A small, independent ski area became the first in New Zealand to open for the season beating the major resorts by a whole week. Hanmer Springs Ski Area near Canterbury opened on Saturday the 11th of June 2022, following over three feet of fresh snow in the last week.
- Related: As Giant Snowstorm Dumps on New Zealand and Buries Several Ski Areas, Coronet Peak Announces Early Opening
The resort in the Canterbury backcountry is run by volunteers organized by the Amuri Ski Club based at the resort.
The Amuri Ski Club was founded in 1957 by a group of farmers keen on having somewhere in North Canterbury to ski. The Club runs Hanmer Springs Ski Area (formerly the Amuri Ski Field) and is affiliated with the Canterbury Snowsports Association.
“A special, affordable, grassroots ski experience where the focus is on who you’re with, where you are, and not how hot your gear is.”
– Hanmer Springs Ski Area
The resort has been running a rope tow since Saturday and hopes to have its Poma up and running by the end of the week. The Poma is the longest in New Zealand, according to Stuff.
The Hanmer Springs Ski Area offers New Zealand grassroots skiing at its best. The club-run mountain’s fun, super affordable, and relaxed culture sets it worlds apart from the slick, corporate options of today. The ski field is ideal for both beginner to advanced skiers and snowboarders. The self-cater, cozy day lodge, deck, AND awesome on-mountain accommodation, make it an outstanding mountain experience for your whole group.
From the base area, they have a tailor-made groomed learners area to get you started, with a fixed-grip learners tow with instructors on hand for group and private lessons. The Shirtfront rope tow accesses groomed intermediate and off-piste runs and provides an excellent access point for the large Bordeaux Basin, which in 2017 can be skied via traverse, hike, and touring.
Elsewhere in New Zealand, Cardrona opened to beginners on Saturday but has since closed due to snow blocking the roads. Whakapapa on Mt Ruapehu also opened to beginners but will not open fully until July.
Mount Hutt had been planning on opening, but due to the massive snow totals and high winds has had to postpone until Friday the 17th. Coronet Peak plans to open early on Thursday and The Remarkables on Saturday.