Freeriding, terrain parks and pistes
in Porter Heights
Freeriders should go to the top of the No 3 T-bar, because from here the mountain is yours. The view of Lake Coleridge and surrounding mountain ranges is spectacular. Don't hang around sightseeing for too long though - the first tracks on Big Mama aren't available all day. It is a reasonably easy traverse (with a little climbing) along a ridge line to the top of Big Mama, but it's not until you're standing at the top of the slope that you realise just how long the run is. It is a huge 620 vertical metres from top to bottom - one of the largest vertical drops in a lift accessed area in NZ. If you're fit enough to enjoy long powder runs, Big Mama is heaven. If you prefer chutes, traverse to the left from the top of lift No 3 T-bar to Aorangi Chutes and the Leapers, where the terrain is steep and the chutes are narrow. Bluff Face is another cool place to ride reached via a traverse down to McNulty's cat-track and hike up to the summit of Allison Peak. The Powder Bowl and Crystal Valley runs are both outside the ski boundary. There is a great boarding to be had on both, but the hike can be a mission. For reasons of safety, inform the ski patrol if you intend to go into any of these areas.
Freestylers have a lot here to check out. There's a halfpipe in McNulty's Basin and heaps of good natural hits dotted around the whole area.
Carvers will find the runs down either side of the No 1 T-bar have a reasonably consistent gradient and make excellent cruising runs for intermediate boarders.
Beginners will find the runs limited to a few short flats at the base area which are serviced by a couple of easy to use lifts.READ NEXT: Village life, accommodation & nightlife