The closest commercial ski field to Christchurch also boasts the steepest downhill run in New Zealand.

Porter Heights is a mecca for serious powder hounds who rave about the challenging steeps of Big Mama and Bluff Face, dropping an awesome 670 vertical metres. As if this is not enough, there are legendary backcountry touring runs off the summit ridge and through Crystal Valley. Snowboarders looking for a bit of air are well catered for with carefully groomed jumps and tabletops.

Porter Heights is remarkably friendly, and people you meet on the T-Bars are wearing a smile. There’s great value for money here, and on certain days you can buy two lift tickets for the price of one. The field has comprehensive services including a cafeteria, hire equipment, daily shuttle services, ski and snowboard school, and a ski club. The Ski Club Lodge provides dinner, bed and breakfast accommodation throughout the season at good rates. The view from the highest point of 1,980 metres encompasses much of the Southern Alps, with majestic Mt Cook seeming surprisingly close and Lake Coleridge sparkling at your feet.

The normal season is from June to October with regular snowfalls from westerly and southerly weather patterns. Snow ratings are 20% beginner, 40% intermediate and 40% advanced. Lifts comprise 3 T-Bars, 1 platter and 1 grip tow. Road access is straightforward. You follow the West coast Highway (S.H.73) over Porter’s Pass, drive past Lake Lyndon to the turnoff, and climb 6 km to the car park. The Porter Heights Alpine Lodge is just five minutes below the car park. This modern complex has 6 bunkrooms and is fully serviced with its own resident manager and qualified chef.

The ski field staff pledge ‘to make fun in the snow enjoyable and affordable’. With the field so accessible to Christchurch, and exhilarating steep descents like Big Mama and Bluff Face, enjoyment is assured.