Broken River Ski Field

Broken River New Zealand
The "cable car" to get up to the ski field
Broken River day lodge
Broken River ski field
Broken River Accommodation
Plenty of wide open terrain
An uncrowded NZ ski field
Lots of off-piste terrain
Dramatic views from the day lodge
Broken River: almost deserted!
Ski Broken River
Big Mountain Terrain
Broken River NZ
Broken River Ski and Snowboard Terrain
Relaxing in the sun at the day lodge
It's easy to ski fresh powder at Broken River
Broken River New Zealand
Broken River NZ
Nutcracker Ropetow
Broken River Ski Field

Broken River Ski Field

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Broken River

Broken River3.5/54
Broken River3.5 out of 5 based on 4 reviews
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Broken River ski area is a New Zealand club field that caters to those with an adventurous spirit. It’s a complete no frills “ski resort” where there is not a day spa or boutique in sight.

Broken River has a remote backcountry feel to it with great ski terrain, uncrowded slopes and good quality snow. However the Broken River experience isn’t just about the skiing and boarding. It’s a place where you can experience the traditional “skiwi” culture, with back-to-basics fun and a friendly atmosphere minus the hardcore attitude.

Broken River is a bit of a hidden gem amongst the Canterbury club fields. Its next door neighbour, Craigieburn ski area, seems to get all the international attention whilst BR flies under the radar. Broken River has the same great snow as Craigieburn Valley. The only differences are that BR has less suicidal runs and some milder terrain making it more suitable for families or people who don’t need to constantly scare themselves. BR also has fewer visitors than Craigieburn, so the fresh powder lasts longer.

And one of the best things about BR is that it’s the ski field most likely to remain open in the Canterbury region. The road is less inclined to be closed because it’s not prone to avalanches, and the ski area itself can remain open on windy days because the bowls are generally protected from the prevailing winds. Broken River doesn’t have the nickname of Mt Shut!

Broken River Ski and Snowboard Terrain

Broken River consists of two large bowls that are sheltered from the wind and catch the powder. The Broken River ski area is serviced by five high capacity rope-tows, two of which are suitable for learners. Much of the terrain is suitable for advanced and expert riders with steep basins, chutes, drop-offs and other slopes for the adventurous. A substantial component of the terrain is ideal for off-piste intermediate skiers and boarders. There is also a small beginners’ area near the day lodge, although this probably isn’t the best place for complete novices because it’s too tricky to get up to the beginners’ area.

If the 300 hectares at BR isn’t enough for you, take a short hike (in the right conditions) and head over to Craigieburn for a few runs. There are also ski touring opportunities from Broken River.

Where is Broken River?

Broken River ski area is located in the Craigieburn Range adjacent to Craigieburn Valley ski area, 110km (90 mins) north-west of Christchurch. The access road off highway 73 has the potential to be somewhat perilous; the type you don’t take a campervan on. If you don’t want to undertake the drive yourself there are a couple of private transport operators. From the car park you can catch the inclinometer cable car (which is very progressive for a club field!), and from there you have to take a 15 minute hike up to the first tow. Consider this as a little warm-up for the day’s activities.

See our getting to Broken River page for more information.


There are three levels of very affordable Broken River accommodation ranging from backpackers to basic, with differing degrees of catering provided. The lodges are generally ski-in and are only a 5-10 minute walk to the bottom tow. Staying on-mountain is all part of the experience. Alternatively you can stay in Springfield, Castle Hill or at the nearby Flockhill Lodge.

Broken River Facilities

The facilities are somewhat basic and typical of a NZ club field. Broken River provides very inexpensive ski and snowboard instruction and there is a day lodge which has a canteen selling basic lunches, snacks and drinks. Ski and snowboard equipment hire is not available on-mountain, but those without a nutcracker harness can borrow one from the lift ticket office. Don’t expect any other frills such as shops, massage services (unless you BYO) or sleigh rides!

Why Ski or Snowboard at Broken River?

Broken River is a good all rounder as far as club fields go. So long as you don’t need any flashy resort trimmings, or are a first-timer, BR is the place to go for an inexpensive ski trip. For families it’s particularly good, especially considering that all kids under the age of 13 ski for free making it cheap as chips!

Broken River doesn’t have the range of gnarly terrain that can be found at Craigieburn and BR may not be “The Big One”, but they are certainly “The Friendly One”.
Tours That May Include Broken River

Safari (Road Trip) Tours

South Island Snow Odyssey
11 Nights | 11 Days Riding at 10 Areas
Ability: Intermediate to Advanced
Take an odyssey of the South Island to the best New Zealand ski fields ranging from big commercial ski resorts to club field gems with barely any crowds. No need to worry about driving or organising anything as your host looks after all the logistics.
Price p/p From price based on quad share option.
Base/invoice currency is in NZD.
Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
Base/invoice currency is in NZD.
Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
USD 2,111
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See all Safari (Road Trip) tours that visit Broken River here

Single-Base, Multi-Ski-Area Tours

Clubbies Snow Hunter Safari
4 Nights | Up to 5 Days Skiing/Riding
Ability: Strong Intermediate to Expert
Wanting a MAXIMUM ski or snowboard adventure in NZ this year? This FULLY CUSTOMISABLE tour (from 2 nights) might be just the ticket! Based in Methven or Castle Hill, you will chase the best snow each day at Mt Olympus, Craigieburn, Broken River & Mt Cheeseman with an expert local guide, 4 X 4 & driver.
Price p/p From price based on twin-share (group of 4).
Base/invoice currency is in NZD.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
USD 1,023
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Clubbie Max Pack Day Tours
Min group 2 people
Ability: Intermediate to Expert
If you are heading to Methven this ski season and you want to explore the fabulous Canterbury Club Fields (Mt Olympus, Craigieburn, Broken River & Mt Cheeseman), book a Clubbie Max Pack Day Tour which includes driver/guide/instructor, 4x4 vehicle, lift pass, lunch, rope tow harness, avo beacon & on-mountain guiding.
Price p/p From price based on min group of 2. 10% discount for groups greater than 2.
Base/invoice currency is in NZD.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
USD 211
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See all Single-Base, Multi-Ski-Area tours that visit Broken River here

Heli Skiing Tours

High Peak Heliski & Clubbie Combo
5 Nights Lodging | 3 Days Heli | 2 Days Club Fields
Ability: Strong Intermediate to Expert
This deluxe package includes 3 epic days heliskiing in the Arrowsmiths + 2 days guided off-piste at the Canterbury club fields + 5 nights deluxe lodging, all ground transport, all gourmet meals, open bar...and more....
Price p/p From price based on 5-nights twin/double-share during peak season inc. 3-days heli + 2-days guided off-piste.
Base/invoice currency is in NZD.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
USD 3,837
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See all Heli Skiing tours that visit Broken River here