When people think about ski resorts they may consider the mountains in Switzerland or the hills in Italy as some of the best places in the world to enjoy the sport. If they would take some time to find out about New Zealand, they may realize that this is another location that they can enjoy. New Zealand is a land that has a little bit of everything. From the sandy beaches to big cities to ski resorts, New Zealand is ready to treat people to a great time in any way they please.
When to Go
Skiing does need one very important ingredient. It needs snow. The season for skiing in New Zealand runs from June to October. This is great for the people that enjoy skiing year-round. They can spend the months they call summer in New Zealand and they can enjoy their traditional winter months of skiing elsewhere.
The only danger of this is when they start to compare the different locations for skiing. They may quickly find out why New Zealand is becoming an international destination for skiing enthusiasts.
People that do go skiing in New Zealand will find several things that they can enjoy. The magnificent scenery that can be found at the ski resorts is difficult to match. On top of that, visitors will find that there are plenty of places to get the skiing gear they need and that the lines for the ski slopes are never crowded. It means that people can actually spend their day enjoying the sport instead of waiting around for a quick trip down the mountain.
Where to Go
There are top 10 places that ski enthusiasts like to visit.
It is a local destination, so it’s no surprise it is a part of this list as it is one of the best in New Zealand. You will find a wide variety of terrain, great views, and robust infrastructure – all conveniently located roughly halfway between Queenstown and Wanaka.
It is also quite accessible, less than an hour from Queenstown and Wanaka, with shuttles available if you don’t feel like tackling the road yourself. Of course, that ease of access can sometimes contribute to crowds on the weekends.
2. Treble Cone
You will find jaw-dropping views of Lake Wanaka and Mt. Aspiring, Treble Cone is convenient to get to from both Wanaka and Queenstown. With 45% of the trails rated for intermediates and another 45% for advanced skiers. There are plenty of choices for everyone. The beginner terrain is limited but it’s not too bad for true newbies considering Treble Cone provides free access to the Magic Carpet and discounted passes to the Platter Lift. The base area may be relatively basic, but the chic, relaxed town of Wanaka is conveniently close by with a good selection of lodging, restaurants , shopping, and services.
With a cool 550 hectares (just under 1,400 acres) to ski around in, Treble Cone is the one of Wanaka’s most popular picks for powder enthusiasts of all kinds, namely because the fresh lines are a true force to be reckoned with. It offers beginner ski and snowboard lessons on site, and there are a tonne of gullies and off-piste terrains for the more advanced skiers.
Although The Remarkables is a small ski area, the views are certainly large, including some of the most famous vistas on the planet. With three magic carpets within view of the base lodge, the Remarkables is an excellent choice for families with beginners.
The runs are nice and wide making it perfect for kids to practice their turns and the trails here are ideal for progressing. Although, the natural snow conditions aren’t always great here, and you can often end up with wet and clumpy stuff, or ice. But in saying that, there’s a fair amount of snowmaking to make up for it.
This astonishingly gorgeous mountain range is also home to some of New Zealand’s best slopes. The Remarkables field is just a 35-minute drive from Queenstown, and caters to all skill levels. Wide runs provide plenty of scope for beginners to practise, while there are plenty of black runs for advanced adventurers wanting to challenge themselves on the park’s tougher terrains.
4. Coronet Peak
It is only 20 minutes from the adventure haven of Queenstown, Coronet Peak is a favorite place for skiers to get their turns. It offers a variety of terrain, but intermediates will have a blast with all the blue groomers to choose from.
With only 27 runs, it usually gets crowded, especially compared to some of the club ski fields. The base area might seem sparse but Coronet Peak offers a handful of delightful dining options plus childcare, ski school, rentals, and shopping!
5. Mount Hutt
There are always reliable good snow conditions and coverage that lasts well into the Southern Hemisphere spring. You will find a good selection of terrain, with plenty of space for beginners, loads of wide groomers for the intermediates, and a decent collection of off-piste blacks for the more adventurous.
Kids below 10 can ski free so families with kids can get some great value for money. Most visitors stay in Methven, about 30 minutes away, where accommodations are reasonably priced. And if your family has expert skiers with differing abilities, the range of terrain here makes Mt Hutt a no-brainer.
Mt Hutt is located in the Canterbury region, approximately 90 minutes from Christchurch. The World Ski Awards has crowned it New Zealand’s Best Ski Resort five years in a row, and the area is renowned for offering superb snow conditions. The spectacular field features two learner lifts, four freestyle mountain parks and special ski passes geared towards different skills and abilities.
6. Craigieburn Velly
Although it’s a club ski field, Craigieburn Valley has the highest proportion of ‘black’ runs in the country. There’s hardly any beginner terrain here and no grooming. Some skiers might even have a hard time here.
It’s all open bowls, narrow chutes, and long runs of untouched snow. With just two beginner runs, no rental facilities, a basic lodge, limited accommodations, and only three rope tows, it’s easy to understand that Craigieburn doesn’t draw huge crowds. And of course, there’s all the backcountry you can access with a little bit of hiking.
7. Mount Olympus
When you see the peaks and the terrain at Mount Olympus, you’ll know why they call it the “playground of the gods”. Not only will you find a relaxed and enjoyable experience here – but if you’re willing to hike from the lift, you’ll get access to the incredible backcountry! And although the access road isn’t the easiest to navigate and not everyone enjoys rope tows – especially beginners and snowboarders – this is what keeps the crowds down.
8. Broken River
It offers a broader selection of terrain than some of the other club ski fields. That, plus the fact that kids under 11 skis free, makes it a great choice for families – as long as everyone can get themselves comfortable with the rope tow lifts.
Since the club doesn’t draw that many visitors, powder stashes last for days in the sheltered bowls. The day lodge will have basic food service and inexpensive lessons, but that’s about it as far as amenities. It’s a space for the adventurous souls who are all about the amazing terrain, quality snow, and friendly, laid-back vibe.
It was the location for Mordor in The Lord of the Rings saga. With almost 70 runs, Whakapapa is excellent for everyone from novices to experts. It has New Zealand’s largest dedicated beginner place, safely away from more advanced runs and faster skiers which makes the resort great for families.
You will find accommodations more convenient than its neighbor Turoa, with a handful of lodges at the base and a broader selection at National Park. Its accessibility means it is likely to get crowded.
This ski site is located in the north-eastern slopes of Mt Ruapehu, in Tongariro National Park. A boundary area of 550 hectares (1,400 acres) and a vertical descent of 675 metres (2,214 feet) invites skiers of all kinds to get into the snowy spirit. Happy Valley is their beginner terrain, which is secluded from the more advanced areas. There are 30 groomed jumps and trails for intermediate riders and 24 jam-packed black and diamond runs for the seasoned pros.
It is one of only two ski resorts on New Zealand’s North Island. This offers you an odd to ski on the country’s largest active volcano, Mt Ruapehu! Turoa’s elevation and location allow for plentiful snow and more challenging terrain than neighboring Whakapapa.
The terrain provides something for everyone so you might see a flock of crowds incoming on weekends from Wellington and Auckland. You can dine all throughout the mountain, serving up incredible Middle Earth views along with the food! Luckily, the town of Ohakune has many more options just 30 minutes from the lifts.