FATMAP by Strava

Crystal Basin

Skiing in the Porters ski area backcountry

Ski Touring Moderate

11 km
1.7 km
1.7 km
7-8 hrs
Low Point
1.3 km
High Point
2 km
Crystal Basin Map

While hanging out in New Zealand we would hear a story about how Porters was actually supposed to be built in the Crystal Bowl but there was a misunderstanding and instead it was built in the wrong basin. The actual ski hill has a great profile but as of recent years it lacks snowpack to realise its full potential. You can have a rocky surface within the ski area while the Crystal Bowl has more than enough snow but you will usually be sharing it with other ski tourers. I’m not sure if this is just a legend but it does make sense if they accidentally built the resort in the a valley too far. This is a great ski tour that only takes an hour to get to but be warned that you will have to hike back up so make sure to use your energy accordingly.


Standing at the Porters Ski area parking lot you can either use the lifts to get to high ridge or hike up. The main thing is that you need to get to the top of Mcnulty Basin to start making your way north. Once passing the high point of 1997 you now have an open view of the Crystal Bowl and different potential lines within the open terrain. The most popular thing to do is head out to Point 1981 before dropping southeast as far as the snow allows. Once it is time to transition just put the board on your pack and hike the semi steep terrain back up to the low col and repeat your descent until either your legs or lack of daylight make it so it’s time to head back.

Once you have made the most out of the terrain just follow the bootpack back up to the col and hike south over to point 1997. If there is enough snowpack you can ride back down into McNulty Basin but in my experience we would have to hike down to the main ski track because there was a lack of snow. From here you are now in the ski resort boundaries and can easily ride back down to the parking lot. After doing this trip it is easy to understand why they should of built the ski resort in Crystal Basin

For more pictures and the full story check out this link https://www.whereiskylemiller.com/new-zealand/crystal-bowl/



Slopes become slightly steeper at around 25-30 degrees.

Medium Exposure (E2)

2 out of 4

As well as the slope itself, there are some obstacles (such as rock outcrops) which could aggravate injury.


2 out of 4

Away from help but easily accessed.

Best time to visit

between July and November


  • Bowl
  • Alpine
  • Ski Safari

Equipment required

  • Skins
  • Crampons