We have heaps of ski fields near my hometown of Calgary, Canada, but none of them are like Temple Basin (TB). At TB, you have to work for your skiing. This club field is an enjoyable two and a half hour drive to the west of Christchurch in Arthur's Pass.
Once you arrive at the parking lot, you have another hour and 400 meters to climb before arriving at the club house. Club members affectionately refer to the hike as "the Range Rover filter" for good reason. There is a gear lift that runs during the season, so you can travel a bit lighter on the journey to and from your vehicle. But because we were there in the preseason, all of our camera gear and clothing was coming with us, adding another 15-20 kilos on our backs. However, the ascent was beautiful, with an encouraging sun-lit Mt. Temple in front of us the whole way. Upon arriving at the lodge and ditching our gear and soaking wet clothes, we were welcomed by some of the other volunteers who were assisting with the pre-season maintenance of the club. Shortly after, we were treated to an amazing dinner of roast chicken, gravy, vegetables, and baked potatoes. My mate, Harry, had told me that Temple was quite a special place but I didn't realize what he meant until I was actually there. Hardworking, friendly people who love the outdoors, epic mountain scenery and a real sense of adventure all contribute to the incredible vibe that TB gives off. Everyone who was at the lodge that weekend was either an employee, or a member of the club who was trading their time and skills for a weekend escape and a few nights in the lodge away from the city.
I already love the place without even doing any skiing (there wasn't enough snow) but I know that I will be going back later this season to get the full experience!
Please enjoy this short film "Escape to Temple Basin".