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Snowboarding down the open face at sunset

Ski Tour Temple Basin at Arthur's Pass

Explore one of New Zealand's most beloved touring spots in one of its most beautiful locations

Ski Touring Moderate, Difficult

Also in West Coast, New Zealand

Snowboarding down the open face at sunset
Snowboarding down the open face at sunset Photo: Kyle Miller


Temple Basin is a legendary ski touring venue from where skiers with the requisite skills and ambition can access countless peaks. The ski basin's ski club was formed back in 1929, so it's closing in on its centenary and remains as wild and natural as it was back then. Greymouth is 90 minutes away, Christchurch 2 hours, and there's not an awful lot on the journey from either town (!), making Temple Basin a place for purists. If you're seeking true wilderness and a small bunch of like-minded folk to share it with, Temple Basin is for you.

Temple Basin ski area and lodge can't be accessed by vehicle, so you'll need to skin/hike (depending on conditions) up 400 vertical meters to reach the base station. (On all of the ski tours described in the guidebook, we've shown the line going from the highway, so discount 400 meters from the vertical ascent/descent required if you choose to stay at the lodge rather than doing day trips). There is a gear lift which transports your gear from the highway to the lodge, but this is only open at specific times - make sure you call ahead to check opening hours with the team at Temple Basin if you're hoping to use the gear lift. Staying at the lodge is a beautiful experience, and the sense of camaraderie only adds to the fun. The dining room at Temple Basin lodge has been the scene of many an eventful night, and you're sure to find some good company there to enjoy over a few drinks.

The terrain above Temple Basin Lodge is insane, and we've got four ski tours documented here to help you explore it. Three of the routes in here are there-and-backs from either the highway or the lodge, but the king line in here is undoubtedly the trip into the Devil's Punchbowl - a valley you are unlikely to share with anybody! Kyle Miller, who wrote these routes, is a true ski mountaineering expert and managed to locate an absolutely plum line in the Devil's Punchbowl - just follow the line to find it for yourself!

Temple Basin is a bucket list destination if you're looking for high, alpine adventures or just some fun slackcountry!

Routes included

Related guidebooks