The Ski Selwyn Six Top 10 Things to Do This Winter
1. Experience a ski week.
Each of the Ski Selwyn Six ski areas have their own on-mountain accommodation. Ski weeks are a great way to really immerse yourself in the mountain environment and improve your skiing in a laid-back environment. You’ll save some money investing in a mid-week package and will enjoy a week of uncrowded skiing and hospitality.
2. Night ski with a nutcracker.
At the time of writing a mega storm has just hit the ski areas bringing in over 40cm of cold, dry snow. At lunchtime Broken River announced the weather is clearing and they are inviting keen skiers and boarders to come night skiing, stay the night in the lodge and wake up to a fine day tomorrow. Sounds pretty good to us! Temple Basin are also known to spin the rope tows when conditions allow for night skiing. Just don’t forget your head torch.
3. Help the Kea.
Kea are a unique and endangered parrot species endemic to the Southern Alps of New Zealand. They play an important role as alpine seed distributors and are highly valued as one of the most intelligent bird species in the world. Kea are often spotted at the Ski Selwyn Six ski areas. One of their unique behaviours is that they actively seek out people and their property! So, while they are scarce across their range they often concentrated in areas where people live and visit. There are lots of ways to help Kea and one of them is to report your sighting to the Kea Database. More information can also be found on the Kea Conservation Trust website.
4. Improve your skiing with a lesson.
Whether you are new to skiing or snowboarding, not sure how to tackle the rope tows or keen to get in to more challenging terrain a lesson is the best way to work on your technique. Each season people from far and wide descend on the Ski Selwyn Six ski areas to work as instructors, often returning year after year. There are private and group options to consider, depending on where you’re at and your budget. Either way you’ll be amazed at how much you can improve and how much more enjoyment you’ll get from a lesson.
5. Enjoy classic New Zealand baking on your way to and from the mountains.
The Sheffield Bakery has been newly renovated to include a spacious café area, but the delicious baked goods are just the same. This is the perfect stop-off for a snack point when heading west. It can be tempting to stop in on the way home too just beware the treat you were eyeing up in the morning may be long gone on your return visit! The pies make a great breakfast and you can grab a hearty sandwich and something sweet for later too. For more options check out our feature on the Six Places to Eat in the Selwyn District.
6. Give ski touring a go.
Ski touring is a popular option for many club field skiers as it gives them more freedom to explore where the snow is best. There are plenty of ski touring options from the Ski Selwyn Six including short trips between ski areas and multi day guided trips overnighting in the mountain lodges. If you’re keen to give it a go, you’ll need avalanche awareness training and equipment to be safe. From here you can join a guided tour or plan your own. There are a number of operators in Selwyn who can assist in helping you get into the backcountry.
7. Finish a great day with a spectacular walk.
The Selwyn District is a treasure trove of beautiful scenic walks. Some are easily accessed from the main road and others are well off the beaten track. It is worth ending a day’s skiing with a good hike, we promise your legs will thank you for it. If you like mountain biking, you can scope out the tracks to come back and ride when they’re open in summer. Hogs Back and Dracophyllum Flat are accessed from Texas Flat on the Cheeseman access road, the latter can also be started on the Broken River road. Helicopter Hill gives excellent views and can be reached from the turn off to Broken River or on the Cragieburn Valley Access road. In Arthur’s Pass there’s the 1-hour return walk to the spectacular Devils Punchbowl Waterfall.
8. Ice skating and Curling.
On the stunning Texas Flat located a short drive up the Cheeseman Access Road you will find a natural outdoor ice rink, nestled next to Forest Lodge. Guests can enjoy this anytime, when the ice is frozen of course.
Each winter Mt Olympus host their “world famous in Canterbury (and beyond)” Curling Day. Details for this one can be found on Facebook.
9. Marvel at Castle Hill, without the crowds.
Kura Tawhiti, Castle Hill is a very popular spot with good reason, the scenery is just awesome. The reserve is often busy with sightseers but if you plan to stop in the late afternoon, you’ll find the place empties out, especially in winter. This is a great spot to stop and take photos, enjoy a picnic or marvel at the natural wonders in the limestone rock formations.
10. Enjoy a mid-winter escape weekend.
If you’re short on time and looking for a fun weekend option booking a weekend escape in the mountains will guarantee an adventure. The ski areas all offer accommodation packages that can include ski passes and meals. There are often fun events such as live music or theme parties to enjoy and there’s nothing quite like waking up on the mountain side with a day of skiing ahead.