2 weeks in Mt Hutt Aug - seeking local advice

Shoey

Hard Yards
Aug 12, 2018
100
86
98
Sydney
So this August we have everything lined up for 2 weeks in Methven/Mt Hutt. It'd be the first time in NZ, but we scored the season pass earlybird for cheap.

We will be needing new skis this winter, so the first decision is to i) buy here in Sydney, ii) rent for 2 wks in Methven (Big Al's quotes around 48NZD/day - so not sure if they do any long term discounts? I shot them an email , or iii) Buy a pair in Methven and bring back.

I'm leaning towards the third option as it means we can hire for a few days, swap, try b4 we buy. But the downside is being a smaller town the prices might not be as competitive & size selection as the mega ski warehouses here. Question to the group: Any known shop names to recommend so that I can start pinging them emails ahead of time?

My second question is around off piste & guides. We are keen to get started with off piste there. In a Sydney ski show last week I spoke with a table called Alpine Guides that runs heli ski from Methven. Heli is a bit of a leap in terms of budget and level, but what is really alluring is they go to the surrounding crown land rather than in the resort, so its new places to explore. What is a typical (non heli) day in MH with a guide like? Where do they typically go and rough costs etc?
 

nezumi

One of Us
Ski Pass
May 28, 2009
2,017
2,842
363
Melbourne
The only comment that I can make in this regard is that you could look into claiming back the GST if you buy them here for use overseas. https://www.skiandboard.com.au/trs/

This might make a bit of difference in terms of the cost locally vs in NZ - as long as the money you save on the GST isn't lost on oversize baggage fees!
 
  • Like
Reactions: Shoey

Seth

Pool Room
Ski Pass
Jun 6, 2000
43,523
23,725
1,525
The Higher Ground
I think youre making a mistake to think that heli skiing would be too ridic as far as terrain goes.

Did two days in the chopper out of methven with @CarveMan a decade ago and the experience itself was insanely cool (being high up on the glacier, flying around some big mountains,etc) , the terrain was not nuts at all.

If I was going to be back in that part of the world again I’d be emailing the chopper crew to say i’ll be there and to keep me posted as to how things are looking. Just start it there.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Shoey and CarveMan

CarveMan

I Never Slice
Ski Pass
May 12, 2000
83,469
63,020
1,515
Les Hautes Montagnes
aussieskier.com
I think youre making a mistake to think that heli skiing would be too ridic as far as terrain goes.

Did two days in the chopper out of methven with @CarveMan a decade ago and the experience itself was insanely cool (being high up on the glacier, flying around some big mountains,etc) , the terrain was not nuts at all.

If I was going to be back in that part of the world again I’d be emailing the chopper crew to say you’ll be there and to keep you posted as to how things are looking.
This
 
  • Like
Reactions: Shoey

dr80

One of Us
Ski Pass
Oct 8, 2012
1,158
732
363
Vic surf coast
Buy on-line?
Some decent skis at Freeze Pro Shop with free shipping atm for < $500

Heli-skiing for first timers is pretty cruisy in terms of terrain.
Can always hire some fatter skis for the day if necessary.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Shoey

Dumphfish

Addicted
Oct 9, 2017
121
116
113
So this August we have everything lined up for 2 weeks in Methven/Mt Hutt. It'd be the first time in NZ, but we scored the season pass earlybird for cheap.

We will be needing new skis this winter, so the first decision is to i) buy here in Sydney, ii) rent for 2 wks in Methven (Big Al's quotes around 48NZD/day - so not sure if they do any long term discounts? I shot them an email , or iii) Buy a pair in Methven and bring back.

I'm leaning towards the third option as it means we can hire for a few days, swap, try b4 we buy. But the downside is being a smaller town the prices might not be as competitive & size selection as the mega ski warehouses here. Question to the group: Any known shop names to recommend so that I can start pinging them emails ahead of time?

My second question is around off piste & guides. We are keen to get started with off piste there. In a Sydney ski show last week I spoke with a table called Alpine Guides that runs heli ski from Methven. Heli is a bit of a leap in terms of budget and level, but what is really alluring is they go to the surrounding crown land rather than in the resort, so its new places to explore. What is a typical (non heli) day in MH with a guide like? Where do they typically go and rough costs etc?

https://gnomes.co.nz/
https://gnomes.co.nz/collections/ex-demo-skis
Gnomes is probably one of the finest ski shops in the country and I say that never having been there! I have however bought several ex-demo skis from them which were immaculate, hardly used and beautifully tuned. Great service. Check that out I reckon. A lot of them are snapped up and sizing might be a problem but they've still got the Blizzard Rustler 10 and some other goodies.
 

Shoey

Hard Yards
Aug 12, 2018
100
86
98
Sydney
Thanks for the info all :) This looks really promising. I'll checkout gnomes, and Big Als have also emailed back saying they do a rent to buy program so there's a few options to explore. Just don't want to get stuck paying daily rates for random pairs for not having done upfront research..

Heli ski is sounding more & more tempting. Going to pitch it to the mrs. I guess its one of those things that looks expensive on its own, but taking everything into account you'd struggle to get better value and not doing it will result in regret and more cost to go back and do it again.
 
  • Like
Reactions: craighelo

Seth

Pool Room
Ski Pass
Jun 6, 2000
43,523
23,725
1,525
The Higher Ground
Thanks for the info all :) This looks really promising. I'll checkout gnomes, and Big Als have also emailed back saying they do a rent to buy program so there's a few options to explore. Just don't want to get stuck paying daily rates for random pairs for not having done upfront research..

Heli ski is sounding more & more tempting. Going to pitch it to the mrs. I guess its one of those things that looks expensive on its own, but taking everything into account you'd struggle to get better value and not doing it will result in regret and more cost to go back and do it again.

There is no question heli is expensive. It is an awesome experience though and the cost is quickly forgotten.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Shoey

johnski

Hard Yards
Jan 1, 1970
370
86
98
Perth
Methven Heli is worth doing for a day as is skiing a a couple of powder days at one of the club fields mid week - driveable from methven, not quite heli but a fraction of the price for all day untacked.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Shoey

Shoey

Hard Yards
Aug 12, 2018
100
86
98
Sydney
Methven Heli is worth doing for a day as is skiing a a couple of powder days at one of the club fields mid week - driveable from methven, not quite heli but a fraction of the price for all day untacked.

Could you tell me more about club fields? Tried Google couldn't find anything. Intrigued.
 

Donzah

Formerly know as Aldi whorehouse.
Ski Pass
Aug 3, 2017
50,988
59,892
1,563
woonona
  • Like
Reactions: Shoey

Shoey

Hard Yards
Aug 12, 2018
100
86
98
Sydney

Donzah

Formerly know as Aldi whorehouse.
Ski Pass
Aug 3, 2017
50,988
59,892
1,563
woonona
They go faster than a chairlift.

I learned in one as a kid. We had no choice.

However. They are a handful.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Shoey

johnski

Hard Yards
Jan 1, 1970
370
86
98
Perth
Club fields are a lot more intimate and less commmercial.

You can stay on the snow at a cheap price they provide breakfast and dinner and basic accommodation, no stuffing around driving up the hill each day huge plus (worth doing for a couple of nights) and best of all are generally empty mid week.

Depending on your level, broken river is a good intermediate field, if you’re more advanced craigieburn is the place to be. Search craigieburn or broken river both have websites and videos of the skiing neither have grooming. If you want grooming start at porters (small commercial field) or cheeseman.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Shoey

jorgo

Hard Yards
Jun 22, 2007
167
17
88
Heli experience in NZ with an average mixed group can be very mellow in terms of terrain. Put it down as a maybe if the snow gets good unless you want to pay for the flight experience etc in itself. If the snow is average at the time you wont be that impressed if you've had good snow elsewhere in the world.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Shoey

pedub

One of Us
Jul 26, 2015
949
652
263
FYI this are the typical grades used in Heli ski:

Heli 1
You are an intermediate skier/boarder with no powder skiing/boarding experience.

Heli 2
You are a strong intermediate to advanced skier/boarder with little or no powder skiing/boarding experience.

Heli 3
You are an advanced skier/boarder with some powder skiing/boarding experience.

Heli 4
You can ski/board the steep and deep - any snow, any mountain.

There is grades for everyone. Choosing the lower grades the scariest thing will be the heli ride. But it's also epic views

Looking at $1000 per person, maybe less if you are doing the lower grades (they do less runs per day)
 
  • Like
Reactions: Shoey

Shoey

Hard Yards
Aug 12, 2018
100
86
98
Sydney
FYI this are the typical grades used in Heli ski:

Heli 1
You are an intermediate skier/boarder with no powder skiing/boarding experience.

Heli 2
You are a strong intermediate to advanced skier/boarder with little or no powder skiing/boarding experience.

Heli 3
You are an advanced skier/boarder with some powder skiing/boarding experience.

Heli 4
You can ski/board the steep and deep - any snow, any mountain.

There is grades for everyone. Choosing the lower grades the scariest thing will be the heli ride. But it's also epic views

Looking at $1000 per person, maybe less if you are doing the lower grades (they do less runs per day)

Good to know! So in terms of "# of runs per day" its what it says on the tin - pick up at the bottom & re-airlifted (presumably to a different peak?)
 

Heinz

Have skis, will travel - Once borders open again..
Ski Pass
Oct 14, 2005
27,430
12,240
1,063
Adelaide
Good to know! So in terms of "# of runs per day" its what it says on the tin - pick up at the bottom & re-airlifted (presumably to a different peak?)

Can't speak for the Methven operation in particular but a few comments based on my experience with HMH.
1. The rating is a guide usually based on a questionnaire you fill out. HMH example. They will then try to fit you with others of like ability.

2. The number of runs on the 'tin' as you say is the starting point. This can be adjusted during the day. Often happens if conditions are particularly good and the majority of the group are keen then you can certainly do extra runs. They will usually assess how people are going at lunch and see what they want to do. Also possible to switch groups then also.

3. Generally through the day you will get lifted to a few different ridges. With several groups using the one machine there is a balance between minimising flight time and going to new areas. You will likely land at different points along the same ridge for a few runs, but aim will always be to get fresh lines. Sometimes though snow conditions, cloud, wind can restrict the options.
 

Shoey

Hard Yards
Aug 12, 2018
100
86
98
Sydney
The only comment that I can make in this regard is that you could look into claiming back the GST if you buy them here for use overseas. https://www.skiandboard.com.au/trs/

This might make a bit of difference in terms of the cost locally vs in NZ - as long as the money you save on the GST isn't lost on oversize baggage fees!

Yep I looked a bit more into this. And as long as the item is under $900, then on re-import it won't be subject to GST again https://www.abf.gov.au/entering-and-leaving-australia/duty-free otherwise the exercise will be futile. Given its EOFY there might be some sales on as well, only downside is basically buying without the demo trial.
 
  • Like
Reactions: nezumi

Shoey

Hard Yards
Aug 12, 2018
100
86
98
Sydney
I have another question about Mt Hutt now that trip's getting closer. I rented a car to drive from CHC Airport to Methven where we are staying at the Blue Pub, and looking at Mt Hutt reports today it advised snow chains for 2WD are required from Info Booth and for 4WD from "Canterbury View". At the NZSki website it has info on the chain hire & fitting service (which was mentioned here before as well), but current prices are $40 for hire & fit or $15 for fit, which for 13 days of skiing equates to $520 of chains!

So locals, what is the most cost effective option?
i) Hire a 4WD, but there's still a chance chains are needed - where exactly is Canterbury View?
ii) Buy / hire the chains at Methven and then fit/unfit them myself everyday (never done this before but why not learn)
iii) Take shuttle bus service instead

EDIT: Looks like the hire care co' offers chain rental for a one off $25, so its just a matter of learning to fit or treating the 15/a day like a parking cost

But I'm still interested in knowing answers i & iii, where is Canterbury View and what sort of shuttle services are available?
 

pedub

One of Us
Jul 26, 2015
949
652
263
Im not super familiar with Mt Hutt but its probably just some point along the road, my memory is the road hits a point where the view opens out, might be there. I don't know about shuttles

As for your other questions, 4WD doesn't guarantee no chains as you know.
But i've seen other hills where 2WD's simply couldn't get up even with chains. Maybe on the Mt Hutt road thats unlikely to happen.
Anyway chains are a necessary evil just learn to fit them. Its not hard, take some old gloves and something to lie on
Tip: always fully meticulously untangle them before trying to fit them
 
  • Like
Reactions: Shoey

MidLifeMadman

Hard Yards
Dec 17, 2015
33
35
68
Melbourne
Guaranteed to have to use chains in NZ as most fields have unsealed roads, be it 2WD or 4WD.

Hutt Road especially as weather exposed.

On my 6th tour of NZ, mid August, and if you are staying in Methven for 2 weeks very much a sleepy hollow.

I've spent 6 nights in Methven skied Hutt 1 day... Hence Mt Shutt.

Porters is a good day out.

Suggest you have a 4WD/AWD especially driving into Club fields, roads are "goat tracks".

Broken River and Craigieburn if tows are out, it will be boot hike.

Done that at Craigieburn 1st tow out.

Be prepared to get out of town, and consider a drive south to Dobson or Roundhill.

Tekapo by night in hot springs in winter is great.
 

Shoey

Hard Yards
Aug 12, 2018
100
86
98
Sydney
Guaranteed to have to use chains in NZ as most fields have unsealed roads, be it 2WD or 4WD.

Hutt Road especially as weather exposed.

On my 6th tour of NZ, mid August, and if you are staying in Methven for 2 weeks very much a sleepy hollow.

I've spent 6 nights in Methven skied Hutt 1 day... Hence Mt Shutt.

Porters is a good day out.

Thanks for that - I hope I'll get more than 2days out of the fortnight otherwise the Mrs will be cranky for sure. So the suggestion is to be open to go to Porters/Craigieburn/Broken River etc if Mt Hutt is closed? We bought season pass so hope to get the most out of it.

Sounds like I should upgrade to 4WD regardless, in addition to chains.

Broken River and Craigieburn if tows are out, it will be boot hike.

Done that at Craigieburn 1st tow out.

Are you referring to the nutcracker tow?
 

MidLifeMadman

Hard Yards
Dec 17, 2015
33
35
68
Melbourne
Yep correct, there are a few videos on Youtube to give you an idea as to how to use the nutcracker.


Get yourself some cheap leather gardening gloves to fit over your ski gloves, better than the one's they provide with the Harness and nutcracker.

At BR, there are left and rightsiders, at Craigieburn all rightsiders.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Shoey

Shoey

Hard Yards
Aug 12, 2018
100
86
98
Sydney
Post Trip Update

Accommodation: We stayed at the Blue Pub in Methven. Very economical, good for all nights except Saturday. Saturday is when the live bands plays until 2am, so you are either joining the party or don't do it if you value sanity.

Drive to Mt Hutt: We ultimately hired a 2WD and chains from the rental company. For the first few days we used the chain fitting service. Then I realized a good way to learn how to do it is to first just unfit the chains that the crew fitted, for the way down. It was a good thing to not rely on the crew as the second wk the station was shut even when chains are required.

Mt Hutt/Mt Shut: We ran into 3 'hard' closure days due to weather, and 1 day when it was perfect weather but their carpark was too full!! So all in all our success rate was around 75%. However, even on the days it was open, there are numerous cases where only 1 lift is running and the better runs are still closed. Only got to go to Virgin Mile for 3 or 4 days of 12 , I think? And South Face was only open for 2 days. I can see why a season pass is just $379 as you are taking these closure risks and the small mountain can bore out quite quickly. They are also overly optimistic - the status of 'On Hold' (a lift, a run) really has slim hopes of it opening again but they like to keep up the optimism!

Club Fields: I ultimately went to Mt Olympus as an excursion package with a mountain guide company. The dirt track to a club field makes the track up to Mt Hutt like a breeze and a 4WD is much more needed here. I absolutely agree these are the true hidden gems - all ungroomed freeride, 50 ppl in the mountain, and the one day I spent there was more fun than the last 10 or so days combined doing groomer laps on MH. Nutcrackers are a handful - the hardest part is having the stamina to do the "clutch slip" to get to the same speed as the rope. By the afternoon I kept slipping. Club house environment is cozy having only been to commercial fields.

Concluding Thoughts: NZ skiing is a great bargain. Mountains are small, but pack in all the terrain flavours in a small package. I am not so sure about staying in Methven the next time round. I'd rather stay closer to the Craigieburn area so that has more but smaller fields within range, or just stay the week in a club field.
 

Seth

Pool Room
Ski Pass
Jun 6, 2000
43,523
23,725
1,525
The Higher Ground
Post Trip Update

Accommodation: We stayed at the Blue Pub in Methven. Very economical, good for all nights except Saturday. Saturday is when the live bands plays until 2am, so you are either joining the party or don't do it if you value sanity.

Drive to Mt Hutt: We ultimately hired a 2WD and chains from the rental company. For the first few days we used the chain fitting service. Then I realized a good way to learn how to do it is to first just unfit the chains that the crew fitted, for the way down. It was a good thing to not rely on the crew as the second wk the station was shut even when chains are required.

Mt Hutt/Mt Shut: We ran into 3 'hard' closure days due to weather, and 1 day when it was perfect weather but their carpark was too full!! So all in all our success rate was around 75%. However, even on the days it was open, there are numerous cases where only 1 lift is running and the better runs are still closed. Only got to go to Virgin Mile for 3 or 4 days of 12 , I think? And South Face was only open for 2 days. I can see why a season pass is just $379 as you are taking these closure risks and the small mountain can bore out quite quickly. They are also overly optimistic - the status of 'On Hold' (a lift, a run) really has slim hopes of it opening again but they like to keep up the optimism!

Club Fields: I ultimately went to Mt Olympus as an excursion package with a mountain guide company. The dirt track to a club field makes the track up to Mt Hutt like a breeze and a 4WD is much more needed here. I absolutely agree these are the true hidden gems - all ungroomed freeride, 50 ppl in the mountain, and the one day I spent there was more fun than the last 10 or so days combined doing groomer laps on MH. Nutcrackers are a handful - the hardest part is having the stamina to do the "clutch slip" to get to the same speed as the rope. By the afternoon I kept slipping. Club house environment is cozy having only been to commercial fields.

Concluding Thoughts: NZ skiing is a great bargain. Mountains are small, but pack in all the terrain flavours in a small package. I am not so sure about staying in Methven the next time round. I'd rather stay closer to the Craigieburn area so that has more but smaller fields within range, or just stay the week in a club field.

Just stay AT Craigieburn.
 
Remove ads with a
Ski Pass