or Connect
EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › On the Snow (Skiing Forums) › General Skiing Discussion › Best place to ski in New Zealand? Not Again..
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Best place to ski in New Zealand? Not Again..

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 

I know this question has probs been asked several times before.  But done quite a bit of research, and I think treble cones is leading so far.  Can anyone, possibly with experience, or know people that have been there suggest a ski resort. 

post #2 of 19

I'm sure that some searching here and at TGR and a few others, including the main Kiwi ski site (I roget the URL), will reveal a significant amount of info. Between this very question and a wide assortment of TRs, there should be enough to get you started. That way you can ask more specific questions & get more value out of people's time and effort.

post #3 of 19

Most ski areas here are quite small by north american standards. The Ruapehu and Turoa areas are bigger than most if not all south island areas but the weather can be pretty foul.

 

Treble Cone is the most enjoyable area for good skiers. Good range of blue/black and some great scenery. Cardrona is a very mellow experience - lots of blue runs some of them nice and long. The blacks tend to be shortish chutes and similar Unless you are completely hard out it's worth visiting I think

Coronet Peak near Queenstown is large too, with interesting runs, and good terrain variety. It is usually best early season

 

Treble cones local town is Wanaka. Not as large and international in feel as Queenstown but a friendly relaxed atmosphere and enough of most things you might want

 

If you are in the Christchurch area look up info on the following club fields:

Cheeseman, Broken River, Craigeburn, Mt Olympus (crazy road up there - great fun), Temple Basin, and Porters which is actually a commercial field, but with T Bars only at this stage. 

Apart from Cheeseman which has just the two T Bars,the clubs all have nutcracker Rope tows, but these are easy enough if you are an intermediate or higher. Having said that it's more enjoyable if you are fit and reasonably strong.

 

Enthusiam is the other key ingredient for a visit to a club field. You will find friendly people and families at club fields and the lack of crowds more than (IMO) makes up for the spartan facilities

 

If you have any particular detailed question just PM me

 

Enjoy the trip if you do come over

 

Best Regards

 

Baldrick

post #4 of 19

Try PMing Kiwiski Andrew. He is our ambassador for New Zealand resorts. He may be able to weigh in on this thread. Good response already from BaldRick though!

post #5 of 19

Pretty much second what Baldrick has to say especially about Treble Cone being the best place to ski. However would certainly add a place called Ohau to the list.  A busy day is 50 people on the hill great place to hike up on the ridge and drop down.  

 

As for Ruapehu (two ski areas called Whakapapa and Turoa) despite them being my local hill certainly not worth a special visit.  Yes it may technically have the largest area but most of that is either Sheet ice before 13.00hrs and slush at about 13.50hrs.  Of course people will say its brilliant on its day but isn't everywhere!

 

Skiing in NZ is certainly not like a typical North American resort -the infrastructure isn't there, and nor does it have the snowfall.  However they have bags of personality with a real laid back atmosphere.

 

Again please feel free to PM me if you have any specific questions

post #6 of 19

Yes just to add a bit more to what the others have said here. If you are flying in internationally from most places then chances are you will stop in Auckland and then have to get a connecting flight so you might as well target the South Island as the North Island fields on Ruapehu are a decent country road type car journey and chances are the weather could be disappointing unless you are really lucky. Still that has the longest season here so depending on when you intend to be here that might work for you. The season is good late July to Mid October there.

But the best bet for a NZ ski holiday is the South Island and the Queenstown/Wanaka options (Remarkables, Coronet Peak) as it's set up for winter sports and there is lots to do as well as ski. Queenstown is the airport you would fly to. The season there is usually good mid July to early September if it's a normal one. Wanaka is an hours drive from Queenstown if you want to base yourself there, or you can just drive daily to the Cardrona/ Treble Cone fields from Queenstown. Cardrona is 50 minutes and TC car park would be another 30 minutes once you get up the road.  The trip up the access roads might open your eyes a bit as these two are definately not interstatessmile.gif.

Apart from that as Baldrick said the Canterbury fields out of Christchurch (South Island again, fly to Chrsitchurch) are okay but take a bit more work to get around/to etc. Just a bit more organisation and driving required and they can have a few more surface lifts depending on which ones.

The only other thing I'd say is forget your mid fats, carvers work pretty good here unless you are really lucky and get a storm that dumps and leaves. You could get 30-50cm in day but the day after it feels like about 10cm. We often can't ski here if it's snowing a lot until it stops because access, visibility and wind are bad so 'Right place at Right time' applies.

Short is:

Ruapehu - big fields, lots of options, lifts, access roads good, snow quality = variable, weather = 40% chance of okay

Treble Cone - Steeper, good snow, back bowl is not 100% groomed so more like back country after snow, nice views.

Cardrona - Great cruiser field, lots of park stuff,  longer runs, little bit of hard stuff but short pitches, snow okay

Coronet Peak - medium length, busy cause best road and close to QT but all express chairs, can get skiied out, WC training takes some of the terrian, snow can be variable if not new.

Remarkables - traversing but good steeps if you know where to go, access road is interesting, snow okay, view from walk to the top are world class amazing.

Canturbury fields - lots to choose from, snow usually okay, less crwods, weather affected more than Otago fields above, access roads can be tricky, lifts surface i.e tows sometimes.

Good luck.


Edited by snala - 5/28/12 at 10:20pm
post #7 of 19

I am amazed no one mentioned Mt Hutt.  If Treble Cone is number 1, Hutt is certainly number 2...and if you factor in the proximity to club fields, the "real kiwi town" feel of Methven, the ability to get to Christchurch for some occasional fun...it, for me, adds up to No. #1.  Hutt has lots of long steeps, back country, etc and Methven is a great town, and with most club fields a day trip......it shouldnt be overlooked.

post #8 of 19

+2 for Ohau (not really a resort though . . . )

 

http://snow.co.nz/

 
post #9 of 19

What is your skiing ability like? Where do you ski now and what parts of the mountain / snow conditions do you prefer? Ski fields in NZ vary considerably in terms of snow (many club fields do not groom for example, so of you don't like off-piste then I wouldn't recommend them)

 

Some common elements to most (if not all NZ fields) - skiing is all above the treeline, so you can pretty much pick your line, but you will get white-out conditions without things like trees for refuge or reference, so if you aren't familiar with a mountain and it is white-out often it is not worth skiing. On the other hand, weather changes very quickly here, so it can be whiteout and then an hour later completely clear, also often cloud cover can be so low that the ski fields are above the cloud.

 

There are days when mountains are closed because of weather, often wind and this is not uncommon

 

Generally there is no on-mountain accommodation (unless you are staying in a club lodge (think backpacker rather than Deer Valley, although they usually ahve a great atmosphere); 

 

Following on from above, you have to drive to the ski field - as Snala said ski access roads (and the public roads to get to them) are not interstates, think A and B routes not M's if you are in the UK. Most access roads are not sealed, they are gravel / metal /dirt roads (not sure of the correct terminology outside of NZ), generally and one lane (or less) each way.

 

Expect to fit snow chains (unless you are at a large commercial field (CNI, Mt Hutt, Queenstown Lakes) where you may find a chain fitting service, and if you are getting a rental car make sure it comes with snow chains - If you are choosing a rental car, many of the large firms offer lift pass deals if there are more than one of you (buy one get one free) - but often different companies have deals with different fields, so check first that the deal is somewhere that you want to ski.

 

The views from nearly all ski fields in NZ are spectacular and breathtaking

 

Private lessons and clinics in NZ are cheaper than North American resorts.

 

At peak times many commercial fields will have some terrain closed for overseas ski team training, does mean that you meet some interesting people on the chair-lift.

 

Basically, as others have described there are four "areas" where there are ski fields (there are a couple of others dotted around) -  Central North Island (CNI) (Ruapehu and Whakapapa) - Despite living in the NI since university days, like Cham I do not ski CNI (have family in CHCH) so can't comment on these areas

 

Canterbury fields - others have described these so I'll just add a few extra bits - as skidude72 alludes to, Mt Hutt (the largest commercial field in Canterbury) can be spectacular when it has good snow conditions and there are some great top to bottom runs if the whole mountain is open and skiable - drive is 90 minutes from Christchurch or 20 from Methven. Mt hutt has modern high speed chair lifts. Mt Hutt is South West of Christchurch and faces south so gets good southerly snow. There is one commercial and a number of club fields North West of Christchurch which get predominantly northwesterly snow - so depending on what the dominant weather system is in a season the NW fields might have better snow than Hutt. If you are intrepid and don't mind rope tows then the club fields have some amazing skiing. If you are into night-life then Methven is quiet and the NW fields are 60 mintues to a 2.5 hours from Christchurch and there isn't much between them and Christchurch. There is also Mt Lyford which is North of Christchurch (not sure if it is a day trip, but they do have accommodation close to the mountain)

 

South Canterbury: Ohau, Roundhill and Dobson - all small commercial fields, but some great skiing in a spectacular location.

 

Southern Lakes (Wanaka and Queenstown) described above by others. Queenstown is the most resort like ski town in NZ. Watch your dates here, lots of Australians come over and the Australian and NZ school holidays in early July and late September coincide, and it is bedlam on the mountains.

 

Got to head off and do some other things so will leave it there for now.

post #10 of 19

If you like something different, definately try the Canterbury club fields (Broken River, Porter Heights etc).... skiing as it used to be before the bling and Christchurch is a great townm though a little munted at the moment.  For commercial fields, Wanaka is probably the best base.

 

If you pockets are deep, there are quite a few heli-ski operations that are fantastic.  I did a day out of Mt  Cook a few years ago and it was one of the best skiing/mountian experiences.

post #11 of 19
Thread Starter 

Hey guys, sorry for the late reply, haven't had time to get on the internet as of late! 

 

-I won't be able to drive a car out there (haven't taken my driving test).  

-I'm going for roughly 3-4 weeks, and this will start from around October 20th...unfortunately, won't be able to head out there before.  (I'm DEFINITELY GOING!)

-I've been skiing on snow twice before, both times in Val Thorens, however, have picked up skiing pretty quickly and really passionate about it.  Both times lasted for about a 6 days each, and I've taken roughly 20 hours of lessons in total.  

-(I'm from UK)

 

Due to experience, this is why I'm thinking one of the ski resorts such as Cardrona, Treble Cone, Coronet Peak (Haven't really researched into The Remarkables and Mt Hutt) rather than commercial fields/club fields would be better.  Also, really want to take lessons whilst I'm out there! If one ski resort offers better services? 

 

Ultimately, I have a great passion for skiing and want to practice as much as I can.  Can't go off piste yet, due to lack of experience, or do any of that heli skiing. With my experience, I'm looking for a resort with good intermediate runs, and some easy black (difficult) runs.

post #12 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by F1 Boss View Post

Hey guys, sorry for the late reply, haven't had time to get on the internet as of late! 

 

-I won't be able to drive a car out there (haven't taken my driving test).  

-I'm going for roughly 3-4 weeks, and this will start from around October 20th...unfortunately, won't be able to head out there before.  (I'm DEFINITELY GOING!)

-I've been skiing on snow twice before, both times in Val Thorens, however, have picked up skiing pretty quickly and really passionate about it.  Both times lasted for about a 6 days each, and I've taken roughly 20 hours of lessons in total.  

-(I'm from UK)

 

Due to experience, this is why I'm thinking one of the ski resorts such as Cardrona, Treble Cone, Coronet Peak (Haven't really researched into The Remarkables and Mt Hutt) rather than commercial fields/club fields would be better.  Also, really want to take lessons whilst I'm out there! If one ski resort offers better services? 

 

Ultimately, I have a great passion for skiing and want to practice as much as I can.  Can't go off piste yet, due to lack of experience, or do any of that heli skiing. With my experience, I'm looking for a resort with good intermediate runs, and some easy black (difficult) runs.

 

Dude.  Serioulsy.  You need to do more home work. You will be lucky if anything is still open that late.  Season is done by Oct 20.

 

 

 

As for not driving.  You will need to take the bus, NZ is not like Whistler with accomdation at the hill.  In all cases its 40-45min drive up the hill to get the snow line.  Anyway, since your dates dont align with the southern hemisphere ski season, it wont matter anyway.  Still go thou, NZ is awesome anytime of year.

post #13 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skidude72 View Post

 

Still go thou, NZ is awesome anytime of year.

 

 

This.

post #14 of 19

The South Island fields will likely be closed by then, but Ruapehu and Turoa can keep going until early November, so you might get a couple of weeks. Most of the info you need can be found on the Ruapehu website

 

http://www.mtruapehu.com

post #15 of 19

I didn't ski there because it was the wrong time of year, but I can say that Wanaka is a great town to spend some time in.

post #16 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skidude72 View Post

 

Dude.  Serioulsy.  You need to do more home work. You will be lucky if anything is still open that late.  Season is done by Oct 20.

 

 

 

As for not driving.  You will need to take the bus, NZ is not like Whistler with accomdation at the hill.  In all cases its 40-45min drive up the hill to get the snow line.  Anyway, since your dates dont align with the southern hemisphere ski season, it wont matter anyway.  Still go thou, NZ is awesome anytime of year.

 

I'm really sorry! I was meant to type 20th August!! NOT OCt 20th

post #17 of 19

Mid season, not so much powder around then but alkso likely to miss the worst of the weather.  Mt Hutt isn't nicknamed Mt Shutt for nothing.................

post #18 of 19

20th August sounds much better, and you will hit the sweet spot of the ski season that is outside of the school holidays. Cancel the last suggestion then. My vote would be for Wanaka. You have options at both Cardrona and Treble Cone. Cardrona has more beginner and intermediate terrain, but if you are really committed to progressing fast, then TC is probably the place to go. One option would be to take some lessons at either Cardrona or TC and then do the SOFA camp at TC which gives you five days intense instruction for less than the price of a days private in the US (taking into account exchange rate) (there appears to be one starting the 2nd September, and one on the 26th August). 

 

Given the number of days you are planning to ski, the most cost effective way of skiing is a seasons pass, but unfortunately you can't get a combined Wanaka pass, so you would have to pick one.

 

There are bus/shuttle services that go each day and you can buy 10 or 30 day passes on these as well. They pick up from the common hostels/hotels in town. The town is so small that you can walk everywhere or if you are into mountain biking, there is good biking around Wanaka too.

 

There are shuttle/bus companies that run daily services to Wanaka from Christchurch, Queenstown and the West Coast.

 

Your biggest issue is likely to be accommodation, there is quite a variety of accommodation but it can get tight in winter. 

 

Good luck with the planning

post #19 of 19

With 12 days experience on snow and not driving, my strong recommendation would be to base yourself in Queenstown and use one of the many shuttle bus services to get up and down the mountains each day. I am saying Queenstown rather than Wanaka because the ski areas are a better match for your ability, the nightlife is better and there are more transport options.

 

From Queenstown you can get to Remarkables, Coronet and Cardrona fairly easily and you will enjoy all of these. From Wanaka Treble Cone will provide limited areas for you to ski so it pretty much limits you to skiing Cardrona.

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: General Skiing Discussion
EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › On the Snow (Skiing Forums) › General Skiing Discussion › Best place to ski in New Zealand? Not Again..