‘The Playground of the Gods’, lies on the western flank of the Craigieburn range, where it is ideally placed for trapping powder snow dumps.
Mt Olympus is a small club ski field set in a wide south-facing basin, with 60 hectares of varied terrain providing challenging runs for skiers, boarders, novices and die-hards.
The field is open from July to October and has snow ratings of 10% beginner, 55% intermediate and 35% advanced. There is a vertical drop of 441 metres from the high point of 1,875 metres and lifting is by 3 rope tows and 1 beginner’s tow. There is no equipment hire available on the field.
Mt Olympus is 128 km from Christchurch via the town of Windwhistle, and 66 km from Methven, which is also the town base for the Mt Hutt ski field. The unsealed access road runs past Ryton Station and Lake Ida up to the car park for the Bottom Hut. Mountain access above this point is sometimes 4WD only, but transport can be arranged.
The Bottom Hut has basic self-catering type accommodation for 11 people. Top Hut is a more substantial lodge with 40 beds. The large sleeping quarters have hot showers and a drying room, and there is a comfortable living area with a modern kitchen. All meals are organised by the resident chef and are prepared communally. Weekly ski packages are run throughout the season and cater for all ages and abilities. They include daily lessons, use of all tows, accommodation and food.
Mt Olympus is the ideal gateway to some of New Zealand’s finest ski-touring. Good cross-country trails lead to other areas on the Craigieburn Range. Night skiing under lights is a regular feature, and snowboarding is popular on the relatively uncrowded slopes.
Mt Olympus is an unforgettable adventure playground, whether you go for a day, weekend or week. Some say it’s the Southern Alps best kept powder secret.