross athlete, and Macpac Ambassador, Jamie Prebble is a born and bred Christchurch local – just like us! Jamie has seen a ski field or two in his time, so we grilled him for three of his favourites; an easy weekender, a remote ripper, and an international indulgence.
You’ve only got a small window of opportunity to shred – where do you go? Whether you’re in NZ or Australia, Mt. Hutt ticks all the boxes; accessible, affordable, fun. Fly into Christchurch, rent a car and gap it straight to Mt. Hutt – you’ll get there in about an hour.
Start your day right with hot brew from Heidi’s Hut. Once you’ve achieved maximum caffeination, your first run of the day should be Morning Glory – no, seriously. The pre-noon sun is amazing on this part of the mountain, and the views are beautiful. Plus, an early start will give you access to the best snow. Head out along Virgin Mile Track for the best 360 degree views in the region.
When to go: June to September. If possible, midweek. You’ll have zero lift lines, even in peak season (except school holidays, obviously).
The Playground of the Gods – need I say more? Mt. Olympus is a club field about 3 hours drive from Christchurch. It offers rope tow access, but if you want to do as the gods do, go by foot and discover some real backcountry gems. If you do use the rope tow, it’s a nutcracker, which is rough on the hands and a little bit scary the first time you do it, but also a lot of fun. The drive in to the carpark is also a big adventure – the first time I did it I actually thought we’d gone off road.
Mt. Olympus has super relaxed vibes, and is probably best suited to confident skiers. You can hike up to the ridge, and go off-piste for some amazing backcountry experiences. The views at the ridge are also epic. The size and relative remoteness of Mt. Olympus means that it’s usually pretty empty, so you can often ski untouched powder all day.
When to go – July to September. Again, midweek is always better, but you won’t be battling the same crowds that you do at Mt. Hutt.
If you really want to treat yourself to a jaunt overseas, Revelstoke should be very high on your list. It is well on the way to becoming one of North America’s premiere mega-resorts, which has its pros and cons. But if you can get there in the next year, you’ll still be able to experience some of the charm which has made it so popular with Canadians and international skiers alike.
Revelstoke is west of Calgary, Alberta, so rent a car from there and drive in for maximum freedom and mobility. When you arrive, you’ll be blessed with the most vertical terrain available in North America. There’s heli-skiing opportunities aplenty; massive, long runs; and consistently buckets on buckets of powder – it’s a winter wonderland.
To find the best backcountry spots, follow your nose. Ask the locals where to go – Canadians are some of the friendliest folk you can meet on the mountain.
When to go: November to April for the heaviest snow falls. Stay as long as your budget will let you.