Hitting the Snow in the Mackenzie
That's near Mt Cook and Lake Tekapo for those of you not from around here
We consider ourselves pretty lucky at Lakestone Lodge to be situated in the midst of a huge range of ski fields in a very scenic part of the New Zealand. The only problem is we can see the snowy mountains taunting us from the lodge and don't necessarily have the time we would like to get amongst them.
If Heliskiing is your thing I recommend making the most of this spectacular area and spending a day heliskiing in what is the single largest heliski area in New Zealand. A scenic thirty minute drive from Lakestone Lodge up the western side of Lake Pukaki towards Mt Cook, you can be whisked into the mountains and have your skis on within a pretty short space of time with Aoraki Mt Cook and the Southern Alps as well as Lake Pukaki as your backdrop. You can avoid the crowds that are prevalent in some of the more popular skiing locations and still experience the South Island's stunning scenery. You want a bit of skiing experience under your belt before you give this a go – recommended for intermediate skiers and above.
Tip Check out Mt Cook Heliski for this option - www.mtcookheliski.co.nz. Allow an extra 10 minutes to your drive to stop into Peters Lookout on your right along the Mt Cook road to get some iconic photos of Aoraki Mt Cook and we challenge you to look back along the lake and try and spot Lakestone Lodge at the other end!
Ohau Snow Fields
If heliskiing isn't your style, in around 45 minutes from Lakestone Lodge you can be on the top of the Ohau Snow Fields having driven through some pretty spectacular scenery including the hydro canals, Ben Ohau range and past Lake Ohau itself. The 9.6km gravel access road without rail protection is completely normal to kiwis but a small thrill to visitors to the area.
Ohau is a family owned ski field so while it doesn’t necessarily have all the bells and whistles of the larger fields it does have some spectacular views up the valley to Aoraki Mt Cook an overlooking Lake Ohau itself and the lack of queues also makes for an enjoyable day. Their chair lift does make it easier on the legs! There is a quaint ski hut on site to warm up on colder days and to refill the tank if you are getting hungry.
Tip: Fuel up your selves and your car before you head to Ohau as Ohau village has no shops or petrol stations. You will probably want a 4wd or to carry your own chains as these aren't available at the field
Roundhill Ski Area
(Photo from www.roundhill.co.nz/trails)
From Lakestone Lodge it is a 30 minute drive to Lake Tekapo the home of Roundhill Ski Field which makes it ideal if you want to combine a day of sight seeing with your day of skiing. Once you have checked out what Lake Tekapo Village has to offer, head up to Roundhill for some stunning views back over Tekapo. This field suits everyone plus those who like to show off their skills can do so in the freestyle park. For those that are a lot braver than me take on the World's largest and steepest rope tow up The Wall for a 783m vertical drop – Australasia's biggest.
Tip: When it is open the Von Brown Hut makes for a great ski stop – ski right in and enjoy and delicious mulled wine or a cold beer
( Photo from www.mackenzienz.com/tours/mount-dobson-ski-area)
Mt Dobson is a another family owned and operated ski field, found between Tekapo and Fairlie so a bit more of a hike from Lakestone Lodge but can still work well and provide a great days skiing especially if you are on your way through to Christchurch as the road up to the top is directly off the main road. Lots of room for beginners here along with some more advanced terrain at the top of the chair lift or the T-bar
So there are your options - we are a bit spoilt for choice here at Lakestone Lodge. Happy skiing everyone.