Broken River Trail Guide
BR, as it’s known to the locals, has a friendly atmosphere, social & sunny day lodge and great terrain. Add to that the quirky access via an alpine railway and you’ve got something quite unique. The day lodge is a great place to relax and watch the action. There is some beginner terrain and plenty of variety for intermediate to advanced skiers and snowboarders.
About Broken River
From the main road, the access road takes you up through picturesque Beech Forest to the main Hanomag car park. There you can choose to walk up the foot track or take the express route skyward. The Tyndall Tramway, NZ’s only alpine railway, quickly transports you and your gear up through the Beech Forest to the ticket office and accommodation. The 4-minute ride up not only saves you a 20-minute walk but provides fantastic views cross to the Torlesse Range.
You will need to bring your own ski or snowboard gear but you can rent a tow belt or ski harness at the Ticket Office. From there you’ve got a short hike up the ‘Stairway to Heaven’ to the access tow. This tow is a little sporting for beginners but it’s worth a crack and it can be slowed down at the press of a button.
The main field is a feature-filled basin with plenty of great intermediate and advanced terrain. There are also two learner tows near the day lodge. The Access/Rugby Tow can be floodlit for night skiing. Strong skiers and snowboarders will find great terrain off the ridge and even more in the adjoining bowl. Allan’s Basin is accessed by a ridge tow and once you’ve enjoyed its thrills there is a track back to the main field via the saddle above the access tow.
When it’s time to refuel either pick up a snack from the canteen or join other amateur chefs on the communal hot plate located on the sunny Palmer Lodge deck. Even if you don’t have the gourmet burger, wild venison or some other mouth-watering morsel from the hot plate you can at least purchase BR’s own boutique lager and a hand-made pizza to create your gourmet lunch.
Terrain and Weather Tip
The sheltered ski area’s east facing position results in plenty of powder days during winter and great corn snow in spring. Adventurous beginners will have a blast outside the day lodge while the rest of the mountain is an off-piste paradise.
If you’re safety equipped, follow Allan’s Basin below the ski area boundary to the summer road and after a good snowfall ride all the way down to your car. What an awesome finish to your day!
For the Chef: Cook a burger on the hot plate.
For the Stressed: Grab a BR Lager and bask in the sun on Palmer Lodge deck.
For the Romantic: Take your lunch to the main ridge and soak in the vista of endless mountain ranges to the west.
Broken River Stats
Pistes Beginners area & some slopes groomed
Main Lifts 3x Rope Tows
Learner Lifts 2x Rope Tows
Top Elevation 1820m
Bottom Elevation 1425m
Skiable Terrain 175 hectares
Lessons Yes: Alpine, Telemark, Snowboard
Night Skiing Conditions permitting
Access 2WD with chains when required
Day Lift Pass Rates
Under 18: $35
Under 11: Free
Night Lift Pass Rates
Under 18: $25
Under 11: Free
* Member of a Club affiliated with Broken River Ski Club. Photo ID and proof of membership required.
** Students must be New Zealand fulltime, or have ISIC membership, and supply their ID.
# Family = up to 2 adults and 3 children under 18 years in the same family.
Holds plenty of snow with two main basins to ski.
Friendly relaxing vibe.
The Chill Mountains
In 2019 The Chill6 accesses the 6 Ski Areas in the Selwyn District; Porters, Cheeseman, Broken River, Craigieburn Valley, Temple Basin and Mt Olympus.
The Chill12 accesses the six ski areas above plus Rainbow, Hanmer Springs, Mt Lyford, Fox Peak, Mt Dobson and Awakino.
The Chill Travel Pass accesses the 12 mountains on the Chill12 Pass as well as Christchurch Adventure Park. Up to two clips on the Chill Travel Pass can be used at Porters and/or CAP.