12 Day Snow Odyssey
Forget the mass market commercial ski fields in Queenstown. Our 12 day South Island Snow Odyssey takes you on an incredible journey, getting you deep inside a range of smaller, intimate South Island ski fields. Mountains such as Temple Basin, Broken River and Craigieburn may sound unfamiliar now, but we guarantee you will fall in love with them!
*Suitable for intermediate/advanced skiers / boarders only.
Day 1: Christchurch to Porter Heights
We depart Haka Lodge at 7am and pick up our hire gear (for those that need it) en-route to Porter Heights, known for its relaxed and friendly atmosphere.
Porter’s lifts run up two distinct valleys: Big Mama (which towers above the right of the base area) and Bluff Face (which towers above the left). At 620m, Big Mama boasts one of the largest vertical drops in one lift-accessed run in New Zealand. Easy backcountry riding is available from the top of the T3 T-Bar.
For the next 3 nights, we stay in Springfield, a snow sports enthusiast’s haven, complete with relaxing pool.
Day 2: Mt Olympus
Mt Olympus ski area, dubbed ‘the playground of the gods’, is the first of many club ski fields you will experience on tour. The area is a south facing basin set high in the Craigieburn Range - perfect for trapping powder dumps. 450m of vertical drops over 60 hectares of varied terrain provide skiing and riding from beginner to extreme.
From the top of the Main Tow and the Top Tow there are plenty of choices with terrain to suit intermediates or the most advanced skiers. A little walking from the Top Tow opens up even more terrain in this wide open bowl. With the relatively low skier numbers and the choice of terrain, it can take up to a week to get tracks on some slopes!
Don’t worry if you have not ridden tows before – our Tour Manager will help you with your technique and most people take a few times to get it right; it’s all part of the experience! Tow protection gloves provided.
Day 3: Temple Basin
Our day starts off with a 45 minute walk from the car park, taking in some of the most spectacular views of the Arthurs Pass National Park, Mt Rolleston and the surrounding mountains.
Temple Basin, the club, was founded in 1929 and still has that pioneering feel and represents a true alpine environment at the heart of Arthur's Pass National Park. We leave those who prefer groomed slopes, a chairlift and latte’s at home. Renowned for its steep and big mountain terrain, you have the choice of three tows: Cassidy (sunny smooth runs), Temple (faster & steeper) and Downhill (ridgeline and advances terrain). We can also check out the awesome chutes at Bills Basin and the popular backcountry area of Mingha Valley.
Day 4: Craigieburn
For big mountain skiing, Craigieburn has a well-deserved cult following among Kiwis. Steep and deep, with wide open powder bowls and lofty narrow chutes accessed by three high capacity rope tows servicing a vertical rise of 503m, Craigeburn leaves little to be desired.
Terrain at Craigieburn Valley is varied, exciting and challenging, with the infamous 600m vertical descent of Middle Basin (which is often compared to a heli-skiing experience) accessible by a short traverse from the tow. Craigieburn Valley offers something for everyone - except beginners.
And when you come off the hill at the end of a big day, we will grab a well-earned drink at the ultra-cosy Craigeburn Lodge which is also our accommodation for the next two nights.
Day 5: Broken River
Get ready for a true adventure at Broken River. This ski field was born in the early 1950s when the founding members were only 20 and 28 years old. Their hard work and dedication brings you this now well-established ski field.
The terrain here consists of a large open basin serviced by five electrically driven, high capacity rope tows. The highest point is 1820 metres and the total vertical is 420 metres, with lots of off-piste terrain available. A short trek offers access to the back basins, Craigieburn Valley and some incredible terrain. After exploring Broken River, we ski back into Craigeburn for our second night at Craigeburn Lodge.
Day 6: Lake Tekapo
Today is an allocated non-ski day but this is totally weather dependent; if it has dumped, or if we have missed a ski day on days 1-5, we'll get in a half days skiing on the way to Tekapo.
We depart Craigeburn Lodge after breakfast and head south stopping for a hot drink on the road.
We then make our way to beautiful Lake Tekapo where we can check out a salmon farm for super fresh sushi, take a walk around the lake or just relax. This evening how about a night time star gazing tour at Mt John, an international dark sky reserve that showcases the southern night sky through super powerful telescopes.
Optional Add-Ons • Scenic Flight
Day 7: Mt Dobson
This morning we wake up alongside the turquoise Lake Tekapo, just a stone’s throw from Mt Dobson ski field. This mountain is famous for its all day sun, stunning scenery, groomed trails and an awesome off-piste … what more could we ask for?
Like many of the mountains we have visited, Mt Dobson also has that laid back and friendly Kiwi vibe, along with some really cool features like the large natural half pipe and miles of untracked snow. Mt Dobson is a definite treat for those wanting to explore uncrowded trails.
A rope tow, platter, T-Bar and triple chairlift provide access to a variety of intermediate and advanced runs serving 14 trails over an area of 400 hectares. Tonight there is the option of relaxing under the stars in the Lake Tekapo hot pools . . . Bliss!
Day 8: Ohau
For the next two days we ski Ohau - an off-piste heaven with plenty of challenging terrain and good hiking to access the wide open powder bowls from the ridge line.
Nestled deep in the spectacular Mackenzie High Country, Ohau is one of the favourite ski-fields for experienced skiers and snowboarders in New Zealand. Whilst the ski area is contained within one valley and is reasonably small at only 125 hectares, the skier to hectare ratio is also incredibly small.
A highlight of this trip is the two nights we stay at Lake Ohau Lodge near the shores of the lake. Even though it has the incredibly friendly culture of a ski lodge, it is actually run more like a hotel and we totally love the ‘faded glamour’, roaring open fires and panoramic lake views of this property.
For the next two evenings, a ‘high country fare’ three course meal is included (vegetarian options available). You will also enjoy two hot breakfasts while here.
Day 9: Ohau
Day two of Ohau, and we keep rolling. Wake up fresh from your night at Ohau Lodge and get ready to do it all again.
As with every morning, breakfast is included. However, today is slightly different; we sit down and enjoy the hospitality of the Ohau staff as they serve you breakfast in the dining room. Eat up! You’ll want plenty of energy for another day on the slopes.
Day 10: Wanaka
After breakfast we continue our journey south to Wanaka. Today is an allocated non-ski day but once again, the same rules apply from day six: if it has dumped or if we have missed a ski day previously, we are off skiing.
Today you can skydive over Lake Wanaka, hire a mountain bike or just soak in the laid back ambience of Wanaka.
Optional Add-Ons • Skydiving over Southern Alps • Tiger Moth Acrobatic Plane Ride • Heli-Skiing Wanaka
Day 11: Treble Cone
Today you have the choice of chilling out in the haven that is Wanaka or taking part in an optional activity, such as Sky Diving or Heli Skiing.
Wanaka is a great place to relax and recharge your batteries - with some great lakeside cafes and restaurants to discover. Your guide will have plenty of recommendations.
Tonight we enjoy our last night together with an end of tour dinner - where we have a few beers, a great meal, and a few laughs of course. But don't forget, there is one more mountain day tomorrow
Day 12: Wanaka to Christchurch
Today is our departure day, but first we hit Treble Cone (TC), which features challenging runs, un-groomed powder and a huge abundance of infamous natural pipes, chutes and hits.
Spread over three large basins and covering 550 hectares, TC has the longest vertical rise in the Southern Lakes (705m), longest groomed intermediate runs (4km) and spectacular views over Lake Wanaka and Mount Aspiring. You have the option to extend your trip in Wanaka, grab a shuttle to Queenstown where we have our own Lodge, or drive back to Christchurch with the tour group. We depart Wanaka at 4pm to arrive back into Christchurch at approximately 10pm
Most people opt to add an extra night’s accommodation in Christchurch due to our late arrival.
For a few years now, we’ve received feedback from many customers who love our Snow Safari, but want us to run a longer journey that explores lesser known club fields in the South Island.
Forget the mass market and commercial ski fields in Queenstown – we will take you to regions that are rich in history with strong pioneering folk carving the area into the diverse, challenging and natural playground that it is today.
The Odyssey is not for the faint hearted as we ski/board eight different mountains over 12 Days through awesome, but challenging terrain. Mountains such as Temple Basin, Broken River and Craigeburn may sound unfamiliar now, but we guarantee you will fall in love with them!
This tour is suited to intermediate to experienced skiers and snowboarders only. All tours start on a Sunday and end on a Thursday which means you can extend your trip in Wanaka and Queenstown.
As we start early in the morning, you can opt to stay at Haka Lodge Christchurch the night before we depart - only having to walk downstairs on day one makes for a stress free morning. Likewise, you can book an extra night at the Lodge on the last day so you are not in a rush once we go our separate ways. You are welcome to finish your trip in Queenstown; we can arrange extra accommodation here as well.
Upgrading your accommodation to a two person private room costs $899. The cost is per room, so if you share the room with someone else you can split the cost between you
To ensure we get at least eight ski days, we have stacked our non-ski days towards the end of the tour, leaving the opportunity for additional days skiing if desired.
A ‘rope tow’ is a type of ski lift in which skiers/boarders are pulled up a slope while grasping a looped, endless rope. Some are driven by a motor and others with the use of a nutcracker. Watch this video to see a rope tow in action.
The nutcracker is attached to the rope, which allows it to pull you up by the harness. The metal nutcracker (which looks just like the old fashioned nutcrackers used to open walnuts) now goes through the pulleys instead. In our experience, most skiers that are an intermediate level or above have little problems with using nutcrackers.
It may take a couple of attempts to get the hang of it but you should be able to get to grips with it fairly quickly. Snowboarders tend to take a bit longer but our Tour Manager will stay with you until you get it nailed!
NB. Please contact us for future dates in 2017
• 11 nights’ accommodation (quad share, upgrades available)
• 9 full day ski passes to 8 different ski fields
• Expert tour manager
• Guided tour of each mountain
• All transport and mountain transfers
• 9 continental and 2 fully cooked breakfasts
• 4 dinners consisting of 2 Group Meals at Craigieburn Lodge and 2 “High Country Fare” Dinners at Ohau Lodge
• Rope tow gloves and nut-crackers
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