Craigieburn Valley Ski Area is a ski field located in the heart of the Southern Alps on New Zealand’s South Island. About 90 minutes from Christchurch (110km), Craigieburn is known for its wide open powder bowls, steep narrow chutes, and infamous 600 meter vertical drop in the Middle Basin. Craigieburn is not for the faint of heart, the ski area is completely off-piste terrain with no grooming. There is no terrain for beginner skiers and no ski rental facilities on the mountain.
Some compare skiing at Craigieburn to heli-skiing due to its backcountry feel, un-touched powder, and long runs. Craigieburn is also a great access point for backcountry skiers and ski touring enthusiasts. Be sure to bring your avalanche gear because the terrain outside the resort is un-patrolled. Craigieburn and Broken River are close neighbors and are connected via a 15 minute hike.
Craigieburn Valley Ski Area is situated on the northwestern end of the Craigieburn Range. Two large basins are accessed by three high capacity rope tows. Craigieburn Valley’s terrain is varied and exciting with challenging steeps and quality snowfall. Storms that are on an easterly storm track typically drop the most powder.
The resort caters to skiers and snowboarders who prefer un-groomed, off-piste terrain. There are multiple options for experienced skiers and riders at Craigieburn. Middle Basin is notorious for its 600m vertical drop that ends at the access road. Hamilton Peak can be accessed via a short hike from the Top Tow lift. Try and find a member of the ski club to show you around as there are many runs that have names that are not displayed on the trail map.
Craigieburn is internationally famous for its many backcountry access points and ski-touring opportunities. Short trips include the Castle Area, North Middle Basin and Mt. Manson.
No ski or snowboard hire offered at the mountain. The ski area requires a towbelt and nutcracker which can be obtained at the base area. Some people prefer to use a climbing harness instead. Bring some old gloves or glove protector for use with the tow ropes.