Mt Olympus, one of the more well-known Canterbury Club Fields is about to head into high spring. Conditions are good right now but might not be for much longer so get in quick.
Mt Olympus received about 25cm of snow a week ago, and skiing was reportedly phenomenal with the rope tows spinning until the early hours of the morning. A large high settled over the area soon after though and conditions are well and truly spring-like.
The best strategy right now to make full use of your day at Mt Olympus is to follow the sun around the basin. Ski from lookers left to right and catch the corn through the day.
The steep and awesome face lookers left of the top hut called Ardy’s is currently being closed at about 10am most days due to wet slide potential. It’s well worth waking up early to make some laps over there, the steep consistent pitch is amazing. The bootpack heading straight up the middle of Ardy’s is appropriately called staircase to heaven, best to talk to patrol before heading up, one of them might even head up with you.
Directly behind the top hut is Little Alaska, aptly named. It looks very tempting but the spines are pretty boney right now and should be skied with caution.
Mt Olympus itself behind the ski area boundary still has plenty of snow and on the more south facing aspects is nice and dry. This is best done on skins, although boot packing along the ridge is possible post-holing is slow and tedious. Behind Mt Olympus further into the backcountry the possibilities are endless and the snow up high remains good.
Mt Olympus is also called playground of the gods. It’s appeal to freeriders is obvious with lines to drool over in all directions. The natural jump line, the “frozen waves” with several wind lips and other natural features is skiers right of the main tow. It is awesome to hit after the sun softens it at around 10am and provides entertainment for hours.
The Sphinx area down to rum rock and below is great to ski in the afternoon. Far skiers left remans in the shade all day and still has dry wintery snow but beware there are a lot of sharks lurking, especially after the freeride competition there on Tuesday.
Mt Olympus stands out from the other Canterbury club fields in a lot of ways. Firstly, the atmosphere created by the staff is very casual and laid back. Patrol are always there on your side, keen to keep you safe but willing to help you find your line and make sure you get maximum skiing in. The music blasted from the top lodge is always on point, great tunes can be heard around most of the ski area and of course from the hot tub. Finally, the food there is amazing, always plentiful and delicious, even for the pickiest eater they have you covered.