North Canterbury boasts a beautiful resort that promotes itself as New Zealand’s sunniest snow park, where the atmosphere is charged with the excitement of winter fun.
Mt Lyford also has the distinction of being one of New Zealand’s first true alpine developments. Below the ski field is a picturesque village of log chalets, which includes a subdivision known as Mt Lyford Wilderness Retreat. Avid winter sports enthusiasts can enjoy the unique benefits of a private holiday home only minutes from a ski field.
This field is a favourite with families as it has great facilities for learners and a variety of challenging runs for the more experienced. Services include a kindergarten, the ‘Chamois Café’, day shelter lodge, ski and board rentals, heli-skiing on demand and skidoo hire. Alternative activities are less than an hours drive away – whale watching in Kaikoura, jet boating and bungy jumping at the Waiau Bridge and soaking luxuriously in the hot pools at Hanmer Springs.
The field is open from June to October and embraces an area of 180 hectares with a high point of 1,750 metres. Snow ratings are 30% beginner, 40% intermediate and 30% advanced, and lifting capacity is provided by 2 pomas, 2 platters, 1 fixed grip and 1 rope tow. Snowboarding is catered for with the ‘Wild Ride’ terrain park and a great natural half-pipe, as well as tubing and tobogganing areas. You can stay overnight in rustic log cabins set amidst the beautiful beech forest, or in the spectacular Mt Lyford Lodge, the largest log building in New Zealand.
Road access is off Highway 70 between Kaikoura and Waiau. The 8 km unsealed road passes through the Lake Stella area, and ends at the Terako ski field car park. A shuttle bus operates from Kaikoura, Waiau and Hanmer Springs.
Mt Lyford prides itself on its ability to give visitors ‘a natural high’ and the field has every possible amenity to make this happen.