New Zealand is arguably the best place to ski or snowboard in the Southern Hemisphere! Whether you're a local or visiting from overseas, you'll experience postcard-perfect landscapes and scenery, fresh powder, uncrowded slopes, and epic kiwi hospitality at all of our ski fields. Here are our top spots to shred this winter!
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Top pick for Mt Ruapehu:
Mt Ruapehu is where the North Islanders hit the slopes if they’re not wanting to hop on a plane. Based in the centre of the North Island, Mt Ruapehu is just over four hours drive from Auckland or Wellington. With two sides and its versatile terrain, Mt Ruapehu has lots to offer skiers and snowboarders. The two main ski fields are Turoa and Whakapapa but, our favourite is the lesser known Tukino. Located on the eastern slopes of Mt Ruapehu in New Zealand’s North Island, Tukino is a club ski field with a friendly atmosphere. By coming here, you’ll avoid the crowds found at the nearby commercial based ski fields and get to explore the stunning slopes in peace. The spot is sheltered from the prevailing westerly winds meaning this ski field is often clear and operational when the rest of the mountain is closed.
Tukino 2018 open day: Saturday 7 July 2018
Top pick for Queenstown:
If a trip to the snow is just as much about the off the slopes activities as it is the skiing/snowboarding action, Queenstown is the perfect match for you. The small lakeside town comes alive in winter with lots of people and events. There are two world-class ski fields just a short distance from the town centre. We prefer Coronet Peak, the closer of the two, located only 25 minutes by car from downtown. This field offers spectacular terrain for snow lovers of any ability. While this spot is super popular and busy, the lift infrastructure is very efficient so you won’t be wasting any valuable play time waiting in line.
If you’re confident and keen to the crowds, we’d recommend night skiing which is on offer on 4pm - 9pm Friday and Saturday.
Coronet Peak 2018 Open day: Saturday 16 June
Top pick for Canterbury
Canterbury has with more ski areas than anywhere else in the Southern Hemisphere - there are 13 ski areas within two to four hours' drive of Christchurch. Craigieburn Valley Ski Area is located in the heart of New Zealand’s Southern Alps. This ski field is not suitable for beginner or intermediate riders but, if you’re advanced or expert level and not fazed by steep narrow chutes and wide-open powder bowls, the un-crowded runs on offer at Craigieburn are perfect for you. This is another club field run by enthusiastic members and seasonal staff so, expect classic kiwi hospitality and fully off-piste slopes.
Craigieburn 2018 open day: 14/7/2018
Top pick for Wanaka
This small town, nestled along the shores of Lake Wanaka, can be thought of as Queenstown’s smaller and more relaxed sibling. There are two main ski fields in the area, we love them both for different reasons. Cardrona, located 34km southwest of town, is perfect for families and those fresh to snow sports, with 25% of its 345-hectare area being beginner grade and 50% being intermediate grade. There are a few more challenging chutes and trails for more advanced riders, plus the Southern Hemisphere’s most extensive terrain park for the tricksters! Treble Cone, on the other hand, is located 26km northwest of town and is often considered the best ski field in New Zealand. It's the largest ski area on the South Island of New Zealand at 550 hectares, and is home to the longest run of all the Queenstown and Wanaka NZ ski fields - it's 4km, with a vertical drop of 700m.
Treble Cone 2018 open day: Thursday 28 June
Cardrona 2018 open day: Saturday 16 June
Top pick for Tekapo:
Tekapo is a small township halfway between Queenstown and Christchurch. The remote location in combination with the limited accommodation in the area means that the nearby fields, Roundhill, Mt Dobson, and Fox Peak, are reasonably quiet.
Our favourite of the three is Roundhill, located 32km from the township. From the uncrowded slopes, you’ll have incredible views across Lake Tekapo and the surrounding mountains. The field has long been considered a great spot for families and people learning to ski or snowboard but, the introduction of a nutcracker rope tow has extended and diversified the ski area. If you’re a confident skier/snowboarder and feeling adventurous, head up the world’s longest and steepest rope tow to check out Australasia’s biggest vertical drop (783m) and experience the long natural half pipes.
Roundhill 2018 open day: Saturday 30 June
If you're keen to explore beyond our recommendations, check out the below map of all ski fields in New Zealand.
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