The serenely quiet and picturesque
hamlet of St Arnaud, on the shores of South Islands Lake
Rotoiti, is the home base for ski fields in the
Mt Robert is a club field, which has been operated by the Nelson
Ski Club since 1944. The field is quite unique in terms of its
physical isolation and high level of volunteer support. The ski
field access is on a 15 km partly unsealed road starting south of
St Arnaud on the West Coast highway. From the car park it is a 2
hour walk up the face of Mt Robert via the Pinchgut Track and
onto an exposed ridge. The alternative is a 2 minute helicopter
shuttle from the car park helipad, weather permitting.
The rewards on reaching this remote field are considerable.
Stunning views of Nelson Lakes National Park, well groomed open
basins reached by 5 rope tows, suitable terrain for all levels of
skiing and boarding, and a friendly atmosphere in the comfortable
60 bunk lodge.
The season extends from July to September and the snow ratings
are 10% beginner, 70% intermediate and 20% advanced. Ski and
board hire can be arranged in Nelson or Blenheim. The highest
point is 1,700 metres and the skiable area is 350 hectares. For
those who are experienced and well equipped there is good
cross-country ski touring. Snowboarders enjoy the perfect natural
half-pipe on the field.
The Mt Robert Snowsports Club offers some of the cheapest rates
in the Southern Hemisphere. The tow fees, weekend and ski-week
rates, and even the helicopter shuttle prices are very
The combination of brilliant Nelson Lakes sunshine, club field
hospitality, no waiting in tow queues, and hassle free skiing and
boarding, make Mt Robert a great ski location. After spending
epic days on the crisp, dry powder slopes, the access question
becomes a non-issue. Its simply enough just to be there.