Windy conditions: 316 people have been stranded at the Mount Hutt's base building.
High winds and snowy conditions have trapped more than 300 skiers on New Zealand's Canterbury ski field.
The 316 people have been stranded at the field's base building since late Wednesday morning, including about 270 students, staff and parents from nearby Mt Hutt College.
Drifting snow and poor visibility meant the access road was too dangerous for them to drive back down, Mt Hutt ski area manager James McKenzie said.
Some managed to get off the mountain after it was decided to close it for the day, but at midday a combination of new snowfalls and wind gusts meant it was too dangerous to keep the road open, he said.
They were assessing the conditions every half hour in the hope the weather would die down, but if it hadn't improved enough by midnight, the decision would probably be made to hunker down for the night, Mr McKenzie told AAP.
"People will want a good night's sleep. It'll be a bit uncomfortable, but we won't be keeping them up with checks every half hour."
There was plenty of food, hot drinks and space for the skiers, who were in good spirits, he said.
In 2010, about 1200 skiers were forced to spend the night at Mt Hutt when 200km/h winds hit the mountain.
Wednesday's group are believed to be the only ones caught out so far, police say.