Porters3.5 out of 5 based on 4 reviews
  • Recommend
    100%
  • Would Revisit
    75%
World Nomads Travel Insurance
New Zealand Heli skiing & Club Fields Tour

Porters Ski Field Canterbury
Porters Ski Field Canterbury
Porters NZ is very family friendly
Porters NZ is very family friendly
The base area of Porters Ski Field
The base area of Porters Ski Field
One of 3 T-bars
One of 3 T-bars
Porters has some short chutes
Porters has some short chutes
The Porters NZ day lodge
The Porters NZ day lodge
Various runs are groomed daily
Various runs are groomed daily
The beginners areas are great for progression
The beginners areas are great for progression
The beginners' area
The beginners' area
Porters Ski Area New Zealand
Porters Ski Area New Zealand
Much of the Porters ski terrain is off-piste
Much of the Porters ski terrain is off-piste
The new chairlift at Porters ski field
The new chairlift at Porters ski field
Porters (formerly Porter Heights)
Porters (formerly Porter Heights)
Views from the top
Views from the top
Porters New Zealand
Porters New Zealand
New snow at Porters ski resort
New snow at Porters ski resort

Porters

Porters Ski Field NZ The Porters Ski Field (formerly known as Porter Heights) has an under-stated reputation. Since the days of being a club ski field, Porters NZ has transformed itself into a commercial ski resort. When compared to the neighbouring club fields, Porters has plenty of frills. The Porters Ski Field is certainly no Aspen but they have grooming, some snow-making, a chair lift, and a little terrain park. Other recent developments include a day lodge with a delightful café.

Porters Ski Field affords great views from the top (but not the bottom!), particularly the outlook across Lake Coleridge. Apart from the snap worthy scenery, there is something a little charming about Porters, and the atmosphere is very family-friendly and welcoming.

Ski Porters - Terrain

The Porters ski terrain isn’t large at only 230 hectares, but there are reasonably easily accessed out-of-bounds bowls that provide an extended adventure playground. The size of the resort gives it a nice cosy feel and with only a handful of lifts, it is easy to navigate, which has associated benefits for families.

The vertical drop of 680 metres (1,980 – 1,300 m) is noteworthy for a New Zealand ski field and provides for long runs such as the renowned “Big Mama”.

Porters ski field has great deals to attract beginners, but the mountain is not just for novices with trail stats of 15% beginner, 40% intermediate and 45% advanced/expert. The intermediate trails consist of a few groomed runs whilst the black runs are off-piste and include various rock features and chutes to add to the challenge.

The main lifts for intermediate and advanced skiers are a chair lift and three T-bars straight up the valley, so a degree of traversing is required to get to the peripheral terrain.

Porters Snow

Like many other NZ ski fields, there is no official statistic for the average snowfall per season at Porters. This always makes me suspicious that the ski field doesn’t want everyone to know how little snow they get!!

Like the other New Zealand ski resorts, the snow quality at Porters can vary significantly. Powder days can be awesome but the Porters snow can quickly turn to slop, crust, ice or disappear in some patches. The chair lift and main gully are south east facing, so the snow quality differs somewhat between lookers’ right and left (the famed Big Mama run may not have snow cover!).

Where is Porters NZ?

Porters Ski Field is the closest ski area to Christchurch, about 99km to the northwest in the Canterbury region of the South Island of New Zealand. The little town of Springfield is 33km away, whilst Methven is about 1:15 hours away (if you drive a bit cross country).

Porter Heights is located at the southern end of the Craigieburn Range and nearby ski areas include Mt Cheeseman, Broken River, Craigieburn and Temple Basin.

Porters Accommodation

Left-over from the club field days is the club-run accommodation lodge which is situated half-way down the access road, so it’s definitely not ski-in ski-out. If you go to the effort of putting accommodation “on-mountain” why not put it near the ski area??!

Most people stay in Springfield accommodation or there is a little lodging in the nearby village of Castlehill.

Summary of Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Whilst the beginners’ ski area isn’t huge, the terrain is fabulous for progression from first timer to low-end intermediate.
  • Even better, Porters NZ has really cheap beginners’ packages and progression packages, and after only 4 days they give you a seasons pass!
  • To add to the beginner heaven, it is just a short walk between the car park, the beginners’ area, and the ticket office (and equipment rentals). This is ideal for beginners who find walking in ski boots and carrying skis a bit of a challenge.
  • Porters ski area has a chair lift and T-bars, which is rather luxurious compared to the nearby club fields that have nut cracking nutcracker ropetows.
  • When nearby ski areas are closed due to bad weather (e.g. Mt Shut aka Mt Hutt), Porters often has the ability to remain open. It might only be partially open, but families and shredders can still have fun on the chair lift and the beginners’ lifts.
  • The access road is possibly a little bit friendlier than many other NZ ski fields and it’s relatively short so your knuckles won’t stay white for too long. Nevertheless the unpaved road sans safety barriers is still a joke relative to the rest of the world!
  • The beginners’ area might be well populated (especially during school holidays), but the rest of the ski field is uncrowded, particularly on weekdays.

Cons

  • Whilst the views from the top over the back can be magnificent, the base area and the drive up are possibly the ugliest parts of New Zealand if there is no snow on the ground.
  • Porters ski field doesn’t have many groomers so if a melt-freeze cycle has set in and it won’t soften, there’s not much ski terrain (which is common to various NZ ski fields, and at least Porters has some groomed runs!).
  • Also common to most New Zealand ski fields:
    • no ski-in ski-out accommodation
    •  inconsistency with regards to the snow quality and cover
    • no trees so there’s potential for impaired visibility in bad weather

Tours That May Include Porters

Safari (Road Trip) Tours
South Island Snow Odyssey DETAILS
FULLY HOSTED & GUIDED ROAD TRIP
12 Days | 11 Nights | 9 Days Skiing | 8 Resorts
From price based on quad share option.
Base/invoice currency is in NZD.
Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
Price p/p
USD 2,099
Ability: Intermediate to Advanced
Explore 8 mountains over 12 action packed days that take your far away from the commercial ski fields of Queenstown. The Odyssey tour includes the following mountains: Porter Heights, Mt Olympus, Temple Basin, Craigieburn, Broken River, Mt Dobson, Ohau and Treble Cone.
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Mint Canterbury Club Fields DETAILS
GUIDED SNOWBOARDING ADVENTURE
8 Days | 7 Nights | 5-6 Days Riding
From price based on twin/double-share option.
Base/invoice currency is in AUD inc taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
Price p/p
USD 1,519
Ability: Intermediate to Expert
Leave the crowds behind this winter in NZ riding the lesser known ski areas in the Canterbury Plains area. Destinations include MT HUTT, PORTERS and the iconic TEMPLE BASIN. The itinerary has some flexibility to add a day of HELI BOARDING in the ARROWSMITH RANGES.
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See all Safari (Road Trip) tours that visit Porters here
Single-Base, Multi-Ski-Area Tours
Mint Methven Heli Tour DETAILS
GUIDED SNOWBOARDING ADVENTURE
6 Days | 5 Nights | 1 Day Heli + 2 Days Resort
From price based on twin/double-share option.
Base/invoice currency is in AUD inc taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
Price p/p
USD 1,671
Ability: Intermediate to Expert
Warm up with a day of riding at the big resort of MT HUTT and then a day at one of the lesser know CLUB FIELDS before shredding some of the best powder in NZ with a day of HELI BOARDING in the ARROWSMITH RANGES with METHVEN HELISKI.
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Neon PomPom - Canterbury Adventure DETAILS
LIFT ACCESSED OFF-PISTE ADVENTURE
FROM: 3 Nights | 2 Days Skiing/Riding
From price based on 3 nights / 2 days skiing twin-share (per person).
Base/invoice currency is inc NZD.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
Price p/p
USD 907
Ability: Intermediate to Expert
Ski at some of NZ's hidden gems with experts who have an intimate knowledge of the terrain & local areas and sit back and enjoy great in-chalet hospitality every day. Just turn up and, have fun and then leave; everything else is catered for!
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NZ Heli & Club Fields Tour DETAILS
FULLY GUIDED ROAD TRIP
7 Nights | 6 Days Skiing/Riding | Inc. Heli Ski Day
From price based on twin/double-share option.
Base/invoice currency is in AUD inc taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
Price p/p
USD 2,565
Ability: Strong Intermediate to Expert
This is a great tour for you powder addicts. Warm up at Mt Hutt, have the option to heli ski the Arrowsmiths, and visit Porters and the fabulous club fields of Craigieburn, Broken River & Cheeseman.
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See all Single-Base, Multi-Ski-Area tours that visit Porters here
Ski & Snowboard Camp Tours
Neon PomPom - FreeSki Academy DETAILS
BACKCOUNTRY FREE RIDING PROGRESSION
6 Nights | 5 Days Coaching / Guiding
From price based on 6 nights / 5 days skiing twin-share (per person).
Base/invoice currency is inc NZD.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
Price p/p
USD 2,030
Ability: Intermediate to Expert
Become a safer, stronger, better off-piste freeskier or boarder with the Neon PomPom Freeski Academy! New Zealand’s first all-inclusive, privately-hosted, off-piste ski & snowboarding coaching experience. Ski NZ's epic Club Fields with options for Heli Skiing.
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See all Ski & Snowboard Camp tours that visit Porters here
Heli Skiing Tours
High Peak Heliski & Clubbie Combo DETAILS
HELISKIING & CLUB FIELDS COMBO PACKAGES
6 Nights Lodging | 2 Days Heli | 3 Days Club Fields
From price based on 6 nights twin/double-share inc. 2 days heli + 3 days guided club fields.
Base/invoice currency is in NZD.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
Price p/p
USD 3,080
Ability: Strong Intermediate to Expert
This FULLY CUSTOMISABLE deluxe package is available from 2 days or more (however the example package is based on 2 days heli + 3 days guided club field days + 6 nights deluxe lodging, all gound transport, all gourmet meals, open bar...
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See all Heli Skiing tours that visit Porters here