Porters Ski Area

Porters, is a commercial ski resort just over an hour's drive (98km) west from Christchurch, in the South Island of New Zealand. Originally functioning as a club skifield, it has one beginner magic carpet, one platter tow, one chairlift and three t-bars. The difficulty of the slopes is distributed as 15% beginner, 35% intermediate and 50% advanced. Modern grooming equipment is used, and snowmaking facilities operate along the main pistes along the chairlift.

 New Zealand
Nearest major citySpringfield
Coordinates43°16′26″S 171°38′34″E
Vertical620 m
Top elevation1995 m (6545 ft)
'Allison Peak'
43°15′45″S 171°37′53″E
Base elevation1302 m (4272 ft)
Skiable area700 Ha
- 15% beginner
- 35% intermediate
- 50% advanced
Longest run2km - McNulty's Basin
Lift system6 lifts:
3 T-Bars,
1 Platter lift,
1 Magic carpet,
1 Chairlift
Terrain parks1
Night skiingNo
Porters Ski Field (2019)

There is one club-run lodge with 42 beds, situated along on the mountain's access road, said by the company operating the field to be "the least intimidating in Canterbury".[1]

In 2007 the name of the field changed from Porter Heights to simply Porters to reflect a change in ownership. By 2020 it was again rebranded as Porters Alpine Resort.[2] This has brought various improvements to the field, including a new groomer, cafe and platter lift.[3]

In 2011 a proposed land swap attracted controversy. Blackfish, the Australian company that owns the ski field, offered to swap 70 ha of land on Banks Peninsula for 198 ha of conservation land adjacent to the ski field. Alan Morrison, the director general of the Department of Conservation, agreed to the land swap in principle. The land swap is opposed by the Canterbury Aoraki Conservation Board and by Forest and Bird.[4]


Porters Ski Area is located at the southern end of the Craigieburn Range in the South Island of New Zealand. The Craigieburn Range is situated 85 km northwest of Christchurch and an equal distance from both the west and east coast of the South Island. The range is orientated northeast to southwest and extends for 26 km. The geology and topography of the Craigieburn Range is typical of much of the eroded alpine land east of the Main Divide with folded indurated sandstones and siltstones forming rounded ridge tops. Many of the slopes are still very active due to numerous shatter belts within the highly jointed bedrock resulting in the predominantly scree-covered terrain. Although valley glaciations would have been extensive in the Late Pleistocene, most evidence of this has been severely modified due to fluvial erosion and talus deposition. The ski area consists of approximately 80% of this scree with the remaining cover being alpine vegetation.





Trail NameTrail RatingInclineLengthDescription
Beginner Area
Black Diamond
0.1 kmBeginner Area is founded just above the car park
Easy Street
Blue Square
1.1 kmEasy Street is founded just above the car park
Intermediate Area
Blue Square
0.2 kmIntermediate Area is founded just above the car park
Dome Face
Black Diamond
1.2 kmDome Face is the large open slope above the old cafe and the ski patrol building
Big Mama
Black Diamond
31° - 37°1.2 kmBig Mama is the large open slope on the true left of Dome Face, which runs down from the boundary ridge to the base area
Black Diamond
31° - 36°0.3 kmBabylon is small open slope that breaks off the main ridge about halfway down, directly above tower-5 of T-Bar 1
Ridge Route
Black Diamond
32° - 35°0.8 kmRidge Route is large open slope that is running down from the top main ridge
Julian's Bowl
Black Diamond
25° - 30°0.5 kmJulian's Bowl the obvious ‘Y’ shaped bowl below the T-Bar 3 drive station. It is bound by T-Bar 2 lift track on the true left
Black Diamond
18° - 37°0.5 kmHeadwall is large open slope on the true right side of T-Bar 3 lift line
Sundance Basin
Blue Square
20° - 30°0.7 kmSundance Basin is the groomed ski run for T-Bar 3, the slope on the true left of T-Bar 3 lift line
Black Diamond
29° - 39°0.4 kmJC's is the slope from the main ski run on T-Bar 3 to about half way the bowl
Black Diamond
22° - 40°0.9 kmLeaper is the slope from about halfway between the large rock buttress in JC's and to the small gullies above the top of T-Bar 2
Aorangi Chutes
Black Diamond
28° - 35°0.6 kmAorangi Chutes is the area where the slope is made up of multiple narrow gullies and rocky outcrops above T-Bar 1
Black Diamond
21° - 35°0.6 kmSolitude is the slope between the rocky outcrops of Aorangi Chutes and McNulty's Saddle
McNulty's Basin
Blue Square
2.0 kmMcNulty's Basin is the groomed trail from top T-Bar 3 through McNulty's Basin
Blue Square
21° - 29°0.3 kmSerpent is the slope below the saddle and the first section of the ridge walk to Bluff Face
Jelly Roll
Black Diamond
30° - 33°0.5 kmJelly Roll is the slope midsection of the ridge walk to Bluff Face
Pot Belly
Black Diamond
29° - 35°0.5 kmPot Belly is located in McNulty's Basin below the Ridge Walk to Bluff Face, the prominent steep open slope below the summit of 'Allison Peak'
Uli's Roll
Blue Square
0.5 kmUli's Roll is located in McNulty's Basin below the summit of 'Allison Peak'
Zodiac Traverse
Black Diamond
0.7 kmZodiac Traverse is wider open section below the Allison Peak summit
Black Diamond
0.7 kmScorpio is the large open slope in McNulty's Basin on the true right of the prominent rock buttresses, which border onto Libra and the upper part of Bluff Face
Black Diamond
0.7 kmLibra is the open slope between the two prominent, parallel rocky ridges, which run down between Scorpio and Bluff Face
Stellar Bowl
Black Diamond
30° - 40°0.3 kmStellar Bowl is the area below the triangular shaped group of rock buttresses on the true right of Libra
Black Diamond
0.4 kmStan's is the slope directly below the prominent, low buttress between Libra and Bluff Face
Black Diamond
30° - 40°0.3 kmPisces is the slope directly below the lowest rock buttress on the small ridgeline that runs down from Bluff Face true left side
Bluff Face
Black Diamond
34° - 42°1.2 kmBluff Face is the large open face on the true left of the ski area with large prominent rock buttresses at the top.
Laurie's Face
Black Diamond
33° - 37°0.5 kmLaurie's Face is the large open slope below the skyline ridge that sweeps down from the true left of Bluff Face
Don't Miss
Black Diamond
0.5 kmDon't Miss is the slope on the true left of the car park, which is made up of numerous rocks and rocky outcrops of moderate to large size and multiple gullies ranging from very narrow to middle width
Black Diamond
0.4 kmThe Sphinx is located on the slopes above the snow groomer workshop and the access track


There are two principal storm systems that influence Porter Ski Area. The typical storm involves the passage of a southwest frontal band. Warm, gusty west to northwest winds precede the frontal passage with a change to cooler south to southwest winds following behind. The second storm type involves a deepening depression that moves across central New Zealand to lie off the East Coast of the South Island. Such a system feeds a moist east to southeast airflow into the Craigieburn region. Prowse[5] and McGregor[6] suggest that the majority of seasonal snow accumulations along the Craigieburn Range are associated with typical northwest-turning southerly storm cycles, due to the proximity of the range to the Southern Alps.

The coldest dry-bulb temperature ever recorded at Porters Ski Area was on 14 August 2011 at 23:35:48 at −15.37 °C (4.33 °F; 257.78 K).

Climate data for Porters Area Ski @ 1,320 m
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 26.6
Average high °C (°F) 22
Daily mean °C (°F) 11
Average low °C (°F) 0
Record low °C (°F) −2.3
Average precipitation mm (inches) 62
Average precipitation days 13 12 11 11 12 17 16 18 18 16 11 15 170
Average relative humidity (%) 67 69 68 70 69 66 66 70 66 66 67 72 68
Source: Data from an automatic weather station between 2005 and October 2015


187 plant species can be found within the ski field boundary.[7]


During the summer months five species of grasshoppers can be found within the ski field boundary. They include Sigaus villosus which can be found along the ridgelines, Brachaspis nivalis which lives on the rocky scree, Sigaus australis, Paprides nitidus which both live in the alpine tussocklands and Phaulacridium marginale which can be found in the tussocklands below 1,100 m.[8]


  1. Porters Ski Area - skiing, snowboarding - south island new zealand - skiing, snowboarding Archived 2007-09-28 at the Wayback Machine
  2. "Porters Alpine Resort". Porters Alpine Resort. Retrieved 2021-02-07.
  3. Chill. Multi Mountain Pass, Porters, Accessed 21/6/7
  4. Wilkliams, David (23 March 2011). "DOC agrees to land swap". The Press. Retrieved 13 May 2011.
  5. The Snow Environment of the Craigieburn Range. MSc thesis. University of Canterbury, New Zealand
  6. Snow Avalanche Phenomena on the Eastern Side of the Craigieburn Range New Zealand. PhD thesis. University of Canterbury, New Zealand
  7. Ecology Report and Assessment of Effects - Proposed Porters Ski Area Expansion (2010). Boffa Miskell Limited
  8. R. S. Bigelow (1967). The Grasshoppers of New Zealand, their Taxonomy and Distribution. Christchurch: University of Canterbury.