There aren't any chairlifts at New Zealand's Temple Basin ski fields, and the bunkrooms are close to freezing, but when you're looking down a couloir full of sweet, untouched powder, creature comforts quickly become superfluous. This 78-year-old public ski field - a nonprofit Kiwi creation where $135 a night gets you a lift pass, lodging, and food - might offer the best lift-accessed backcountry skiing in the world. Three ancient tow ropes ferry guests from the Adirondack-style lodge up to a saddle on 6,275-foot Temple Peak. From there, skiers can hike or skin to any number of peaks or chutes (as well as mellower open snowfields). There's an hour-long hike to the lodge from the parking area on Arthur's Pass, but a luggage lift carries your skis, gear, and whatever other comforts you brought from home - such as extra blankets or a case of local Tui beer. [templebasin.co.nz]
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