Broken River is one of NZ’s unique “Club” fields, run and maintained by Broken River Ski Club members. We’re open to the public. You don’t need to be a member to be ski here, so don’t be shy, we’d love to see you on our slopes. We are extremely proud of our Club, it’s heritage and what our mountain offers. Our strong, close-knit community is as important as the great terrain and riding. So, if you are after something special and a little different then you’ve come to the right place.
Carpool: Save fuel – share petrol costs or catch a lift. It’s also a great way to met new ski buddies
Described as a “hidden gem” by powderhounds.com, Broken River Ski Area (or “BR” as the locals call it), boasts some of New Zealand’s best off-piste, soft-snow skiing and snowboarding. We offer fantastic terrain for all levels of skiers and boarders, on-mountain accommodation, uncrowded powder basins and chutes – and, the best part, a friendly and inviting atmosphere. Add in the unusual access to the mountain via an alpine rail up through picturesque beech forest and you know you’re in for a special experience.
Broken River is only 90 minutes drive and 100 kms west of Christchurch. We’re located in the Craigieburn Range, right in the heart of the Southern Alps of New Zealand. Check out the details below on how to get here under your own steam, by carpool or with a specialised commercial ski transport operator.
Watch the video below to see what’s involved when you arrive at BR – and you’ll also get some instruction on how to ride our rope tows.
USE BROKEN RIVER TO ACCESS THE BACKCOUNTRY
Accessing the backcountry of the Craigieburn Range couldn’t be much easier, just jump off the back of our main ridge to the the west, or traverse north or south along it and drop onto the east side. You can even access neighbouring ski areas via a bit of backcountry travel, such as Craigieburn to the north, or Cheeseman, Porters or even Mt Olympus to the south.
The skiing is excellent – you’ll always find untracked snow, with a range of aspects and elevations to ski, ensuring that you’ll most likely find some good snow to ski or board.
|SKIABLE AREA||175 hectares – with excellent hiking & touring|
|TERRAIN||Beginner: 5%, Intermediate: 50%, Advanced: 45%|
|TOWS||3 high-capacity rope tows, 2 learner rope tows|
|TERRAIN PARK||Natural lips & bowls, rails|
|DAY LODGE||Lunch snacks, BBQ & kitchen facilities, huge sundeck|
|INSTRUCTION||World class ski & snowboard, group & private lessons|
|NIGHT SKIING||Scheduled regularly|
|GROOMING||Learners areas & intermediate slopes|
|RENTAL||Tow belts and ski harnesses for hire. No ski rental|
|ACCOMMODATION||On-mountain, catered and self-catered, single & multi-night packages|
|SEASON||Late June to early October (longer if conditions permit)|
|SNOW MAKING||100% renewable snow making by Mother Nature|
FIVE ROPE TOWS
Five electric rope tows service our two large bowls, Broken River Basin and Allan’s Basin. Two learner tows are positioned on the mellow, groomed slopes near Palmer Lodge. Tow belts with clips or “nutcrackers” are required to use the three high-speed rope tows which provide access to the full mountain.
Don’t worry if you haven’t used a rope tow before, our friendly staff will help get you started. You’ll soon get the hang of it – especially as the tow can be slowed down with the press of a button.
Palmer Day Lodge is the central hub of the days skiing and the best spot on the mountain to soak up the sun and the skiing action. The licensed canteen sells delicious hot food, snack food and beverages, as well as ski gloves, glove protectors and ski harnesses. The kitchen and dining facilities, a massive sundeck and BBQ are available for everyone to enjoy. You might like to join other amateur chefs on the communal BBQ to cook your wild venison or gourmet burger – if not you can at least purchase BR’s boutique lager and a handmade pizza to create your own gourmet lunch.
The intermediate slopes and learner areas in Broken River Basin are usually groomed, providing an easier transition for those wishing to improve their skiing or riding before taking on our more challenging off-piste terrain.
Come up and enjoy the special thrills of skiing at night. The exhilaration of speeding down through silky, dry powder under the night sky is quite addictive. It’s a fun, social time which draws locals from nearby Castle Hill village and Springfield, and further afield. Night skiing is scheduled regularly, subject to weather and snow conditions.
Stay for the complete experience. Why drive when you can stay and enjoy great company, food and atmosphere in a stunning setting – and be in the prime spot for early morning fresh tracks.
We offer two styles of accommodation for single and multiple nights, as well as two hard-to-beat multiday accommodation-lift-lesson package Our three, cosy on-mountain lodges are nestled in native beech forest at tree line, just 10 minutes walk from the first ski tow. You’ll find more details here.
Our passenger lift, the Tyndall Tramway (or The Tram is it’s known as) provides an unique start to your Broken River visit. This funicular railway transports guests from the carpark to the Ticket Office & accommodation lodges at 1340 metres. Grab all your ski & overnight gear and step into the Tyndall Tramway, push the “up” button and enjoy the spectacular 4-minute (320 metre) ride up through native beech forest with close-up views within the forest and panoramic views of the surrounding mountains.
The Tram has been designed and built by Broken River Ski Club members and is the latest in a long line of projects that show the ingenuity and dedication of our Club members. This service is the only alpine lift of its kind in New Zealand and is fully certified to carry passengers.
TWO MAIN BOWLS
Broken River has something for everyone – great snow, varied terrain and plenty of scope for awesome fun. Powder is the name of the game in winter and smooth corn snow throughout the long spring season.
The ski area is made up of two main open bowls with wide, rolling slopes, that suit intermediate and advanced riders. Wind lips throughout the bowls provide a fun, natural terrain park. The adventurous beginner will also have a great time too. Be sure to pause on the main ridge as the spectacular 360o views are hard to beat. You might even see one BR’s members fly past in his glider! The surrounding peaks have many steep chutes and challenging slopes for the adventurous at heart. A short hike to these peaks opens up more terrain and provides even greater rewards.
One Ride Up Pass
Broken River offers a ‘One Ride Up’ pass for just $10, for those wishing to utilise our lift system once, to gain the main ridge.
Check Conditions & Avalanche Risk
Before you embark on your backcountry adventure, always check snow conditions as well as the avalanche risk for the area. The best way to do this is to check the Craigieburn Range Avalanche Forecast on the Mountain Safety Council’s Avalanche Advisory Website.
Check the Weather Forecast
MetService offers up-to-date forecasts specifically for the Canterbury High Country. Make sure you’re not about to set off into a full-blown storm system!
Check in with Ski Patrol
Once you’re at Broken River, check in with Ski Patrol they’re always happy to chew the fat and provide you with any further info you require about local conditions and recent avalanche activity. They also like chocolate.
Backcountry Intentions Form
Ask Ski Patrol for a Backcountry Intentions Form (BIF). You provide the details of your party and your planned route. Ski Patrol keep the form until you notify them of your safe return. If you’re coming back in to our ski area, just call in and let them know you’re back (and the skiing was amazing).
Likewise, if you exit the backcountry via another ski area, make sure to call our patrol team to let them know you’re safe. At the end of each day, Ski Patrol gathers up any BIF’s that haven’t been signed out and will initiate the first steps of a search, so it’s very important to let them know you’re all good.
Take the Gear & Have Some Idea
Always carry a beacon, shovel and probe (BSP) whilst travelling in the backcountry and know how to use them. If you’d like to learn about safe travel in backcountry/avalanche terrain or touch up on your skills, jump onto one of our avalanche courses – they’re fun and extremely useful!
Respect Other Users & Terrain Closures
* Always respect other ski area users
* Never ski or hike through closed terrain within the ski area
* Never ski where you might endanger other ski area users, eg: closed terrain above ski area
* Always plan to return to the ski area before closing time