In addition to the main New Zealand ski resorts, NZ has many ‘club ski fields’ which are open to the public even though they are owned and operated by a ski club. Whilst the majority of these “resorts” are quite small, they all offer unique experiences with interesting configurations of lifts and terrain. The club fields are a great way to get away from the crowds and find your own little powder stash.

The club fields of Canterbury have major benefits such as on-snow accommodation, uncrowded slopes, no lift queues, and cheap lift tickets. The likelihood of fresh tracks on a powder day (or the next day) is much higher than at the commercial resorts. Disadvantages may include basic facilities such as the lack of lift infrastructure and having to negotiate surface tows such as nutcrackers. (For information about how to use negotiate these rope tows, see our how to use a nutcracker ropetow page). Most of the ski fields have patrollers and may employ a couple of ski instructors.

The terrain is varied but commonly the ski fields are suited to intermediate to advanced skiers and boarders. A couple of the club fields have small groomers for beginners (e.g. Mt Cheeseman), but most of the areas are ungroomed. Most club fields also have a degree of back-country skiing accessed with short hikes.

The accommodation is generally pretty basic but very cheap. The accommodation may be shared, and you are likely to have to complete some chores. Food is generally included and some have licensed bars whilst others are BYO. The major bonus of club field accommodation is that much of it is ski-in ski-out. Yippee!

There are two club fields on the North Island which are Tukino on Mount Ruapehu, and Manganui on Mount Egmont.

There are many more club ski fields on the South Island. The Craigieburn Range has four club fields; Craigieburn Valley, Mt Cheeseman, Broken River and Mount Olympus. Temple Basin Ski Area is a 2 hour drive from Christchurch near Arthur’s Pass. Hanmer Springs is near the Hanmer Springs thermal resort in North Canterbury.

Fox Peak is in South Canterbury, 2.5 hours drive south west of Christchurch.

For a comparison of the club fields in regards to size, mix of terrain, elevation, ski vertical and cost, see our NZ ski statistics comparison document.