An expanded and upgraded beginners’ area, further developed terrain parks and better access to upper mountain trails are among a series of improvements that will this year greet skiers and riders visiting Mt Hutt, Canterbury’s premier ski area.
Other upgrades to the high country ski area include a new direct-to-lift radio frequency pass system, a Mt Hutt specific radio station which can be picked up along the access road, remodeling in the café, extensions to Huber’s Hut restaurant and a downtown equipment fitting service designed to get skiers and riders on the snow as quickly as possible.
Mt Hutt Ski Area Manager Dave Wilson says this year’s upgrades were planned largely in response to feedback from skiers and riders and are designed to improve the overall experience for Mt Hutt’s visitors.
The beginner’s Magic Carpet is now completely enclosed by a tunnel and the beginners’ area it serves has been extended and graded to provide a more consistent slope angle – all designed to make learning easier and more fun.
In the main terrain park, earthworks have improved access as well as created more mellow expanses which will this year be home to some very cool features. A new road into the mini park has improved this area also.
The new radio frequency system means an end to frustrating fishing around for lift passes tucked inside ski gear during lift access. The system uses microchips on all passes that can be read through clothing while safely stored in a ski jacket or pants pocket.
“Lift access is streamlined as the passes are electronically checked when skiers and boarders pass through specially designed gates without having to produce their pass,” says Mr Wilson.
A Mt Hutt radio station will broadcast on 94.1 FM, which people can tune into for up-to-the-minute information on conditions and about the mountain.
“For a long time we’ve wanted to be able to communicate with people as they drive up the access road. This year, working with The Rock radio station we are broadcasting on a high powered FM station which will give us virtually 100% coverage on the road and continue out onto the plain. Information such as parking and chain requirements, events on the day and orientation for new visitors to the area will be available for people as they drive towards Mt Hutt. ”
The mountain’s food and beverage outlets have also been upgraded for opening day. Ski High Café has been redesigned to provide better visuals of the food selection offered and to reduce queues. There are new tables and chairs and the seating capacity has been increased by at least 30%. The rustic, high country style Huber’s Hut has been extended.
“We’re particularly excited about extending Huber’s Hut into Huber’s Loft. This area has been increasingly popular as a relaxed place to have a meal and a drink, so we’ve added more seating areas to meet demand. Huber’s Loft will be open during busy periods.”
Huber’s Hut will also feature in a new addition to operations. “Dinner with the Stars” is a package offered one night a week during July and August. Up to 80 guests will be transported from Methven to Mt Hutt to enjoy a fireside meal at Huber’s Hut followed by outdoor activity including stargazing and Groomer, Skidoo and Husky Dog rides.
“These evenings will be very special, not many people realise how much goes on at Mt Hutt in the evening and how beautiful the mountains are at night time. I think this has the potential to be a highlight of people’s time at Mt Hutt,” says Mr Wilson.
In downtown Methven, a new rental fitting service means those arriving in town for skiing or riding the next day can get their rental equipment sorted during the evening prior. They can buy passes at the same time avoiding any queuing at Guest Services on the mountain.
“This will make it much easier for people, particularly families. They can get kitted out with their gear and passes downtown then pick it up on the mountain the next morning and head directly to the lifts.”
Further information: www.nzski.com or contact Dave Wilson on 027 438 6422
About Mt Hutt
The most complete terrain mix of any ski area in The South Island & one of the largest ski areas in NZ.
Exceptional 10 year snow record both in terms of total snowfall and snow quality and one of the longest snow seasons in New Zealand.
Wide open terrain with plenty of runs for all skier/rider types, including a great beginner’s area with a 140m long Magic Carpet. Superb advanced terrain including the Rakaia Saddle Chutes and South Face.
Halfpipe with snowmaking, pipe shaper, mini terrain park and a purpose built intermediate/advanced terrain park with hits, rails and tabletops.
Breathtaking views over the Canterbury Plains to the Pacific Ocean.
FREE day lift passes for children aged six years and under.