Mt Dobson Lifts & Terrain

Our Terrain Ratings

Powderhound rating = advanced/expert terrain + powder + freshies + uncrowded

Our Terrain Ratings

Powderhound rating = advanced/expert terrain + powder + freshies + uncrowded

  • Vertical (m)
     1,600 – 2,030 (430)
  • Average Snow Fall
    ?  metres
  • Lifts (4)
    1 Triple
  • Ski Hours
    9:00am to 4:00pm
  • Terrain Summary
    Runs – 14
    Advanced - 25%
    Intermediate - 50%
    Beginner - 25%

Mt Dobson Ski and Snowboard Terrain

Mt Dobson has 400 hectares of skiable terrain within a 3km wide alpine basin that is roughly divided into two sides. There are only 14 runs, but the ski area feels large because there is a complete lack of crowds. On weekdays it’s practically deserted!

The terrain is mainly suited to young families, novices and lower end intermediates. Mt Dobson is OK for confident intermediates and advanced riders for two to three days of entertainment, particularly if snow conditions are good.

Mt Dobson Lifts

Whilst it’s lovely to ride on a chair lift rather than a t-bar (or worse still a nutcracker!), the triple chair at Mt Dobson is painfully slow. The ride takes 10 minutes and it doesn’t cover much vertical. The chair lift services the left hand side of the ski area (lookers’ left).

The right hand side of the ski area (lookers’ right) has a long t-bar that has three different exit points. The first-timer area is serviced by a little ropetow and the beginners slope has a platter lift.

Lift Tickets

Lift ticket rates are much cheaper than at other commercial NZ resorts, and comparable with those found at the NZ club fields. Lift passes are significantly discounted for beginners who are only using one or two of the lifts. They also provide other discounts such as Monday mates day (2 for the price of 1) and Tuesday chicks day (half price).

Another plus for Mt Dobson is the snow warranty, where you can go out riding in the morning and if the snow conditions are not to your liking, you can get a refund voucher prior to 10:30am.

Weather and Snow Conditions

The south west facing basin catches the sun. This is nice for the beginners and intermediates on the groomed slopes, but can result in the off-piste areas having highly variable snow conditions. The high altitude helps to maintain reasonable snow quality, but at times the snow is sun-baked or mashed potatoes.

The annual snowfall statistic is not cited by Mt Dobson, but a guesstimate would put the snowfall in the realm of 3-4 metres of snow per season. Powder days are not a frequent occurrence, but when they do occur, the lack of crowds is a huge plus for powderhounds.

During dry seasons there may be rocks poking through the snow, although the owners do a reasonable job at summer grooming.

Like other treeless NZ ski areas, Mt Dobson is at the mercy of the fickle weather, and the ski area sits on the edge of the mountain range so it’s particularly exposed. Closures due to rain, high wind, or lack of visibility are a possibility.

For the Beginners

Beginners have a very short walk up from the ticket office to the dedicated learners’ area. First timers or little kids can use the ropetow and then progress onto the wide groomed mellow slope that is serviced by the platter lift.

Intermediate Skiing and Boarding

Mt Dobson has various trails on both sides of the ski area for intermediates. Mt Dobson does a pretty impressive job with the grooming considering they only have two grooming machines, although sometimes even on a clear day it’s a bit difficult to see the outline of the groomed trail. Most of the blue runs are not marked, so timid intermediates should keep their wits about them.

Advanced Riding at Mt Dobson

Mt Dobson doesn’t have any groomed black runs but has lots of off-piste areas in which to play. The natural half pipe under the chair lift is a favourite. The best advanced terrain is accessed from the top of the t-bar, and a long traverse may be required to get to the freshies.

Experts may enjoy playing in the off-piste for a while, but there are no super steeps or challenging chutes to keep experts entertained for very long.

For the Powderhound

Pending snowpack stability, adventurous powderhounds can climb to the peak of Mount Dobson and take in the majestic views across Lake Tekapo, Lake Pukaki, and the big kahuna, Mt Cook. From here, the off-piste ride down to the groomers can be impressive on a powder day.