Christchurch: Tearing down the Hutt

Rob Cox takes his twin boys to the South Island for their first-ever ski trip.

I’ve always dreamed of skiing in the South Island. Over the years, I have clocked up an incredible total of four and a half days of skiing, all at Ruapehu, all with no lessons and no idea of what I was doing. My boys, however, were still on day zero. Their only taste of snow was driving up to Mount Taranaki forasnowball fight in the parking lot during Spring. As well as that, my boys hadn’t been to the South Island before so flying over the Southern Alps on a stunning morning just blew their minds and was the perfect start to our lads’ trip.

Base camp was the picture-postcard town of Methven. A busy little ski village tucked under Mount Hutt on the edge of the Canterbury Plains. It had everything you needed. Takeaways, cafes, and two pubs on either side of the main drag aptly named the Blue Pub and the Brown pub. Southern simplicity at its best.

The next huge tick of the trip was when we arrived at Ski Time Lodge; the boys were super-impressed with our modern and warm apartment, but even more so when they were given free Wi-Fi to soak up.

Johnny put on his goggles and gloves and stepped outside to stare across the fields at Mount Hutt. He was itching to go.

The road to the Mount Hutt ski field is an adventure in itself, 12km of steep, loose metal roads along many windy ridge lines. Luckily, we had a Methven Travel bus arrive at the lodge to take us up and down the mountain each day, which I think made all three of us feel more reassured.

When we arrived at the ski fields,Iwas shocked at the size of the facilities. It was impressive. A huge foyer and reception area, ski shop, cafes, bars, everything was there and beautifully spaced out. Our gear hire was effortless. The staff at Mount Hutt were perfect, they got everyone in gear superquickso we could make the most of our time up there — and they were hilarious, it was international speak like a pirate day so they were all dressed up as pirates screaming “Aargh!” every chance they could get, a huge hit with the kids that day.

One of the best things at Mount Hutt is the fantastic team of ski instructors and the very spaced-out and safe learning facility for beginners. The idea being that they don’t let you move on to the lifts until they are confident you won’t be hurting yourself, or anyone else for that matter. Our instructor was Marek from Prague. He was great with the boys, taking them through the basics repeatedly. The beginner slope has an indoor magic carpet, which you walk on to, then it slowly carries you up the ski field to the top of the run.


Checklist

GETTINGTHERE

AirNew Zealand flies daily from Auckland to Christchurch with oneway fares starting from $66. airnz.com

ACCOMMODATION

Forinformation on Ski Time Lodge and Apartments, call (03) 302 8398 or email [email protected]

DETAILS

MtHutt’s 2019 Early Bird sale is on now, with adult season passes starting from $349.Kids 10and under pay just $5 forthe season.mthutt.co.nz

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