Methven Heliski. Methven has access to some of New Zealand's best backcountry helicopter-accessed terrain and hundreds of square miles of pristine snow. You don't have to be an advanced skier to enjoy it–-there is something for every range of ability here, including long runs in deep powder, gentle glaciers, plus a fabulous day out soaring over the Alps with a friendly team. They fly every fine day from July 1 until September 30. 114 Main St., Methven, Canterbury, 7730. 03/302--8108; www.methvenheli.co.nz. NZ$1,045 per person for full day, 5 runs.
Mt. Hutt Ski Area. The views across the Canterbury Plains are amazing from this high-country ski area. It has one of the longest vertical drops in the South Island and a complete terrain mix for all skiers and boarders. A great family ski spot, there is a beginner's area with a 140-meter-long enclosed Magic Carpet, and modern chairlifts. For advanced skiers and snowboarders there's plenty of off-piste action, too. Mt. Hutt Ski Area, Methven, Canterbury. 03/308--5074; www.nzski.com/mthutt. Full day NZ$98, ½ day NZ$69. Free lift passes for children age 10 and under.
Porters. Take the drive from Methven along the Great Alpine Highway to the Porters ski area, with some spectacular views along the way. The access road is one of the shortest and least intimidating in the region, too. There are excellent learner facilities here, as well as a terrain park for boarders. A new Easyrider chairlift connects the base with the upper mountain. Two of New Zealand's legendary runs are here–-Bluff Face and Big Mama. If you need a break, the café has great views over the Torlesse Range. Porters Ski Area, Methven, Canterbury. 03/318--4002; www.skiporters.co.nz. Full day NZ$89, ½ day NZ$59. Free lift pass for children under 12 with a full-day adult.