Mount Hutt is often given a hard time, particularly from those who ski at club fields, for being busy, boring and expensive. From a truly objective skier’s point of view Hutt has a lot to offer, for skiers of all abilities and interests.
Hutt’s snow is pretty reliable and is often the first to open in the South Island. This is the result of a high elevation and a south facing aspect. The south facing field keeps the snow in good condition between storms. However Hutt’s nemesis is wind, with the field prone to gales that strip snow, leading to icy hard pack.
Another gripe is that Hutt lacks terrain options. Although to anyone with half an imagination the place offers a multitude of off-piste lines. The most notable being, The South Face and The Towers, where you will find steep chutes, spines and open powder fields. These lines all funnel down to the triple chair which also has it’s own share of fun terrain.
In terms of backcountry access Hutt delivers the goods. Exiting the six seater you can head out along the ridge towards the summit of Mount Hutt, with multiple lines to be had either side.
In recent years Hutt has put a big emphasis on its terrain parks, with well built jump lines and plenty of jib features on offer, it does not disappoint. Although not massive compared to those in North America it is definitely well up there for NZ standards. The park at Hutt is also significantly less crowded than those further south.
The mountain is serviced by three chairs; a fixed grip quad for park intermediate terrain, a high speed six seater that takes you from the base to the top of the field, and a old school triple that takes you from below the carpark to mid way up the field. The result of this lift system is big vertical and the efficient movement of punters. Skiing 10 km of vert in a day is not uncommon at Hutt.
The Hutt road is an intrepid affair for a commercial ski field. It consists of a steep 13km gravel road, with a vertical rise of over 1km. The road is suitable for most vehicles however be ready for some serious exposure. Weather can keep the road closed after big snow and high wind events. This has lead some to rename Hutt ‘Mt Shut’.
A Hutt lift pass is expensive compared to the club fields nearby at $95 for a day pass. But it pays to remember the clubbies don’t have the grooming, snowmaking, chair lifts and terrain parks on offer at Hutt. Furthermore if you can get your hands on an early bird season pass for $299, skiing at Hutt is luxury everyone can afford.
Bottom line Overall stoke rating:3.5
Hutt has something for everyone, but busy on weekends and prone to wind.