Snow play at Porters

Wednesday, 23 August 2023

Snow play at Porters

Words by Rahana Jarvis from Chill Explore With Us 

Porters Alpine Resort have set up an exciting new dedicated Snowplay area at Porters Lodge. With a beautiful mountain backdrop and easy access from State Highway 73, Porters is a fantastic place to have a fun snow experience with the family. 

I caught up with Lodge and Ski School Manager Benny Dooms on what’s happening for winter 2023. This is Benny’s fifth season at Porters and he tells me the lodge is just getting better every year.


The Snowplay area opened on King’s Birthday weekend and is proving a hit for all ages. Having a dedicated area for tobogganing is a great move for safety and a focus on family fun. It's an excellent precursor to learning to ski especially for young children. They can experience gliding over the snow, learning how to control speed with an edge and weight distribution, while keeping a short attention span. It is also a snow experience that is easy on the wallet. 

When it's time to refuel, the adjacent lodge is a welcome retreat. The fire is always going and the winter menu is stacked with options including plenty for kids. Burgers are the best seller with a growing fan base travelling for them. When the lodge is open anyone is welcome to call in for a drink or meal.

The bunk rooms are decked out with linen so everything is taken care of for an overnight stay.

It is worthwhile checking out the specials posted on social media as well as the family packages to stay and ski.


Talking to Benny it's evident he takes pride in what's on offer both at the ski area and the lodge and even the road between the two. Porters is a favourite for accessibility, the mountain road is exceptionally well maintained and relatively short and easy-going.

This winter there is a free shuttle available up the mountain road from the chain-fitting area, just a short walk from the lodge.

Lodge surrounded by white snow

On the mountain Porters have gone the extra mile for first time skiers. They aim to have everyone make the most out of their time at the resort with any ability.

Beginner slopes are well thought out with gentle terrain and accessible lifts, from the Sunkid Magic Carpet to the Platters Lift and open areas separate from the main ski area.

A top tip when starting out skiing is to go during early spring, which brings warmer days and sun on the lower beginner slopes, which softens the snow.

The learn to ski programmes offered at Porters are professional and structured with an emphasis on friendliness and fun. Skiplay is for kids aged 3-5 starting out skiing for the first time and designed to introduce a love for the sport with a playful learning environment.

There's also group lessons tailored to the needs of adults and children 5 years and up, who are entirely new to winter sports. It's easy to book packages online that include lessons and rentals, saving time on the mountain.


The atmosphere at Porters is friendly and relaxed. The cafe is fully licensed with Cassels Beer on tap, real hot chocolate and great options for meals. It's warm and cosy inside and a great place to enjoy a coffee. And there’s outside seating too! 

A few cheeky resident kea are usually hopping about keeping an eye on everyone. The cafe, rentals and ticket office are all in close proximity to the main car park.

It’s always a good idea to pack a few camp chairs into the car to enjoy a comfy seat and chat, reflecting on a memorable day on the snow.

Good to know:

  • Porters Alpine Resort is 89 km from the Christchurch Airport; just over an hour drive along the Great Alpine Highway.
  • Check the Porters website for daily updates on the ski area status including road conditions and shuttle availability.
  • Snowplay is $15 per person or free for Porters or Chill Season Pass holders. You can take your own toboggan or rent one for $15.
  • For first timers, it can be surprising how warm it is when you are skiing or sledding on the snow and equally surprising how cold it can be when you stop.
  • The weather can change quickly too. Be prepared with extra layers of clothes, a waterproof jacket and pants, warm hat or helmet, waterproof gloves, thermal base layer and long socks. Sunglasses or goggles are essential, as is sunscreen.
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