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).
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.