Fox Peak Ski Field to Roundhill Ski Field is a fun ski traverse of moderate difficulty, and makes an excellent outing with friends.
Since the traverse goes from one ski field to another a car shuttle is necessary. Recommendations are to either a) have a driver standing by, or b)2 parties start from opposite ends, or c) start from Roundhill one day, sleep at the Fox Peak Ski Field club lodge, then ski tour back to Roundhill the next day.
The route takes around 8 hours on average. 6 Hours is quite achievable, 10 hours if you are skiing laps.
Starting at Fox Peak has the advantage of being able to sleep at the club’s lodge at the base of the lifts. The lodge is well priced at around 25$ per person per night. Bring your own sleeping bag and food. There are cooking facilities, lighting, hot water etc. The road is narrow but suitable for cars. Fox Pk Ski Field is club run, and usually the lifts are only running in the weekend. They will start the rope tows early so that you can get an early start if you let them know you are needing access for the traverse. The charge is about 30$ for this. If you want to start even earlier it is possible to traverse to the SW basin and head on up, skipping the lifts. Fox Peak field can catch good snow but also can become wind stripped easily. However if you catch it in the right conditions, the mountain terrain is excellent and the lifts well placed to give some great skiing and excellent touring access. There are large basins to the north and south which hold snow well and have steep rocky headwalls for a little adrenalin. Also if you are a ski patroller or lifty from a commercial field in NZ, Fox Peak club will consider letting you open and run the lifts yourself for your own day of skiing!! For more info go to http://www.foxpeak.co.nz
Starting at Roundhill has the advantage of taking in the best skiing of the route. The prevailing winds are westerly and if starting at Roundhill the slopes you will be descending will be lee to the winds and you have a much better chance of finding the perfect powder earlier in the season. The disadvantage is that the lifts do not open until 9am which would put you at the top of the ridge some time after 9.30. Starting early and touring up the slopes is a long grind and will probably put you at the top at the same time as the lift. So its more of an option if you are moving faster…or don’t mind skiing in the dark if you are a little slower.. Check with the Roundhill Ski Patrol if you are planning on leaving a car after hours at their car park. Roundhill – www.roundhill.co.nz
The traverse is technically moderate but needs some reasonably good navigation to make sure you find the crucial pass between peaks 2299 and 2302, next to a wee tarn, visible on the map and easily identifiable from the pass if skiing east to west. Multiple slope aspects are crossed which is a consideration when making avalanche assessments. Most of the time the slopes are of a reasonably low angle with a couple of exceptions where slopes can be up to around 35 degrees. Settled weather is most important as navigation would be difficult in inclement conditions.