Overall Rating

Craigieburn

Craigieburn3.5/57
Craigieburn3.5 out of 5 based on 7 reviews
  • Recommend
    100%
  • Would Revisit
    100%
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Craigieburn - Reviews

Craigieburn - Reviews

Craigieburn - August 2016

David28/09/2016
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Skier
  • Rider Level
    Expert
  • Rider Age
    18-35
  • Month Visited:
    August

Craigieburn - August 2016

David28/09/2016
After reading about Craigieburn on the Powderhounds site and knowing someone that previously worked there, we decided to finally head out and see what it was all about. This was our first time at a club ski field and after the week we had, it definitely won't be our last. Skiing at 'the clubbies' is quite unlike anything else, there are no chairlifts or groomers at Craigieburn and for the most part you are left to take care of yourself as there is a distinctive lack of a resort feeling, but in a good way.

The skiing itself was amazing, Craigieburn offered steep chutes, an open bowl and a large face that had a remote, backcountry feel to it. Depending on your line, some of the chutes were incredibly tight - including the line '210' which I found out, after skiing down, was named as such because it is only 210cm's wide.

We were extremely lucky with the snow conditions and were greeted with 15cm's of fresh snow on our first day and 20cm's on our last that stayed cold and soft for the entire day up top. On top of that we literally shared the mountain with only 8 people and didn't once have to worry about things being tracked out. Throughout the week the snow varied from powder to chalk to spring corn and everything in between. The only time we had to worry about bad conditions was on the final run home for the day as the bottom either turned to ice or became severely affected by rain.

Aside from the skiing there are a few things you should be aware of before heading there. Firstly, there is very little 'customer service'. If you have a problem, you generally have to work it out yourself. You also do your own dishes and washing etc. The staff there were great but it would be best to think about it like this - They are there to patrol the mountain and try and keep it open for as long as possible, essentially their obligation is towards the mountain, not to its guests. After the mountain has closed you can expect them to come and join you at dinner or at the bar as they have 'clocked off' for the day.

Secondly, you will need to come to terms with the fact that this is a club run mountain and they do things on their own terms. An example of this is during our week they decided to close the mountain for the day despite us already having paid for lift tickets in our package deal (they eventually let those who were staying on the mountain go up). Or for example if the staff have a big night at the bar, the mountain may open a couple of hours later than usual. Understanding that there is really no obligation to run according to schedule like a commercial resort will be useful when considering skiing here.

Thirdly, be prepared to feel a little bit like an outsider at the beginning. The club fields appear to be quite a close-knit crew so we felt a bit like we were intruding the first night of our stay. However everyone was really friendly and it was only that initial night that we felt that way. Soon after we knew everyone that was staying the week and often spent the night drinking pints up in the bar with both the guests and staff.

All in all, Craigieburn was an amazing experience and the skiing was exceptional with there being such a variation of terrain, it was easy to ski there the whole week without getting bored.

Craigieburn

Joshua Murison20/11/2015
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Skier
  • Rider Level
    Advanced
  • Rider Age
    12-17

Craigieburn

Joshua Murison20/11/2015
Awesome ski field.

Back to Basics Skiing for the Adventurer

Jason Smith24/10/2015
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Skier
  • Rider Level
    Advanced
  • Rider Age
    36-50
  • Month Visited:
    August

Back to Basics Skiing for the Adventurer

Jason Smith24/10/2015
I first skied Craigieburn in the '80's for a one day visit and then came back and stayed for a week. Coming from Australia, the snow depth, 3m with a 10cm fresh dusting of powder was something I'd never experienced.

There is a main lodge setup and sleeping huts scattered around the lodge. The club takes bookings for the week and you are allocated into a team to do odd jobs around the place. Food gets brought up twice during the week and you might find yourself cleaning the toilets one day, preparing lunch the next (if you stay in the club week booking vs just dropping by for a ski).

This is definitely basics skiing, but the mountain, and the people are just sensational. Its only small and its a bit daunting getting past the first rope tow bend at the bottom (they put a curve in it due to avalanches) but once you stand atop Hamilton Face, its a pretty decent drop. The traverse over to the other bowl is worth doing and you can pick your own line and freshies. It is a bit of a pain to hike back to the rope tow so you find you only do it a couple of times a day.

It does avalanche here so be careful. I've skied the Queenstown fields, Hutt, Heli-Skied Harris Mountains and Craigieburn. Craigieburn is the field etched in my mind. Hutt is pretty impressive as is Treble Cone but make sure you ski Craigieburn once in your life.

The Big One. Nuf said.

Dom09/10/2012
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Telemarker
  • Rider Level
    Advanced
  • Rider Age
    18-35

The Big One. Nuf said.

Dom09/10/2012
Not for the faint of heart, this amazing clubfield is a must for the adventurous. Ski ability is not as relevant as your willingness to try something new. And you will be amply rewarded. Black, double black, triple black. Take your pick!

You definitely need some recent snow as no snowmaking means it can be pretty bare in between drinks as we found out this season. But when it's on, well you can't beat it. Least not in NZ.

The terrain is wicked and there are endless hiking and backcountry options for the true skier. Skiing as it used to and ought to be. Rope tow, ie no carpets or lifts means no crowds, and if you're lucky fresh runs all day...that's right, all day. I remember hiking Hamilton for the last run of the day one season and laughing all the way down as I got chased off by patrol. The quintessential club field.

Steep!

Chris Barnett20/01/2011
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Skier
  • Rider Level
    Advanced
  • Rider Age
    36-50

Steep!

Chris Barnett20/01/2011
The power team (which I am an original member) has been attending this amazing ski area for over 20 years now and more to come no doubt. I think Glen Plake has a lot to answer for when he visited this place in the early 90's and we just had to come here to check it out for ourselves back in ‘92.

This is the holy grail of skiing in NZ indeed! The skiing is epic, and every time you come back and look up, you’re quickly reminded of how steep it is! The clubbies and staff make you very welcome, and if you’re considering trying heli-skiing for the first time, it would be a recommendation to come and ski here first to test your legs!

On a good day, you can ski to Broken River, and on a day where it's snowed like crazy, you can hear the "Whoops" all the way down the valleys. Skiing from the Middle Basin Chutes to Big Bend is an amazing long run and leg burner! The motto is "missions before treat", with the 20min walk up Hamilton’s (snow depth dependant), and skiing big fast turns on Hamilton’s face to the guts!

If you are a novice, learning the ropes here on a snowy day, it is freaking hard! I have seen many people (including myself) get frustrated on the first day learning to ride them! However as a regular here now, I've earned the right to laugh at them now (under my breath of course)!!! Don't come to this place and acting like Mr teflon, as your attitude will be not tolerated! Treat people and the mountain with respect, as it will bite back!

Lastly, I have seen plenty of inbounds avalanches. I think it’s a good idea to either hire or buy some avi gear! All-in-all, this is one of the most amazing places I've ever skied anywhere in the world!

Epic Steeps in Rustic NZ

Sunstone28/07/2010
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Skier
  • Rider Level
    Expert
  • Rider Age
    18-35

Epic Steeps in Rustic NZ

Sunstone28/07/2010
If you want to get away from the crowds and ski some of the most accessible 40-45 degree chute skiing in the world - right off the tow, huge powder bowls and even some tree-skiing (rare for NZ)come check out the 'Burn'!

Great lodge to stay in set amongst beautiful NZ Beech forest, the tow system (archaiac as it might be) gives you huge access to slackcountry and backcountry terrain. The legendary ski over to Broken River in which you can use your lift pass is well worth it, as is hiking up Mount Hamilton and skiing the 600m vertical Middle Basin down to 'big bend' corner and walking 20 mins back to the bottom tow.

A must do ski field on your road trip - come ski the big one.

Paul Swettenham - Craigieburn lifer
www.sunstoneadventures.com

Steep, Deep and Cheap

POWDERHOUNDS.COM15/07/2010
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Skier
  • Rider Level
    Expert
  • Rider Age
    36-50

Steep, Deep and Cheap

POWDERHOUNDS.COM15/07/2010
This is definitely not a mountain suited to beginners, intermediates, families (unless they are super hard-core!) or anyone looking for a day spa, shopping, or a sleigh ride! Craigieburn is the best New Zealand ski area for experts with challenging chutes, steeps, and triple black runs rated as “suicidal”! It’s well suited to those who love off-piste backcountry type skiing and boarding, and those with a propensity to hike to earn the turns. The Powderhounds have voted Craigieburn as the best ski area in NZ for powderhounds (which is based on factors such as powder, likelihood of lunchtime freshies, lack of crowds, and challenging terrain). Pending weather and snowpack stability, the ability to schuss over to Broken River is another plus.

Other pros include: good après; great social atmosphere if you stay on-mountain; snow quality (by New Zealand standards); and plentiful backcountry access.

Like many other NZ club fields cons include: a primitive (yet effective) lift system; no frills and minimal facilities; basic on-mountain accommodation; limited transport options to get there; and a gnarly access road. Other cons: hardest nutcrackers in NZ to learn on considering the initial steep pitch; the potential for lift lines on weekends; and if you’re not as hot a skier as Glen Plake, then Craigieburn might not be as welcoming as some of the other club fields.