New Zealand is the perfect place to learn to ski or snowboard, as the ski fields are extremely friendly. If you are new in this field and a learner then the areas in the commercial ski fields have either a cheaper lift pass or are free for you.
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Once you think you have mastered turning without being a danger to everyone around you, ski fields such as The Remarkables and Whakapapa have wide runs with a steady gradient to build on the vertical meters, while improving on your newfound skills. Here is all about Ski Season Queenstown.
For advanced skiers and boarders, there are plenty of technical trails to be found with enough snow in all ski fields. You can try Treble Cone or Porters, especially technical runs to get your thighs burning.
Almost all fields offer some sort of terrain park, whether it is The Stash at The Remarkables, which makes features from natural materials, Park After Dark at Coronet Peak, or the staff at a club field pushing some picnic tables together.
This year the Ski season in Queenstown and Wanaka runs from early to mid-June through to early October both places depending on snowfall. The mountains are high and powdery enough in winter to offer excellent ski terrain.
With some of the best ski fields and authentic ski experiences in the Southern Hemisphere. The ski fields tend to be open from early June to the end of September.
Commercial Ski Fields – Ski Season Queenstown
The commercial ski fields have a café, bar, retail, equipment hire, first aid, and ski school. They have groomed runs, and chairlifts and some have snow cannons.
- Whakapapa (North Island)
- Turoa (North Island)
- Mt Hutt
- Coronet Peak
- The Remarkables
- Treble Cone
- Mt Dobson
- Mt Lyford
- Ohau Snow Fields
1. Club Ski Fields
Usually independently or family-owned, club fields are smaller ranging from 60ha to 500ha. Expect basic facilities but less crowded trails.
- Fox Peak
- Hanmer Springs
- Temple Basin
- Broken River
- Mt Cheesman
- Mt Olympus
- Tukino (North Island)
- Manganui (North Island)
There are four main ski fields accessible from Queenstown and Wanaka: The Remarkables, Cardrona, Coronet Peak and Treble Cone. The approximate opening dates for the ski fields for Queenstown and Wanaka in 2017 are as follows:
- Cardrona – 10th June – 08th October
- Coronet Peak – 10th June – 01st October
- The Remarkables – 17th June – 01st October
- Treble Cone – 07th July – 01st October
Each year the quaint picturesque towns of Queenstown and Wanaka welcome snow junkies from across the globe. With direct flights from Australia to Queenstown, as well as from Auckland and Christchurch, these locations are easy to get to.
Wanaka is located just a one-hour drive from Queenstown and transport to and from the two towns is easy enough to book. Base Backpackers are located right in the heart of both Queenstown and Wanaka.
Queenstown is New Zealand’s adventure capital with a bustling nightlife – offering Bungy Jumping, Jet Boating, Skydiving, and any adventure sport you can think of. The town is heaving with snow enthusiasts throughout the entire season. Coronet Peak and The Remarkables are the two closest ski fields to Queenstown.
Wanaka is a quieter version of Queenstown that tends to attract boarders and skiers looking to steer clear of the crowds.
Treble Cone and Cardrona (although accessible from Queenstown) are the two main fields close to Wanaka. Wanaka is situated on Lake Wanaka and proves to be a sight for sore eyes – think snow-capped mountains, log fires, cozy couches, and mulled wine!
2. Coronet Peak
Coronet Peak is the closest Ski Field to Queenstown, just a 20-minute drive away. Coronet Peak caters to all levels and is a great place for beginners. Return buses depart from the Snow Centre (just a 5-minute walk from Base Queenstown) all day long for $20 and will drop you right at the base of Coronet Peak.
Coronet Peak offers night skiing on Friday and Saturday nights from 4 – 9 PM as well as several events such as the American Express Queenstown Winter Festival and DNA Gay Ski Week. The Terrain: 25% Beginner/Novice, 45% Intermediate, 30% Advanced
3. The Remarkables
The Remarkables tend to be a favorite for the more experienced skiers and snowboarders whilst offering three terrain parks. The field is a 45-minute drive from Queenstown and buses depart from the Snow Centre (just down the road from Base) for a $20 return.
The Terrain: 30% Beginner/Novice, 40% Intermediate, 30% Advanced – also a Terrain Park suited for beginners through to intermediate
Cardrona is accessible from both Wanaka and Queenstown; 35 minutes from Wanaka and one hour from Queenstown. Cardrona tends to get more snow as the base of the ski field is higher than neighboring Remarkables and Coronet Peak.
The field is family-friendly but boasts several Intermediate and advanced tracks. Buses can be booked from both Wanaka and Queenstown. The Terrain: 25% Beginner, 55% Intermediate, 20% Advanced
5. Treble Cone
Treble Cone is a favorite among the more experienced snow junkies with 10% Beginner Tracks, 45% Intermediate Tracks, and 45% Advanced Tracks. Treble Cone has the highest vertical rise of the four fields and 550 hectares of the ski field.
Treble Cone is just a 35-minute drive from Wanaka and a 75-minute drive from Queenstown. Transport to the field can be arranged from both locations. The Terrain: 10% Beginner, 45% Intermediate, 45% Advanced
6. Packages and Accommodation
You will find Base Backpackers in both Queenstown and Wanaka. Both hostels have a dedicated Travel Desk that can provide you with information and help you with Transport, Lift Passes, Lessons, and Gear Hire.
In both locations Base Backpackers is right in the center of town, offering both Dorm and Private Accommodation as well as female-only Sanctuary Dorms.
The hostels have large Kitchens and common Areas, Laundry Facilities, a Bar serving Food and Entertainment 7 nights of a week, 24-hour reception, Daily Activities, and drying Rooms.
7. Events and Activities
Each Ski Season, Wanaka and Queenstown play host to several major events. The Base Backpackers Bars: Loco Cantina and Mint Bar will be hosting an array of live DJs and Acts throughout the season. To keep in touch with Events:
Other Events and Activities To Enjoy at Queenstown and Wanaka
2017 American Express Winter Festival
22nd June – 25th June in Queenstown. Live DJs, Hot Tub Outdoor Cinema Sessions, Pop-up Bars, and more! More information here.
2017 DNA Gay Ski Week
The color comes to Queenstown at the end of August every year! 2017’s dates are yet to be announced – stay tuned. Live Music, the annual ‘Snow Ball,’ Circus Acts, Cabaret & more! For more info click here
2017 NZ Mountain Film Festival
30th June – 9th July in Wanaka & 6th – 8th July in Queenstown. The festival will showcase International Adventure Films as well as play host to a photography and film competition. For program, information click here
Queenstown is the home of Bungy Jumping. Here you will find three Bungy sites: Kawarau Bridge, the Ledge, and the infamous 134m Nevis Bungy Jump!
In Queenstown, you will also have the opportunity to Hang glide, Paraglide, Jet Boat, Sky Dive, and raft, along with many other adventure options.
Lake Wanaka is also a fantastic place to skydive with amazing views of the ski fields. It is also one of the cheapest places in New Zealand to book an Aerobatic Flight Lesson (from $190), as well as Kayaking, Paddle Boarding, Indoor Rock Climbing, and more. Both Base hostels have a Travel Desk that will be able to assist you with any activities.
Interesting read: SKYCITY Queenstown Casino
the South Island of New Zealand offers a remarkable array of ski fields and winter activities for all levels of enthusiasts. Queenstown and Wanaka serve as excellent base camps with comfortable and convenient accommodations at Base Backpackers.
These hostels not only provide a cozy stay but also offer services like transport, lift passes, lessons, and gear hire assistance. Moreover, the winter season in this region is not just about skiing and snowboarding.
Both Queenstown and Wanaka host various events and activities throughout the season, ensuring a vibrant and entertaining experience. From music festivals to adventure sports like bungy jumping, skydiving, and jet boating, there’s something for everyone.
So whether you’re a beginner looking for gentle slopes or an advanced skier seeking challenging terrains, the South Island has it all, making it a perfect destination for winter sports and adventure.
When is the best time for a ski trip to the South Island?
The ski season in New Zealand typically runs from June to October. The best time for skiing depends on your preference. Early in the season offers fresh snow but fewer open slopes, while later in the season has more terrain available but possibly softer snow.
What are the top ski fields in the South Island?
Remarkables, Coronet Peak, Cardrona, and Treble Cone are some of the most popular ski fields in the South Island, each offering unique experiences for skiers and snowboarders.
How can I book accommodation in Queenstown and Wanaka?
You can book accommodations at Base Backpackers in Queenstown and Wanaka through their official website or by contacting their reservation services. They offer both dormitory and private rooms.
Are there transport options to and from the ski fields?
Yes, you can book buses or shuttles from Queenstown and Wanaka to the ski fields. Many ski resorts offer transportation services to make your trip more convenient.
Are there events and activities for non-skiers in Queenstown and Wanaka?
Absolutely! Both Queenstown and Wanaka host numerous events and activities during the winter season. You can enjoy music festivals, adventure sports, film festivals, and more.
What should I pack for a winter sports trip to New Zealand?
It’s essential to pack warm clothing, waterproof gear, and layers for the cold weather. Don’t forget your ski or snowboard equipment, and be sure to have a valid passport and visa if you’re traveling from abroad.