New Zealand is an awesome places to hit the slopes and the winter weather has provided us with some pretty amazing skiing conditions so far this winter. Whether you’re in the North or South Island, a ski field is never too far away and no matter whether you’re a beginner or a budding slalom champion, there’s a destination to suit all levels. Skiing in New Zealand is right up there with our favourite past times. We love to welcome visitors from around the world during the winter months in search of the powdery white stuff – Australians love our winter snow and we love to see them on our slopes.
We are lucky here in New Zealand to have some of the best ski fields in the world so we decided to take a look at 5 of the best places to go skiing in New Zealand this weekend – we’d love to hear from you if you hit the slopes and send us your best photos so we can share them with our fans on Facebook.
Top 5 places to ski in New Zealand this winter
Queenstown – Coronet Peak and the Remarkables
Queenstown is the most popular place to go skiing in New Zealand and for good reason. With access to four world class ski fields within easy driving distance of the city, this is a great place to base yourself for some winter fun and some serious skiing and snowboarding action. Coronet Peak offers up some roller coaster terrain which makes it one of New Zealand’s most exciting ski resorts and a playground for snow lovers of any ability. Just a short 25 minute drive from Queenstown, there are 2 terrain parks, a tubing park as well as some great runs, the longest being 2.4 kms.
The Remarkables ski field is another short drive from Queenstown (around 35 minutes) and offers up a truly alpine experience. With terrain and facilities to suit all abilities, it’s a popular destination with Kiwis and overseas visitors alike. There are 3 terrain parks at The Remarkables Ski Field as well as a longest run of 2.5 kms with plenty to do for beginners right through to the pros.
Queenstown is also a great place to base yourself for some apres-ski. After a day on the slopes, the city offers up a fantastic night life with great bars and restaurants and roaring fires to keep you warm.
Wanaka – Cardrona and Treble Cone
If you are looking for something a bit more relaxed but still want some world-class skiing, head over to Queenstown’s little brother, Wanaka. With two awesome ski fields at Cardrona and Treble Cone and a relaxed atmosphere in the town, this is a great option for those who want to focus more on the skiing than the apre-ski!
Treble Cone has a great range of terrain with a focus more towards the intermediates to advanced skiers and snowboarders. There are a couple of terrain parks which are great for the kids and a longest run of 4 kms. Treble Cone is the South Island’s biggest ski field and this is a big draw as the slopes tend to be less crowded.
Cardrona is another awesome ski field located just a short drive from Wanaka on the road over to Queenstown making it accessible from both locations. Open daily from 9am – 4pm, Cardrona is better suited to beginners with around 25% of the terrain dedicated to beginner runs. There are a number of ski lifts that will get you where you need to go on the mountain and it is possible to buy multi-resort lift passes allowing you to visit both Cardrona and Treble Cone on one pass.
Tongariro – Mt Ruapehu
You might not think it but Mt Ruapehu is New Zealand’s largest winter playground. Located in the middle of the North Island, the Whakapapa Ski area is home to New Zealand’s highest chair lift and a whopping 25 black and diamond runs which are perfect for those wanting to really push themselves on the slopes. Contrasting with this is Happy Valley which offers everything a learner could want with 30 groomed trails which are perfect once you have mastered the basics.
Craigieburn – Canterbury
The Canterbury region offers up a few options when it comes to skiing and all the fields are within reasonable driving distance of Christchurch which makes it perfect if you are flying in and renting a car with GO Rentals. If you consider yourself in the ‘expert’ category when it comes to skiing or snowboarding then Craigieburn may be a good option for you. This place does not come with all the bells and whistles of a Queenstown or Wanaka ski field. It is managed and maintained by volunteers and is purely there for skiers and snowboarders who are looking for something a bit more challenging. There are no groomed slopes here, no cafes and no fancy chairlifts. Some of the runs even require you to walk up the mountain before you can ski down, however what it lacks in finesse, Craigieburn more than makes up for in challenging runs, off-piste skiing and pristine back country. There are dorms and private room options on the mountain so if you fancy a pretty remote getaway away from the busy slopes, make sure you check out Craigieburn.
Mt Hutt – Canterbury
In contrast to Craigieburn is Mt Hutt. Just 90 minutes from Christchurch, Mt Hutt continues to be one of New Zealand’s most popular ski fields with 365 hectares of skiable area. Recently voted NZ’s best ski resort in 2015 and 2016, Mt Hutt boasts wide open terrain for all ski and snowboard abilities which is why it is so popular with locals and tourists alike. A bonus if you are planning on taking the kids is that under 10s go free – bonus! Mt Hutt has four terrain parks and a longest run of 2 kms. It’s got a real resort feel to it with 2 restaurants and a coffee bar as well as a great ski school for kids.
So there you go – our top tips if you are planning a skiing trip in New Zealand this weekend. There are of course other options for skiing – Tekapo has some great little slopes nearby and is a lovely place to stay at this time of year but if you really want to get stuck in, then any of our top five tips will not let you down.
If you do hit the slopes this weekend, make sure you have all the right equipment for your car. Access to the slopes is often by road and unless you are catching the designated buses, you may need to add snow chains to your car which can be rented along with your car from GO Rentals.