Did You Know? Fun Facts About Some of New Zealand’s Snow Resorts


Did You Know? Fun Facts About Some of New Zealand’s Snow Resorts

Rodeo-Horses-Captain-CardronaThink all ski resorts are the same? Think again. New Zealand’s ski fields have distinct personalities and colourful histories which give them a unique character, not to mention die-hard fans. Kiwi locals are passionate about particular ski resorts. If you come here for winter holidays, you’ll see what we mean.

Here are a few fun facts about some of New Zealand’s snow resorts:

Cardrona – did you know?

  • The popular Captain’s Basin area is named after an infamous local rodeo horse. In Cardrona’s early days, Captain the horse was pastured in the basin. Rumour has it Captain was a nightmare to wrangle, and the bane of local farmers. However, John Lee, the founder of Cardrona, admired Captain’s tenacious spirit and named the basin after him.
  • You may not realise it as you’re skiing, but the Cardrona Valley’s gold mining history is all around you. The Whitestar chairlift was named after a dredge. The Gin & Raspberry trail was named after the drink miners celebrated with after finding gold. And the All Nations trail was named after a hotel in the mining days. See how many you can find!

Mt Hutt – did you know?

  • Feeling short of breath? You really can blame the altitude. At the summit of Mt Hutt (2,190 metres), there is 20% less oxygen then there is at sea level. The UV rays are also 20% stronger, so slap on the sunblock.
  • Don’t worry about the snow: Mt Hutt’s snow-making reservoir holds 22,000,000 litres of water, which can be drained in six consecutive days of snow-making. (All that beautiful white stuff, made just for you!)
  • On a clear day, the view stretches all the way to Aoraki / Mt Cook, New Zealand’s tallest mountain.

Porters – did you know?

  • On a clear day, Mt Hutt isn’t the only mountain with a view: from the top of Porters, you can see Christchurch, the Banks Peninsula, Aoraki / Mt Cook and Lake Coleridge – all at the same time!
  • Porters prides itself on being family-friendly, offering a “parents’ pass” which allows parents of babies and toddlers to share one ticket: one parent can ski while the other looks after the kids, and then they can swap over – using the same ticket.

Mt Dobson – did you know?

  • In 1973, Peter Foote applied for permission to build a ski field at Mt Dobson in the Two Thumb range. After waiting four years to get government approval, he spent a further three years building a 15 kilometre road up the mountain. Weekends and school holidays found his family camping “on the hill” while Peter pushed the road up the mountain with his trusty bulldozer. Mt Dobson finally opened in 1979.
  • In 1982, the Platter Lift was installed. At 480 metres, it’s the longest in New Zealand.


Coronet Peak – did you know?

  • Coronet Peak’s first rope tow was designed and built by Bill Hamilton, the inventor of the famous Hamilton Jet which created the jet boat industry.
  • In 2013, Heather Mills (former wife of Beetle Paul McCartney), a Paralympic ski racer, qualified fastest in the women’s IPC event at Coronet Peak.
  • Coronet Peak is armed with 217 fully automated snow guns capable of converting 26 million litres of water into snow within 24 hours.
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