A winter ski holiday in New Zealand offers breath-taking scenery, varied terrain for all skier and snowboarder levels, world-class facilities and bundles of fun for family and friends. With so many spectacular ski fields, we’ve created a quick and ezi guide to help you plan your winter adventure.
The North Island
Located just a 60 minute drive from Great Lake Taupo, Mount Ruapehu is the North Island’s premier skiing destination. Mt Ruapehu is an active volcano, home to Whakapapa and Turoa – the North Island’s only commercial ski areas.
Whakapapa, Mount Ruapehu
Whakapapa rests on the northwestern slopes of Mount Ruapehu and with over 65 trails to discover, it is New Zealand’s largest ski field. These trials vary from beginner to extreme with Happy Valley, New Zealand’s largest beginner area as well as 24 black and double black diamond trails to satisfy the more seasoned or extreme skier or snowboarder.
Turoa, Mount Ruapehu
Turoa is a large skifield on the south western side of Mount Ruapehu. The field is 500 hectares and has a 722 metres (2,369 feet) vertical drop. If your there on a good day it is actually possible to hike all the way to the top of the mountain (carrying your gear) to view the Crater Lake, and then ski back down to the field, or even to Whakapapa!
The South Island
Mount Hutt, Canterbury
Mount Hutt, just 80 kilometers west of Christchurch, was voted NZ’s Best Ski Resort in 2015 and boasts wide open variety of terrain for all ski and snowboard ability levels with a skiable area of 365 hectares. Mount Hutt offers spectacular views. On a good day from the summit you can see the Pacific Ocean and into the heart of the Southern Alps. The most advanced runs on the mountain weave skiiers through the rock formations at the top of the ski field known as The Towers.
Cardrona, Lake Wanaka
Cardrona Alpine Resort is found high in the Southern Alps between Wanaka and Queenstown and opens for the winter season on Saturday 11th June (2016). Cardrona is a relaxed & friendly ski area that has been a popular ski destination for 35 years. Cardrona has something to keep every skier and snowboarder smiling – wide open beginner trails, pristine groomers, fun freeride terrain & world class parks & pipes. Whatever your level, Cardrona has the slopes for you!
Coronet Peak, Queenstown
Coronet Peak, is just 25 minutes from Queenstown. From Queenstown simply follow the sign posts to Coronet Peak along the skippers road. The access road is 13km out of town on your left and the road to the ski field is sealed all the way to the top. Coronet Peak’s spectacular rollercoaster terrain makes it one of New Zealand’s most exciting ski destinations for all abilities. It provides skiers 280 skiable hectares and Night Skiing (4pm-9pm Friday and Saturday) and First Tracks (8am daily) which means that Coronet Peak now offers longer on-snow hours than any other ski area in New Zealand.
The Remarkables, Queenstown
Remarkable by name, remarkable by nature. The famous Remarkables mountain range is home to The Remarkables ski field located across the valley from its sister ski area, Coronet Peak and just a 35 minute drive from Queenstown. The Remarkables offers terrain and facilities suitable for both first timers and expert skiers and snowboarders and is known for its spectacular north-facing sunny slopes. There are three different terrain parks ranging from beginner to advanced, and a tubing park for fun snowy adventures without skis or a board.
Treble Cone, Lake Wanaka
Treble Cone is the South Island’s largest ski area, boasting 550 hectares of rideable terrain. Climbing a vertical distance of 700m, Treble Cone is recognised for its leg burning long runs and uncrowded groomed slopes. For the best view over Lake Wanaka, cruise Raffles Run, a wide blue groomed trail which can be accessed from the Saddle Basin chairlift. For those of you who are more adventurous or seasoned skiers, head down Saddle Back for a taste of Treble Cone’s famous off-piste terrain. Treble Cones is open this season (2016) from 23 June till 2nd October.
Porters is the closest ski area to Christchurch City and is a family focused ski area with a wide range of ski and snowboard terrain to suit all abilities. Porters offers great family deals and this season they are offering children 12 years and under a free lift pass with every adult lift pass purchased. Or even better, if your children are under 7 years they receive complimentary access and ski for free!
Mackenzie, Southern Canterbury
Mackenzie, Mount Cook is easily one of the most spectacular places to ski and snowboard in New Zealand. Whether you are a learner, or an expert exploring some of the off-piste terrain, there is a slope that will suit you here. There are three picturesque ski areas including Ohau, Mt Dobson, and Roundhill. At the gateway to the Mackenzie region is Mt Dobson, famous for its all day sunshine and over 400 acres of terrain. Just out of Lake Tekapo you will find Roundhill which is popular with families, known for its laid back atmosphere. Near Omarama, in the south, is the mighty Ohau. With these three uncrowded boutique ski fields and stunning scenery there is plenty to explore in this region.