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- Ski Selwyn
Get your kids hooked on the rope tows. Olympus is well known for its ski weeks and bringing the next generation up in God Zone’s classroom. The Ski Club runs some great ski weeks for the kids in the school term. There are two, Truants Week and School Bunkers as they are known. They often book out pretty quickly.
If it’s your first time with the family on rope tows or you're starting to explore further, the first week of the September/October school holidays is ideal for taking the family and letting the kids loose on the rope tow and mountain terrain. The Top Hut at Olympus is not normally as busy as peak season, and there is a combination of regular and new families ‘finding their ropes’. The season is well into Spring and there's good light into the later part of the day with spring snow conditions. There is less of a crowd, if you’d call skiing with a few good people a crowd at Olympus, and the kids are generally well into their winter of skiing and looking for more places and terrain to explore.
What's best: You can come and go from the ski week, make it a shorter week to test the water or cross over with the weekend if friends can make it up for the weekend only. The hut mid-week is pretty low key and there are other kids also looking to have some fun.
Best time: First week of the school holidays.
Ideal number: The whole family.
What to take: All your ski gear and sleeping gear in a backpack to ride up the tows to the top hut. Swimming togs for the hot tub, and a few good games for the kids. Don’t forget your chains.
How to get there: Drive in with a four-wheel-drive into the back of Lake Coleridge. You can park at the top car park, but remember to radio up from the lower hut to ensure it’s good and safe to drive up.
Put your feet up - grab a group of families from out of the district and spend a ski week at Snowline Lodge. This week is for everyone, including those who are not skiers. Snowline Lodge is at the base of the ski area, a short ski to the lifts and easy access to the day lodge for good coffee and ski hire. During the day the café and day lodge are a buzz with people coming and going. A ski week at Cheeseman includes all food, accommodation, lift pass and lessons. Digging your toes into the experience will result in the whole family improving their skiing and enjoying the comforts of mountain lodge accommodation.
Snowline Lodge is set up for groups, and is well known for families coming together from other parts of New Zealand for a week away together. Everyone is asked to help out with chores around the lodge,
What's best: Hook up with another family or two, and watch your kids get into the sport, with daily lessons and great terrain for the whole family.
Best time: Ski week last week of July or first two weeks of August.
Ideal number: Book the lodge out.
What to take: Sleeping gear for the lodge, some board games, a few good books and work if necessary. You can kit the kids out with skis and boots at rentals in the day lodge for the week.
How to get there: Drive through State Highway 73 up Porters Pass and turn at the access road to Mt Cheeseman. If you’re a group without a car, book transport with Smylies Transport.
Other activities: If it is cold and the ice is frozen on the rink at Forest Lodge, check out the ice skating by night.
Fun in the mountains - the best weekend at high altitude. The mountain comes alive on the weekend, a fun place for a wider group of friends to get together. You can either make the weekend something for yourselves or join in with one of the winter festivities, from whisky tasting, music into the early hours with Dowp’DowDow, a freeride competition weekend or join the SplitFest. Find out about all their events.
What’s best: Lamb shanks for dinner, a few craft beers to toast the weekend activities, and sunshine for the day's adventures. Pick for 2021 events Dowp’DowDow on Saturday 14 August and Splitfest 2-5 September.
Best time: Weekends for all the fun!
Ideal number: Group of 5-8 friends, two cars full.
What to take: Plenty of sun block, ski poles for the walk up, head torch, car keys in pocket (zipped up!), a good sleeping bag and après ski dress-up.
How to get there: State Highway 73, 10 minutes west of Arthur's Pass. Use the gears lift to take your gear up and allow for at least an hour to walk up. Do not leave valuables in the car overnight.
Other Activities: Stay on after the weekend for a couple of days to keep the stoke going.
Five day outing - Let's call this a boys week away, five days at the Burn, starting on a Sunday and rolling out through the week, having fun and skiing all over the resort. Craigieburn is well known for its vertical and steep terrain, alongside steep chutes and big run outs. There is also access to some big peaks along the range, some dropping to Big Bend below the car park. There are two great lodges, firstly, Wharamara Day Lodge is ideal for resting up and spying Middle basin and North Peak. Koroheke and Matuhi Lodges are nestled into the beech trees with a selection for beds, serving breakfast and dinner, plus there is a superb bar.
What’s best: Arriving to a snow storm and leaving to a snow storm.
Best time: Chance it as luck can play it’s part, or pick your snow storms, mid-August onward.
Ideal number: Four or more.
What to take: Two pair of skis, ski wax, day pack and snow safety gear, sleeping gear, a good book and a deck of cards.
How to get there: State Highway 73 turn off at Craigieburn Ski Area access road.
Other activities: Ski tour over to Broken River for an afternoon via Hamilton Peak.
Broken River has a collection of lodges on the mountain, housing their staff, clubbies and guests from around New Zealand. We’re recommending the long weekend to stay and ski at Broken River.
Lyndon Lodge is located at the top of the tramway and easy access to bring your gear up and settle in, but don’t be prepared to rest if you arrive Thursday or Friday, the tows run through to 4pm and you can strike it lucky with night skiing on Friday. Dinner is served at Lyndon Lodge, and the weekend kicks on with great club spirit throughout the day and plenty of skiing to be done. Palmer Day Lodge is at the base of the main ski area, and hosts pizza options for lunch, craft beer on the deck and great tunes to rest the body. The basin at Broken River is sheltered and allows for skiing in most weather conditions.
What’s best: Nightskiing with the snow falling and more fresh snow to ski at day break.
Best time: Late-August or early to mid-September.
Ideal number: Three or four keen skiers/snowboarders.
What to take: Ski wax, strong head torches, clear glasses or goggles, rope tow harness, snow safety gear including a day pack, tramping boots and a spare pair of socks.
How to get there: State Highway 73 turn off at Broken River, park at the carpark and take the tram to the top.
Other Activities: Sign up in one of Broken River's off-piste courses and learn to skills to ski confidently and flare off the groomed slopes. You'll have a blast!
Get away for a parent and child adventure! Have a battle and see who comes out on top!
An overnight with two days skiing at Porters is ideal for connecting with your growing kids. We love the Porters Lodges, it’s easy to get to with good access, great separate bunk rooms that can be booked privately, and a dining experience that suits the budget and palette. Porters Ski Area is 10 minutes up the access road, and offers terrain for all abilities, including chair lift and three T-bars to the top. In addition, the beauty of staying at Porters is the ability to get around the Craigieburn Range if you want to explore the view and other mountains.
What's best: Book a bunk room at Porters Lodge for yourselves.
Best time: Two or three day trip from late-July to mid-August.
Ideal number: Two or three.
What to take: Your own vehicle, ski boots and après ski outfits, and a deck of cards.
How to get there: State Highway 73 up Porters Pass and turn at the Porters Access Road.
Other activities: Do a private lesson together with a Porters instructor or explore another ski area like Cheeseman for the day.