Skiing in New Zealand and Top 6 Scariest drives to the Ski Fields

If you have ever looked into skiing in New Zealand, one thing that you need to think about is the drive to the mountain. Compared to the ski mountains in North America, the mountains in New Zealand tend to be more club-oriented and secluded. That’s not to say that is a bad thing. That is actually one of the most appealing things about skiing or snowboarding in New Zealand. You’ll find ski fields in some of the most spectacular scenery anywhere in the world. But, getting there can be an adventure. Many of these club run fields don’t have the resources to develop the roads and the ski fields can be located in areas that test your driving capabilities. You’ll also often need to put snow chains on your vehicle.

Below, we have compiled our list of the scariest drives to these ski fields and some videos to show you why they are on the list. They are steep with scary drop-offs and often you will not see any guard rails. While this list may scare some from going, we think it is all part of the adventure and leads to some amazing views on the drive up the mountain. Plus, the end result is that you’ll end up somewhere that will give you an experience of a lifetime.

Mt Cheeseman Ski Field

This is a small club run ski area located on the South Island of New Zealand approximately 90 minutes from Christchurch. Mt Cheeseman Ski Field is a family-oriented and affordable ski field where people will find a laid back and fun atmosphere. The drive up to the ski field is off road with gravel. But, you will find spectacular views of the hills and snow topped mountains. Four wheel drive vehicle are highly advised. There is a daily shuttle available for those who are not confident with getting there.

This video is from Adam Creed. Checkout his blog at:

Mt Lyford

Mt Lyford is a family owned and operated ski resort in South Island, New Zealand approximately 2 hours north of Christchurch. It has a vertical drop of 1,476 feet and Mount Terako provides some of the best views in New Zealand. The drive up is intimidating. The road is long, winding, and pretty steep.

Mt Olympus

Mt Olympus is another small club run ski field. It is located on the South Island in the Craigieburn Range about 3.5 hours from Christchurch and has excellent natural snow. Access road can be difficult for some to drive on that requires a vehicle and a driver that can handle the difficult conditions.

Mt Ruapehu

Mt. Ruapehu, active volcano, located on New Zealand’s North Island is home to the Whakapapa and Turoa ski areas. The road to Turoa, located on the southern slopes, is 17 kilometers long, narrow, and painfully slow.


The Ohau Snow Fields is a small family run ski field located in the foothills of New Zealand's Southern Alps about a 3.5 drive from Christchurch near the southwest shore of Lake Ohau. This is a small resort with a club feel with a large amount of terrain and no crowds giving you plenty of open space making this place a bit of a hidden gem. The access road is a tight gravel road. For those without the nerve to self-drive, there is a daily bus from town.

Treble Cone

Treble Cone, the South Island’s largest ski area, has been rated as New Zealand's best ski resort by multiple groups. Treble Cone is located within the Southern Alps of the South Island of New Zealand, approximately 90 km from Queenstown and 26 km from Wanaka. The resort also has some of the most amazing views you will ever see. The 7 km access road up to Treble Cone is a windy, steep, and gravel road where you will need to carry chains for your car.


  • I visited Mt Cheeseman 5 years ago and I had never seen an access road like that in my life. But, was good fun.

    UKSkiBum said Reply
  • Yikes! I've got NZ skiing on my bucket list. Thanks for the info.

    ronnieD said Reply

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