Mt. Hutt, New Zealand, Photo Essay: Classic Turns With a Moon Twist

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Spot the ant taking on Elephant Face high above Mt. Hutt. Photo: P.M.Fadden

Through the windshield, the color stack of Canterbury’s Mt. Hutt resembles a cappuccino, rich browns below a snow-frothed top. 

At just under 7,200 feet of elevation and rocking the largest skiable area of the South Island, Mt. Hutt has earned its stripes as one of New Zealand’s top ski fields.

Hutt’s been skier-voted as the nation’s best ski resort a startling eight years in a row. The ski area is just now celebrating its 50th anniversary of snow fun. And we’re in a hire car hurtling straight at it.

What follows is a photo tour of a much-needed session at this epic ski area on a particularly rare occasion–one when chairs spin under the sun AND moon.

The Access Road is a zesty icon of New Zealand’s snow culture. Switchback turns, sheer drops…and the odd emotional breakdown by the uninitiated driver are their hallmarks. Photo: P.M.Faddden
A recent-ish storm had graced Mt. Hutt with a lucky 20cm which really changed the game in terms of skiable features. Photo: P.M.Fadden
A good hangout at the summit is always recommended. Its views are a stunner, plus there’s a handy cairn map for ‘way-finding’ that next mission spot. Photo: P.M.Fadden
There are 3.65 square kilometers to be skied at Mt. Hutt, making it the island’s largest ski area–and a mighty good time by any measure. Photo: P.M.Fadden
Riders get in last daytime laps on Summit Six Chair. Operations would then break for a quick tidy-up of the trails before re-opening for moon ski operations. Photo: P.M.Fadden
A genius initiative, if ever there was one, Mt. Hutt aims for a ‘Moon Ski’ near the full moon of each month. And to celebrate, they unleash some serious ordinance. Important, amazing note: there are no fixed lights within Hutt’s ski area. This awesome night event (which is rare on account of common wind or rain) is thanks to the lovely lady moon high above and a bit of help from a few hardy cat operators. Photo: P.M.Fadden
The absolute beauty of Mt. Hutt summit views; these Alps snare the eye by any light. Photo: P.M.Fadden
Warm fires, hearty eats, and a live DJ are proper compliments to this festive evening of skiing under the moon. Photo: P.M.Fadden
A classic night ski is straight-up good for the soul. And bonus: snow quality was perhaps even better than by daylight; surface layers are loose, granular, and oh-so ripple. Photo: P.M.Fadden
In it for the love, for sure. Mountain crews like lift ops were as stoked as the riders to be out ripping by the light of the moon. Tip of the cap to that whole posse for the hard work of an all-time evening! Photo: P.M.Fadden

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