A well kept secret in New Zealand skiing circles, is a remote ski field, which can be found midway between Christchurch and Queenstown.
Ohau ski field is by-passed by winter sports enthusiasts dashing to the Southern Lakes, even though the field is clearly visible from the main Mackenzie Plains highway. Ohau has brilliant snow, varied terrain, great hospitality and no crowds.
The field is open from July to October, and caters for all abilities, with snow ratings of 20% beginner, 50% intermediate and 30% advanced. From the highest point of 1,925 metres there is a 400 metre vertical fall to the base via ‘The Boulevard’, which is a wonderful joy ride for beginners on a safe, groomed trail as wide as a highway. Intermediates can choose the zig-zag ‘Luge’, and experts can push the limits on the ‘High Traverse’ and the ‘Escalator’.
Ohau is on the flank of Mt Sutton in the Ohau Range of North Otago, 52 km from both Twizel and Omarama. To reach the field follow a 10 km unsealed access road off the Lake Ohau road. Chains can be hired at the Lake Ohau Lodge at the base of the mountain, 15 minutes below the slopes. Staying at the Lodge is a memorable part of the Ohau experience. The views are outstanding, the outdoor spa pools luxurious, and by staying here you qualify for discounted ski packages.
The field is known for its exciting winter calendar of events, including an Irish Weekend known as ‘The Hooley’, the Highland Games and the Ohau Snow Ball. Snowboarding is popular, and special Boarder Cross events are held each August. Heli-skiing is available from the Lodge enabling advanced skiers and boarders to explore huge snow bowls beyond the ski area. Ohau is the ideal winter home away from home for ski tourers, powder hounds or families on a budget.
The secret is out. Ohau offers exquisite dry powder snow terrain. You just have to be there to enjoy it.