Not the Powder We Were Hoping For
July 10th, 2003 | Back to Blog Listing
Unfortunately the Mt. Hutt ski fields are definitely not all they're powdered up to be. Since we have finally had the opportunity to go skiing in New Zealand, the one thing I would say to anyone who has ever thought to invest thousands to do so is: do not. While we have not yet been to Queenstown (which I'm told is the BEST skiing in NZ), we have been to the highly regarded Mt. Hutt. I have only skied about 7 mountains in the US (should I say only?), so perhaps I am not entirely qualified to make this statement. In my experience, Lake Tahoe and Park City have been the two nicest mountains that I have skied; Riudosa, New Mexico has been the worst. But in typical American fashion, you get what you pay for.

My impression of N.Z. skiing was that you pay for Riudosa but get Park City (obviously an exciting notion). This is NOT the case. The Mt. Hutt ski area was horribly overcrowded (I waited almost 30 minutes to get on a lift once), the slow trails were not groomed throughout the day (thus beginners have a horrible time skiing in the afternoon due to mogul cuts), and worst off were the pull-cord lifts that were used (though they have regular lifts as well, just not where they are needed most). A note on these lifts: They have a device, which we use in US ski areas no doubt, that two people can grab at a time and a rip cord pulls out about 25 foot and tows you up the mountain. This is perfectly fine at the bottom as a more lateral lift, but this was the method to get to the summit! It was exhausting to be pulled up diamond and double-diamond runs especially on a snowboard where you are turned sideways.

Anyway, that's my take on Mt. Hutt. I do not think I am going to spend the money to ski in Queenstown, but perhaps we will at least visit the mountain basin.