Ohau Ski Field

Ohau Ski Field NZ
The chair lift runs up the middle of the basin
It's easy to get fresh tracks on a powder day
Ohau NZ
A magic carpet for the kids learning area
The Lake Ohau Lodge is in a beautiful setting beside the lake
The hot tubs at the Lake Ohau Lodge
No crowds on a powder day
Views across Lake Ohau
Views from the top of the Ohau Ski Field
The views from the top are amazing
Ohau has some fantastic sidecountry/backcountry
More freshies in-bounds!
Ohau New Zealand
The access road is somewhat typical of NZ ski fields
Ohau has some snowmaking facilities
The car park is just steps from the day lodge and the slopes
Easy to get freshies at Ohau ski field NZ
Ohau NZ has plenty of interesting terrain features
Ohau skiing

Ohau Ski Field

Readers Ratings


Ohau3.5 out of 5 based on 6 reviews
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Ohau Ski Field NZ

Ohau Snow Fields is a fun little NZ ski area that is somewhat of a hidden gem. With an absence of crowds at the Ohau Ski Field, powder hounds can enjoy plenty of freshies, so the usual saying of “no friends on powder days” does not apply. And the vibe is so sociable, especially at the Lake Ohau Lodge, that everyone becomes an instant friend! Considering the friendly atmosphere of the Ohau ski field, you could be forgiven for thinking that it is a club field even though it’s a commercial ski field.

The ski field name originates from the nearby Lake Ohau. Ohau means “windy place”, and whilst the Ohau ski area is occasionally afflicted by some blustery weather, the much more obvious characteristic of the area is the gorgeous views of the turquoise lake and the surrounding mountains.

Pros and Cons of Ohau NZ


  • Oh how you’ll love Ohau, especially if you stay at the Lake Ohau Lodge. It’s a pretty magical place with a friendly vibe and amazing views.
  • The ski field also offers fantastic views across Lake Ohau.
  • It’s a great inexpensive alternative to the big commercial ski resorts. The never-ever and development packages that include lift, equipment hire, and lesson are particularly cheap.
  • Ohau is rather family oriented.
  • With the possible exception of the school holidays, the slopes are very uncrowded.
  • The chairlift is luxurious compared to the nutcrackers or T-bars found at comparable ski fields.
  • The snow making facilities increase the reliability of the snow field in early season.
  • For those willing to earn their turns, there is some great sidecountry/backcountry.


Many of the cons are shared by most other NZ ski fields:

  • There is no on-mountain accommodation necessitating a drive up the mountain each day.
  • The Ohau ski field has an unpaved access road minus any safety barriers that may keep your knuckles white the whole way up and down.
  • Major inconsistency with regards to the snow quality
  • Lack of trees so there’s potential for impaired visibility and exposure to the weather
  • Small terrain size is common across the South Island of NZ, but Ohau is particularly petite.
  • Most of the terrain is ungroomed so if the snow conditions turn sour, the skiable terrain becomes very small.

Ohau Ski and Snowboard Terrain

The Ohau ski area is contained within one valley and is reasonably petite at only 125 hectares. However the skier to hectare ratio is also incredibly small so you don’t have to share the powder with the crowds. Sweet as!

The Ohau ski field terrain is incredibly interesting with lots of rocks to huck off and different nooks and crannies in which to play. There are a few groomed runs, but most of the terrain is off-piste.

The ability level split of the trails is 20% beginner, 50% intermediate and 30% advanced terrain. Novices have two dedicated areas whilst intermediates can cruise down a couple of groomers or test themselves on various off-piste runs. Advanced riders can hit the fringes of the ski area, although a degree of traversing is required for the short but sweet runs. Or those happy to earn their turns can hike (or tramp as the kiwis call it!) up to the top of the Ridge Run. If you’re gasping for air at the top you can stop and pretend to take in the spectacular views of the Southern Alps!

Ohau has a fixed grip double chairlift that services most of the terrain, a magic carpet for the first-timers, and a platter lift for the other dedicated beginners’ area.

The Ohau infrastructure includes snow-making cannons and grooming for a few main trails.

Where is Ohau Snow Fields?

Ohau ski area is located in the Mackenzie District near the southwest shore of Lake Ohau. Ohau is 320 km (3.5 hours) southwest of Christchurch and not far from the Mt Cook region.

The turn off the main highway to Ohau NZ is between the small towns of Omarama and Twizel (13km from Twizel). The Lake Ohau Lodge is 22km (15 mins) from the turn-off on a sealed road, and then the actual ski area is a further 9.6km (15 mins) up the mountain on a hairy yet well maintained gravel (metal) road.

Lake Ohau Lodge

A highlight of an Ohau ski experience is to stay at the Ohau Lodge near the shores of the lake. Definitely don’t conjure up images of the lodge being like a NZ club field lodge with very basic accommodation standards and chores to be completed each day. The Lake Ohau Lodge is sooooo much better. It is more like a large hotel with great facilities, exceptional hospitality, and upscale restaurant meals, yet it has the incredibly friendly culture of a ski lodge.

The Lake Ohau Lodge has different standards of accommodation including standard hotel rooms, family suites and deluxe queen rooms. Features of the lodge include a vibrant bar, a really social atmosphere, great food, hot tubs, and views of the lake and Aoraki Mt Cook. See our Ohau Lodge page for more information.

Ohau Ski Field Facilities

The Ohau ski resort facilities and services are somewhat basic, but more than adequate for the essentials. The small day lodge has a canteen (including the all important espresso coffee machine!) and a great deck to take in the views. Ohau also provides very inexpensive ski and snowboard lessons, and ski and snowboard hire.
Tours That May Include Ohau

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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South Island Snow Safari
7 Days | 6 Nights | 6 Skiing | 6 Resorts
Ability: Beginner to Advanced
This 7 day adventure is ideal for the young at heart who want to pack in as much skiing or snowboarding and fun as possible into a single week. You will visit up to 6 of NZ's great ski areas with professional hosts who will get you to the best skiing/snowboarding in each of the locations.
Price p/p From price based on multi-share "lift only" package for 2020.
Base/invoice currency is in NZD.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
USD 1,279
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See all Safari (Road Trip) tours that visit Ohau here

Single-Base, Multi-Ski-Area Tours

Wanaka Explorer
Fully Hosted & Guided | All Ground Transport Included
Ability: Intermediate to Advanced
Take all of the organising out of your next NZ ski or snowboarding trip by joining an Explore Wanaka package tour. Packages include accommodation of various levels/budget, daily on-mountain hosting, transport to/from Queenstown airport to your accommodation plus daily 4x4 transport with your host to/from the mountains.
Price p/p "From" price is based on 3-night, twin-share, 3-star accommodation package.
Base/invoice currency is NZD
Displayed prices may vary slightly to fluctuations in exchange rates
USD 1,088
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Wanaka Heli & Resort Combo
2 Days Heli | 3 Days Resort
Ability: Strong Intermediate to Expert
Head to Wanaka this winter and experience some of the best value heli skiing on the planet plus Wanaka's best resorts. This package can be customised from 3+ nights however the sample is based on 7-nights deluxe lodging, 2 days heli + 3 days resort.
Price p/p "From" price is based on 7-night, twin-share, package.
Base/invoice currency is NZD
Displayed prices may vary slightly to fluctuations in exchange rates
USD 4,416
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See all Single-Base, Multi-Ski-Area tours that visit Ohau here

Heli Skiing Tours

Ski The Tasman - Classic 2 Run Day
2 massive runs of 8 - 10 km each!
Ability: Intermediate to Expert
A Ski the Tasman odyssey should definitely be on your bucket list! The inimitable opportunity to go plane skiing on a glacier with two million years of history is an activity not to be missed. This is without doubt one of the most incredible experiences you will ever have!!! Share
Price p/p Base/invoice currency is inc NZD.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
USD 762
View Details
 40% discount: was $NZ1190, now $699 if you book by July 31
See all Heli Skiing tours that visit Ohau here