Stunning scenery in an untouched place
New Zealand is a stunning destination for skiing. The incredible landscapes and scenery will take your breath away and the uncrowded ski fields mean you can spend more time skiing and less time queuing. The season is amazingly long and runs from June to October. New Zealand’s South Island is the ultimate destination for a snowy escape but there are also some amazing slopes in the North Island. We explore the best New Zealand has to offer when it comes to your skiing and snowboarding getaway.
Coronet Peak, Queenstown
The peaks in the South Island capture the earliest snow and also some of the best snow. Coronet Peak is the closest mountain to the picturesque town of Queenstown, just a 25 minute drive away. A shuttle service runs from Queenstown for only $20 return. This slope has a varied terrain and is suitable for all skill levels. The facilities are world class and the opening hours are the longest in New Zealand offering night skiing and first tracks.
The elevation of the mountain is 1649m with a skiable area of 280 hectares. The other benefit of this destination is the off slope activity that Queenstown offers. From jet boating, bungy jumping, wine tours to relaxing spas – there is something for everyone.
The Remarkables, Queenstown
The Remarkables ski slope, in the famously picturesque Remarkables, go hand in hand with Coronet Peak. This is only a 35 minute drive away so if you stay at Queensown you have the benefit of two amazing mountains close by. This year new facilities are opening at the base building that include a new café and restaurant. This slope has varied terrain, an altitude of 1945m, a 220 hectare skiable area and is perfect for beginners and families due to the great learning facilities available. The slopes caters for all abilities and there is an Early Learning Centre for children aged three months through to five.
Cardrona Aline Resort, Queenstown
Located between Queenstown and Wanaka this is the second largest ski area in the Queenstown area with 20-30% more terrain on offer at 345 hectres. With its southerly aspect the snow is dry, plentiful and reliable. This is a fun and friendly destination that is also extremely family friendly. The drive time from Queenstown is 60 minutes and you get to experience some outstanding scenery as you cross the Crown Range. You can also stay at Wanaka and that is a 30 minute drive to the slopes. Both destinations offer shuttle services.
Mount Hutt, Canterbury
This is probably one of the most exciting ski destinations in New Zealand. With an altitude of 2086m and a skiable areas of 365 hectares it makes it one of new Zealands largest ski areas. It has the greatest variety of terrain and the second longest vertical drop in New Zealand. The views at Mount Hutt can’t be beaten. In one direction you can see the Pacific Ocean and in the other the beautiful Southern Alps. This is a 90 minute scenic drive from Christchurch Airport and you can stay at the small and picturesque town of Methven where there is a shuttle service to the mountain that takes only 35 minutes.
Mount Ruapehu, North Island
Mount Ruapehu is located in the centre of the North Island and has two amazing ski slopes on offer. On the north west slope is Whakapapa ski area that has 1050 hectares of skiable area and 65 trails. It is New Zealands largest ski destination. Turoa ski area is on the south-west side of the mountain and has the longest vertical descent in Australasia. The two ski areas can be experienced with just one ski pass. There are numerous accommodation options in the area. Okahune is the most popular. Based on the Mangawhero stream the village is picturesque and buzzing. National Park Village is another great option that has outstanding views for the local volcanoes.
Although all five of these locations rent equipment and clothing it is always best to come prepared with some of your own gear. Check out our review of the best outdoor clothing brands so you can dress the part and keep warm.