Visitor reviews for Hanmer Ski Resort
November 21, 2011
Rob Davies from United Kingdom
The small ski area is accessed by a dirt road from Hanmer Springs. It's really just a tiny club field with a drag and a rope-tow. You can stay up here in a bunkhouse, or else stay in Hanmer, about 30 minutes drive away and enjoy the hot springs and a range of accommodation for all budgets, shops and restaurants. The pleasant small town has plainly developed primarily because of the hot springs and dry continental climate, so don't expect a ski town. The road up to the ski area is as narrow and twisty as any club field access road and is generally only suitable for 4WD vehicles. You will generally need to fit chains but if that's not for you, hitch or take a shuttle.
The ski area is really quite small, even by NZ standards, but it is very quiet and steep enough to be good fun and the views are great. A vast wilderness, albeit of better looking back-country terrain, stretches away in every direction.
Snow reliability can be an issue. This area is very dry because of the surrounding high country and only SE storms deliver really big dumps and in some years, like 2011, they hardly happen. El Nino years are best. Nearby Mount Lyford sees more of the active weather and generally gets deeper cover and it's a rare dump that drops more snow at Hanmer than Lyford. Wind can also be a problem here, whipping the snow off the wide stony ridges and packing it down elsewhere. That said the main valley runs hold deep soft snow pretty well.
The best option for skiing this place is to get here on the night before a big dump and enjoy crowd-free skiing before the access road is cleared. If that takes 3 days, so much the better as the clubbies will run the lifts regardless. Just make sure you take enough food and grog and don't have a flight to catch. Like Lyford, it's on the unrestricted Chill Pass so visit it as part of a bigger tour.
Overall: 2.4. Based on 1 vote and 2 reviews. Vote
(1) At least one overnight stop, (2) requires a whole day, (3) requires more than half a day – you may have time for a few turns (4) arrive by lunchtime and ski all afternoon, (5) there is a main airport within an hour of Hanmer.
Public Transport: 2.0
(1) There are no buses or taxis to Hanmer, (3) there are slow or infrequent buses / trains available, (5) getting to the resort is easy with frequent bus / train connections.
(1) An ugly resort in a bland setting, (3) average mountain views and resort, (5) a spectacular setting and a beautiful / historic resort town.
(1) No places to stay in/near Hanmer, (3) a few places to stay in the resort, (5) a wide variety of accommodation suitable to suit all budgets.
Cheap Rooms: 4.0
(1) No budget accommodation available, (3) just one or two hostels so book ahead, (5) several cheap hostels and pensions available.
Luxury Hotels: 3.0
(1) No luxury accommodation available, (3) just one or two luxury hotels so book ahead, (5) several up-market hotels in Hanmer.
Ski in/Ski out: 1.0
(1) The ski area is located far from any accommodation, (3) a free ski bus takes you to the ski area in a short trip, (5) Ski-in ski-out accommodation is available.
(1) Occasionally gets enough snow for skiing, (2) is often closed due to a lack of snow, (3) occasionally suffers from a lack of snow, (4) rarely suffers from a lack of snow, (5) Hanmer is snowsure even in the poorest seasons.
(1) Hanmer relies entirely on natural snow, (3) there are just a few snow cannons, (5) there are snowmaking facilities on all pistes.
Snow Grooming: 2.0
(1) There are no snow groomers at Hanmer, (3) occasionally some pistes are left ungroomed and in a poor state, (5) all the runs at Hanmer are groomed daily.
(1) there is nowhere to ski when it is windy or visibility is bad and lifts often shut, (3) there are some trees for poor visibility but main lifts sometimes close, (5) Hanmer is mostly in forest where you can ski in flat-light and windy days, lifts rarely close.
Nearby options: 2.0
(1) If snow conditions are poor at Hanmer, it will be poor everywhere nearby, (3) there are good alternatives within an hours drive, (5) other locations on the same lift pass provide a rich variety of snowsure ski conditions.
Regional rating: 3.0
(1) Hanmer usually has poor snow conditions compared to other resorts in region, (3) has average conditions for the region, (5) usually has the best snow conditions in the region.
Lift Staff: 4.0
(1) The staff at Hanmer are rude or unhelpful, (5) lift staff at Hanmer are pleasant, cheerful and eager to help.
(1) the resort is always busy and there are usually long lift queues, (3) it is quiet apart from occasional weekends and school holidays, (5) it is uncrowded and lift queues are very rare.
Ski Schools: 1.0
(1) No ski schools available, (2) one or two ski schools but local language only, (3) a few ski schools but book early for multi-lingual instructors, (4) plenty of ski schools and multi-lingual instructors available, (5) excellent ski schools with friendly multi-lingual ski instructors.
Hire and Repairs: 3.0
(1) Nothing can be sourced, not even ski-wax or ptex. (3) there are some ski shops but rentals need to be booked in advance, (5) good quality ski equipment can be purchased or hired and overnight repairs are possible.
Variety of pistes: 2.0
(1) The ski runs are featureless and unvaried, (3) the ski runs are varied but not extensive enough for a week, (5) Hanmer has diverse and interesting pistes including forests and high alpine terrain.
(1) Beginners can only watch others ski and snowboard, (3) a few gentle slopes but beginners will get bored in less than a week, (3) Vast areas of gentle terrain.
(1) No intermediate terrain at Hanmer, (3) intermediate skiers will get bored after a few days, (5) vast areas of cruising runs.
(1) Nothing for advanced skiers and snowboarders, (3) enough steep terrain for a few days with some good offpiste, (5) Enough steep terrain and offpiste areas to entertain advanced skiers for at least a week.
Snow Park: 1.0
(1) Not even a kicker at Hanmer, (3) average sized park quite well looked after, (5) huge park area and expertly crafted pipes, jumps and boardercross trails.
(1) No off-piste worth mentioning, (2) off piste is out-of-bounds, (3) some varied offpiste that stays fresh for one or two days, (5) a vast array of off-piste routes that can stay untracked for several days.
(1) There is nowhere to go for cross-country skiing around Hanmer, (3) there are some cross country trails available, (5) the area features many spectacular and well maintained cross-country trails.
(1) No designated luge or toboggan runs, (3) there are toboggan runs that open quite often, (5) Hanmer has long and well maintained luge / toboggan facilities suitable for all ages.
Mountain Dining: 1.0
(1) Nowhere to buy food by the pistes, (3) some places to eat up on the mountain but they are often busy and expensive, (5) there is a variety of excellent mountain eateries right next to the slopes to suit all budgets.
(1) Bring your own food, there isn't even a shop. (5) A wide variety of places to eat and drink in the resort, from fast food to fancy restaurants.
(1) Nothing to do, not even a bar, (3) there are a few bars in the resort but nothing special, (5) clubs and bars stay open until very late and have a friendly atmosphere.
Other Sports: 4.0
(1) No sports facilities at all apart from ski lifts, (3) resort has just a small public swimming pool, (5) resort has all kinds of sports facilities, including a full-size swimming pool.
(1) Besides the snow and walking there is nothing to do here, (3) the non-skier will find things to do for few days but may become bored after a week, (5) the resort area is a fascinating place to visit, regardless of winter sports.
Winter Walks: 3.0
(1) Very limited walking and no snowshoe trails, (3) a couple of designated scenic walking/snowshoe trails, (5) extensive and diverse winter walking trails for all abilities.
Ski Pass Value: 3.0
(1) A 1 week ski pass is overpriced compared to the number of lifts available, (3) the ski pass is averagely priced and covers a reasonable number of lifts, (5) ski passes are excellent value for money and cover a lot of lifts spanning a big area.
Value (National): 3.0
(1) Overall, Hanmer is one of the most expensive ski resorts in the country and not worth the money, (3) overall represents average value for money, (5) overall offers the best value resort in the country.
Value (Global): 2.0
(1) Overall, Hanmer is one of the most expensive ski resorts in the world, (3) overall it offers pretty average value for money compared to resorts from other countries, (5) internationally the resort offers excellent value for money.
August 09, 2008
Richie from New Zealand
This place is pure magic. Low key, primo terrain and good old fashioned tow sheds with tractors driving the lifts. Get here now.