Category: skiing

South Island Skiing

The South Island is home to close to twenty ski resorts on the alpine chain which crosses the island from North to South. The most beautiful are in the region of Central Otago around Queenstown, Arrowtown and Wanaka. These cities are part of the Great Lakes region and the framework is splendid. In the South Island, skiing is practiced in several small stations best chosen depending on its program and weather.

Ski resorts are all outside cities. To stay, you can choose between Queenstown, Arrowtown and Wanaka.

Cardrona

The Cardrona station, 1894m above sea level, is perched in the most impressive mountains in the South Island. The road from Wanaka to the bottom of the slopes takes about 35 minutes, from downtown Queenstown it’s longer (about 1 hour) but it is a spectacular drive.

Ttongarirahis pretty resort with an area of 320 hectares spread over three valleys and an altitude difference of 390 meters offers a very high quality with tracks intended for skiers and snowboarders beginners and average. It has 7 lifts, snowpipe, ski school, equipment rental shops, cafes as well as a medical center. The resort offers various activities and play areas for children.

Note the path is unpaved for 12 km and can be difficult for campers and in the event of snowfall.

Treble Cone

Treble Cone is a resort particularly suitable for skiers and snowboarders of medium-level and experienced. The views from the heights of the stations 1910 m on Lake Wanaka and Mount Aspiring, as well as the quality of the snow make this resort one of the best in the country.

With an area of 550 acres, it is also the largest ski resort in the South Island. Coveted by snowboarders, it has excellent equipment of half pipes and snowpark. It hosts also several competitions for snowboards. It has a fast chairlift for 6 people, which avoids the long queues in high season.

Activities abound for families with a child ski school, a children’s club for indoor and outdoor activities as well as reserved parking.

Shuttle bus daily from Wanaka and Queenstown during the season.

Waiorau ski area and Snow Park

On the other side of the Valley facing Cadrona Waiorau is one of the few stations to have a cross-country course. It lies between 1200 and 1500 meters above sea level. In the same region is also the Snow Park, a well-equipped technical field where snowboarders and freestylers can have fun.

The Remarkables

The Remarkables station is distributed over three valleys. It has slopes suitable for all levels. But we quickly made the round of trails (only 220 hectares). It offers, in contrast, 500 acres of off-piste. It culminates at almost 2000 meters with a climb of 357 meters and has 7 lifts. On-site you will find a ski rental shop, ski school, half pipe, snowpark, tubing park, cafes, and restaurants. On the other hand, there is no accommodation.

The station is located 24 km from Queenstown. The access road is very steep.

Christchurch mountainsCoronet Peak

Coronet Peak at low altitude (1220 to 1640 meters) is the nearest to Queenstown station (18 km). The 280-hectare site, highly developed and well equipped, is served by 6 lifts with a climb of 481 m. Track-level will be intermediate and beginner skiers. There are some steep off-trail. This small station has a picnic area, snack shops, daycare, equipment rental, ski school as well as a half pipe, snowpark, tubing park for snowboarders.

Possibility of accommodation on location.

Mt Hutt

Mount Hutt, a hundred kilometers from Christchurch (less than two hours by car) is the largest resort in the region of Canterbury and the best equipped. Located at the foot of the Southern Alps at an altitude of 2086 meters with a vertical drop of 683 m, it offers good conditions of snow and the tracks all levels.

The ski area of 365 hectares is served by 9 lifts. The lower part is reserved for beginners, and the southern slopes to the advanced. At the Summit, there are the Banks Peninsula and off the distance the ocean.

If conditions permit, it is possible to practice cross-country skiing on the north side (North Peak). A helicopter will drop you off at the beginning of the course. Shelter, to get to Methven, the nearest town (26km) where you can enjoy the warm atmosphere of the bars after a long day of skiing. The station access road is not paved for 13 km. On location parking, rental equipment, daycare, restaurant and ski school.

Porter Heights

The Porter Heights is home to a medium-sized station that enjoys good weather conditions. It is located at 1980 meters. The view from the Summit offers a magnificent panorama of the Southern Alps. This station has the longest descent in the southern hemisphere called Big Mama (720 metres), and tracks the steeper of the country (Bluff faces). The site has 5 ski lifts and slopes for all levels.

Heli-skiing

Heliskiing is very widespread in New Zealand. A helicopter drops you off at the top of a vast expanse of Virgin snow as you descend in ski or surf. MtPotts stations (Canterbury region), and the site of the Harris Mountains (region of Otago – Wanaka) offer various Heliskiing options. Expect about $ 650 per day.

We recommend using this site www.snowplanet.co.nz for indepth information about ski and snow conditions.

Categories: skiing

North Island Skiing

There are only four ski resorts on the North Island. In the heart of the island in the national park of Tongariro, Whakapapa (where we are located) and Turoa are the most popular. These two ski resorts are located on each of the slopes of Mount Ruapehu, a volcano still active, and came together recently to form a single station. They attract many skiers and snowboarders.

Whakapapa

NZ MountainsWith an area of 550 acres, 43 tracks (trails and off-trail), 16 lifts and its inflow of 15 000 skiers per hour, Whakapapa, 2300 m on the northeast side of Mount Ruapehu, is the largest ski resort of New Zealand.

It has trails for all levels. You will find restaurants, cafeteria and ski equipment rental. It is possible to stay on-site in many lodges and hotels.

The station has just undergone a full makeover with a new parking space, a new customer service center, and an equipment repair shop. It is also equipped with a snow-park and a half pipe for snowboarders.

Turoa

Turoa located on the southwest side of the volcano Mt Ruapehu offers also 500 hectares of ski slopes but has only 11 lifts. It culminates 2322 metres for an altitude difference of 720 metres. The setting is paradise with surprising views over the unspoiled Valley. In fine weather, it is possible to see in the distance Mt Taranaki on the West coast of the North Island.

The station offers a snow park and a half pipe. It also organizes numerous events for snowboarders.

On the other hand, this station offers no accommodation on-site. The majority of holidaymakers are housed in Ohakune (at 10 km) where the view of the snowy mountains is magnificent. After a day of skiing, you can relax or continue the evening in bars in the village.

Beware, these stations are sometimes overloaded in high season.

Maunganui Ski field

It is the only station of Mount Taranaki on the West coast of the North Island. It culminates in 1680m and has 4 ski lifts. The lower part of the station is reserved for beginners or average skiers while the upper part is intended for experienced skiers and snowboarders. The resort offers stunning views of the Tasman Sea.

Categories: skiing

Skiing Tips For NZ

With the approach of winter and the first snow, the ski resorts are preparing for the new season, which starts in June. Winter sports enthusiasts will soon give heart to joy on the slopes. Also enjoy a winter break (or summer!) to fill the lungs with oxygen and to discover the heart of the most beautiful landscapes of New Zealand.

Certainly New Zealand resorts do not compete in size with European ones. They are less extensive and exceed barely 2000 meters of altitude. Their level of difficulty is slightly lower also. That said, they offer an exceptional natural setting that will seduce all lovers of skiing and snowboarding looking for exoticism and authenticity. New Zealand is recognized as a destination of choice for the quality of its powder (and its opportunities for off-piste skiing).

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Thus, from the heights of Mount Ruapehu (2322 m) in the center of the North Island, landscapes offer a magnificent panorama to the contrasting colors between the peaks of the surrounding mountains covered with a white coat, black volcanic rock, emerald blue lakes, desert colors gold Tongariro and off the forest and the hills of a pure green. On the southwest coast of the North Island, at the top of the slopes of Mount Taranaki (2517 m), the ocean stretches out of sight… a unique decor, which combines sea and mountain!

There are approximately 26 ski resorts in New Zealand including about 20 on the South Island.

These resorts are divided into two categories: the “commercial” ones operated by large groups or families and associative ones (club ski areas).

The first offer better infrastructure and better customer service. They feature modern facilities (snow, snow groomers to winch lift and snow cannons, half pipe, etc…) and have larger ski areas. They generally attract an international clientele.

The second, more numerous, are managed by non-profit associations. They are smaller, their infrastructure is a bit antiquated and tracks are sometimes less well maintained, but they offer a more friendly and family setting. They are suitable especially for those who wish to escape the tumults of the resorts and prefer the authenticity. They also apply more affordable rates, generally in relation to the level of local life. Note that access can be difficult, roads are not always very suitable according to the sites.

New Zealand resorts differ from European ones in their organizations. Rare are those who have accommodation on site. It’s down into the Valley for accommodation, and takes a bus or other vehicle to get there. Companies have in general the entire station, i.e. the lifts, restaurant, cafeteria, ski school, rental shops and photographers. It is possible in some stations to rent on-site: your ski or snowboard equipment and even your winter sports clothes (anorak, jacket, trousers, gloves, hat, glasses…).

Average associative stations have 3 lifts and commercial stations have between five and ten lifts. The prices vary around 90/98 NZ$ per adult and 50/55 NZ$ per child for the day, according to the areas.

Stations slopes are suitable for all levels and will satisfy beginners and experts. Some stations prefer skiing for families with accessibility to all altitude. The trails are not marked with numbers and there is no red. Green tracks are intended for beginners, the blue slopes to average skiers and black for advanced skiers. Warning tracks are not marked but the risks of straying are low.

A weather report is at your disposal every morning in the tourist offices. It is recommended to consult before leaving for stations and open slopes, the quality of the snow and the temperature.

The ski season extends from mid-June to early October on the island until mid-November in the North Island and the South, the best months for snow being July and August.

 

Categories: skiing