Keep your cool, we’re about to explore the famous ski fields of New Zealand’s South Island. It’s no secret that New Zealand offers up some of the world’s best powder for snow sport lovers, of every level.
If the idea of carving some grooves in the crisp Kiwi air makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up, stick with us. We’re about to give you a rundown of New Zealand’s seven premier winter sports destinations.
If getting slope-side is a priority, try and plan to visit between June and October, when the pistes are at their best, with a handful in the central North Island dragging over into mid November.
One final tip: try and pencil down the school holidays. Young New Zealanders descend on the slopes like a garrulous avalanche, snagging lifts and carving up the peaks like a plague of cheeky locusts.
Where are New Zealand’s best ski areas?
Hanging below this sentence are seven fantastic ski fields, all featuring the facilities you’d expect of a world class resort. Lift passes, rental equipment, private or group lessons, and accommodation are all available on site, which is worth considering when you get some facetime with one of our Travel Experts in store.
It’s little surprise that Coronet Peak lays claim to being the South Island’s most popular ski field. Its cosmopolitan ambience plays stage to outstanding view of the Southern Alps, while diverse terrain and extensive snowmaking system welcomes enthusiasts of every level. Just 20 minutes drive from Queenstown, the rolling slopes boast the country’s longest opening hours, including some exciting night skiing opportunities.
45 minutes out of Queenstown, The Remarkables rise 1943m into crisp winter air, offering fantastic powder options for every level, including some of New Zealand’s most forgiving terrain for beginners, and infamous black diamond runs. You’ll find more families at The Remarkables than most other ski fields, not least because kids ten and under ski for free, and the irresistable snow-tubing park.
Part of a Mount Ruapehu twosome, Whakapapa (fa-ka-pa-pa) spawns the largest ski area in New Zealand, with no less than 65 trails across 1050 hectares of the beautiful white stuff. Aside from this, Whakapapa also throws up some of the world’s best off-piste options for intermediate and advanced level skiers and boarders. Be warned, there are no cash machines on the mountain, although most retailers will accept major credit cards at the tills.
At over two thousand metres, Mt Hutt’s ski fields are the largest and highest in the entire South Island. Nestled on the eastern rim of the Southern Alps, and hours drive from Christchurch International Airport, Mt Hutt provides the deepest, lightest, and driest powder in Australasia, and backs it up with world class training facilities and eateries. Be warned, you could end up staying a while!
Nearby to Whakapapa, and sharing the same mother (Mount Ruapehu), the famed ski fields of Turoa boast the country’s longest vertical drop, at 722m, as well as its highest lift. As with Whakapapa, beginners are well catered for, with a seperate area providing a safe environment. But don’t let this fool you, for the more advanced Turoa is a hotpot of challenges, from open runs to gullies and cliffs.
The legendary slopes of Cardrona have to be seen, to be believed. Just 20 miles outside of Wanaka, or 35 miles from Queenstown, these ski fields boast some great jumps, and are well-known for attracting enthusiasts looking to master some tricks. Add that to the fact that Cardrona is higher, and colder, than any other ski field in the nation, and you’ve got yourself a world class snowsports destination.
With incredible views across beautiful Lake Wanaka, the slopes of Treble Cone are less busy than others in New Zealand, but don’t let this fool you. As the largest ski area in the South Island, featuring the longest vertical rise in the Southern Lakes, this is one serious snow meadow. The region traditionally attracts more advanced skiers and boarders to the lure of some amazing off-piste opps, played out in front of specatucalr views.