Mount Hutt Resort Guide

Nestled in the Southern Alps overlooking the Canterbury Plains, Mount Hutt is the largest resort in the Canterbury region. Having won New Zealand Resort of the year 7 years in a row (2015-2022), Mt Hutt should be on your list if you’re planning a trip to the region.
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Mount Hutt Resort Guide

Mount Hutt is one of the closest fields to Christchurch (Porters Alpine Resort the closest), and the only with significant lift-accessed terrain. However, it’s not cheap, at $159NZD for a day pass, and can be fairly busy on weekends or powder days (although, if you’re used to North American crowds it may seem fairly relaxed). Plenty of good groomed runs for intermediates who enjoy that kind of thing, and probably the best beginner slope in Canterbury.

Getting there 

Driving from Christchurch: Makes for a long day, as it’s roughly 2 hours from Christchurch to the top parking lot (longer if chains required) but as New Zealand’s second largest city, there are simply more options for travelers here. If you do drive and you don’t have a 4WD, carrying chains is a must. I am sure many people don’t, but I always do. If the conditions change and you haven’t planned ahead, be prepared to be the sheepish guy on the side of the road waiting for patrol to come rescue you. Don’t be someone else’s problem, and bring chains. 

If you don’t own snow chains, these can usually be rented from the base of the mountain when they are required. In my experience however, this is hit and miss. On a handful of occasions when I have arrived and required chains, there has been no one there to rent them out. The $50 is steep too. If you end up needing chains, I would suggest just parking at the bottom and hitching a ride to the top. People are generally pretty friendly, you likely won’t wait long!

If you want to rent chains, McEwings Ski and Snowboard Hire are on the way out of town, and open fairly early. Never had a problem here, quick service, and good prices. 

If you don’t want to drive, you can join the Mount Hutt Ride Share Facebook group and organise a ride with other friendly folk driving up that day. It’s pretty common to contribute 20$ for petrol, which makes it more economical and usually more convenient than the next option, which is the bus. 

Bus: Snowman Shuttles operates a daily shuttle from Christchurch to the Resort, departing from the Christchurch Bus Exchange at 7:10AM, and returning at 4:00PM. It's not the most affordable option at 60$ per person for a return journey, but it will get you there and back, without much hassle. I'd love to see prices for this drop a touch, which would make it a much more attractive option. Worth noting that if you're chasing powder and fresh tracks, the shuttle won't get you on the snow before 9:30AM.

Another option is staying in Methven, which is a small rural town 15 minutes from the access road. If you do, there are some lovely hot pools (with a swim up bar) to soak in after a day on the slopes.

More on the access road

It is worth noting that as with all resorts in New Zealand (with the exception of Coronet Peak in Queenstown which boasts a wonderful sealed road to the lodge), all access roads are gravel, and navigate alpine environments. You don’t need a 4WD even if it’s snowing, as long as you have chains and some experience driving in snow. In saying that, it is steep in places, so if you’re not feeling confident you can hitch a lift from the bottom.

If there has been fresh snow overnight, this is what the access road will look like. Stay safe!

The Mountain

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Mount Hutt is serviced by 3 lifts, accessing over 900 acres of skiable terrain.

Beginners: Easily the best beginner slope in NZ with good progression into green runs via the Nor’west Express 8 seater chair. If you’ve never been on the snow before, then Mount Hutt is your best bet. 

Intermediate: There are good intermediate runs for those seeking to improve their riding, from narrower 'cat tracks' to more expansive offerings. I can't help but feel anyone who has experienced this sort of riding overseas may be somewhat disappointed, but there's certainly enough for a weekend. The benefit of Mount Hutt is that it has the largest amount of groomed trails in the Canterbury region, which means even without fresh snow there is plenty to do.

Advanced: A majority of the advanced riding can be found on the South Face or Towers, which make up a majority of the western side of the mountain. These options will require you to either traverse a significant distance, or either skin/hike, but it'll be well worth your time and effort once you see the chutes on offer.

I mean look at it.