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Mt Potts, NZ - Work a Winter Season

 

Mt Potts helicopterPhoto: Heliskiing drop-off at Mt Potts, helipark

 

Mt Potts is located in the Rangitata Valley, Canterbury New Zealand, on the South Island. It is a two-hour drive from Christchurch and one hour's drive from Methven.

The original homestead, wool shed and shearer's quarters were transformed into accommodation in 1964. The lodge is now a working cattle farm, restaurant and lodge. In winter, the lodge is opened up as a base for heli-skiing. The Lord of the Rings trilogy was partly filmed in the area (including the city of Edoras at Mt Sunday), and the scenery is some of the most beautiful in New Zealand.

mount potts trail map thumb

Getting to Mt Potts

There are very limited transport options to get to Mt Potts and you will likely need a car to get there unless you can get a lift with someone. Mt Potts is located far up in the high country and there is no bus or other public transport option to get there.

The Terrain at Mt Potts

In winter, Mt Potts operates Helipark. There are no tows or chairlifts. Instead, all vertical transport is provided by snowcats and helicopter, making Mt Potts one of the more distinctive ski resorts in New Zealand.

Basically, Mt Potts is a huge backcountry area for heli-skiing with 660 hectares of terrain available to riders. Mt Potts is popular with photographers and other free skiers to get those classic New Zealand backcountry shots we see in movies and in print.

At Mt Potts, you get the benefit of in-bound avalanche control, without tracked out runs or crowded lifts or tows. The heli-skiing is also unique in that it is partly self-guided. As the mountain has been avalanche primed, you are able to pick your own lines while the guides are there only as a safety back-up. Nonetheless, you will carry avalanche transceivers in case of an avalanche.Terrain at Mt Potts

There are multiple peaks on which the helicopter can drop you. There are steeps, drop-offs and chutes as well as several lines down for intermediates. The maximum vertical drop for a run is 800m.

  • Caroline's has lots of chutes to pick from and wide open bowls on either side, dropping down to a wide open pow run back to the helipad.
  • Mt Arthur is the summit. Drop down into any of the chutes which vary in size - work your way to up the narrowest. Each line opens up to a steep and wide basin, charge them!
  • Cathedrals is where the Salomon team shredded in Adrenaline Hunters. Open and fast, Cathedrals will probably be the steepest you've skied in a while. Powder days can make the steeps much less imposing!
  • Big Ruff is the steepest and hardest terrain on the mountain. The Canadian or Double Headed Monster are adrenaline pumpers. 

Getting a Job and Working at Mt Potts

Mt Potts has a very small team of employees. Hiring starts in April each year. Applicants can make an inquiry and submit and application via the contact page on the website. mtpotts.co.nz/contact

International applicants are able to apply so long as they have a New Zealand working visa already. See the Work a Winter Season Season in Zealand for further information on getting a working holiday visa for New Zealand.

Whether staff can get free use of the helicopter or snow cat from time to time will depend on each season and the company that is running the helicopters and snowcats that particular season.

Accommodation Options at Mt Potts

Staff live at Mt Potts, and there is staff accommodation available. The atmosphere is one of a small, tight team that works together. You will know everyone very well by the end of the season!   

 

Photo: Rugged New Zealand Terrain near Mt Potts

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