Porters is a club field that has turned pro but retains much of it’s club field charm both good and bad. It’s main draw card is it’s proximity to Christchurch, being an easy hour drive from quake city.
Snow rating:❆❆ weather rating:❆❆❆❆
For some reason Porters always seems a bit short on snow, possibly due to a combination of it’s predominantly north east aspect and location on the end of the Craigieburn Range. However the more southerly facing part of the field does hold snow longer. Porters has snow making consequently they are able to stay open in lean times.
The terrain at Porters is OK. It is somewhat let down either by snow and/or lift access. For example, Bluff Face has good snow but is a long traverse from the lifts and Big Mamma often lacks snow.
Terrain Park rating:❆❆
Porters does have a small community run terrain park, which normally consists of a number of jib features and a couple of smaller style jumps.
Porters does offer some good back country in the form of Crystal Valley. This is accessed by heading to the summit above McNulty Basin. It is possible to ski a good way into Crystal and traverse back over into Bluff Face without hiking. Alternatively you can ski further down the valley if you don’t mind walking out. Crystal Valley generally has pretty consistent snow and is often worth checking out if the snow in the resort is not too flash. Ski patrol can give you a pretty good idea of what’s going on over there.
Porters has recently had a quad installed as part of a much bigger future plan to expand the resort however this only gives you access to the mellow terrain at the base of the field. To reach the top you need to take three more T-bars – these will take you up to 1960 metres and give you 630 metres of vert to play with.
There is on mountain accommodation in the form of the Alpine Lodge run by Porter Heights Ski Club which is a separate entity to the ski field www.portersalpinelodge.co.nz
Porters prices are pretty sharp provided you are skiing mid week and outside school holidays, at NZ$69. Weekends cost you NZ$92, only $3 cheaper than Hutt.
Getting to Porters is as easy as it gets, in the Canterbury fields. First off, the resort is only 89km from Christchurch which takes about an hour. Secondly, the road, although gravel, is generally wide and low angle. Stopping at the semi famous Sheffield Pie shop on the way to Porters is also a crowd pleaser. Homeward bound après ski with a very rural twist at the Springfield pub.
Bottom line: Overall stoke Rating 3
Easy to get to with OK skiing and snow.