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Cheap international skiing in the Southern Hemisphere?

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

I need to get some snow. Preferably in the next month or so. I can stay for a couple months or more.

 

I'm from the US and I'm used to getting season passes that are only like $700 USD with access to multiple large resorts with tons of off-piste terrain and tree skiing. 

 

I was thinking about going to New Zealand (Treble Cone) but the price of 1,699 NZ is really, really high (the skiable area of Treble Cone is also quite small compared to ones in North America, despite being the biggest in NZ). I've never been, so I don't know how epic it is, but still - that's a high price for the size.

 

So where can I go now that has cheap season passes, cheap cost of living (I'll be living at a hostel probably), and has some good off-piste skiing?


Edited by fuzzybabybunny - 6/18/14 at 9:00pm
post #2 of 10

The short answer to your question is - I don't think that you will find what you define as cheap in New Zealand (or Australia for that matter), especially this late in the year. There have been a couple of threads on skiing in New Zealand so I'm not going to repeat those - do a search on the boards for that info.

 

 FWIW if you think that $1700 is expensive you are not going to like the price of things like food, accommodation, food, petrol etc, and you will probably have to buy a car if you are planning on staying months. This might give you some idea of the differences in price http://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/compare_cities.jsp?country1=United+States&country2=New+Zealand&city1=Salt+Lake+City%2C+UT&city2=Auckland

 

Although bear in mind that prices in Wanaka or Queenstown are higher than Auckland.

 

Second - yes NZ ski areas are smaller in area than many resorts in the US, but they are also totally different, there are no trees, so marked runs on trail maps are more indicative. 

 

Finally, you should check out the immigration requirements also, there may be requirements for return tickets and minimum funds to meet.

post #3 of 10

I've always wanted to do a season with the Chill pass.

 

http://www.chillout.co.nz/

 

 

I think it's a little easier to dirt bag South America.

post #4 of 10
Quote:

I've always wanted to do a season with the Chill pass.

 

http://www.chillout.co.nz/

Day tickets at the club areas are ~$70.  So a 10-day pass for $645 doesn't strike me as a great deal.  You're also going to need 22+ days to pay the unlimited pass of $1475.  Clearly the season pass wars of North America have not come to NZ yet.  The Chill Pass is nearly all club areas (meaning the infamous nutcracker tows) except for Porters, which is T-bars.  Treble Cone is not on any unlimited pass and is allowed for only 2 days of the 10 day pass.  

 

If this were analogous to the Epic Value Pass, so you got 10 Treble Cone days on a season pass for the other areas, then I think it might be worthwhile. 

 

I was shocked by SkiKiwi's price comparison of Auckland and SLC.  My last trip in 2012 I thought NZ prices were sort of similar to home (but home is Southern California) while Aussie prices were noticeably more.

Quote:
I think it's a little easier to dirt bag South America.

Absolutely.  Consult MadPatSki for the pluses and minuses of that.  He's done it for 2+ weeks in 5 seasons.


Edited by Tony Crocker - 6/19/14 at 11:25am
post #5 of 10

@fuzzybabybunny what happened to spring at A-basin?   A $169 spring pass for part of March, April, May and part of June is looking really cheap!  

 

Plus, you know where to find the all-you-can-eat himalayan buffet :) 

post #6 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by SHREDHEAD View Post
 

I've always wanted to do a season with the Chill pass.

 

http://www.chillout.co.nz/

 

 

I think it's a little easier to dirt bag South America.

I agree, if you wanted to really experience some of the unique ski experiences we have in NZ a Chill Pas season would be the most excellent way to do it - with the odd day at some of the non-chill areas. I'd love to do it one year. I didn't suggest it to FBB because looking at their past posts on Epic I am not sure that their skill level was a good match for what is essentially lift accessed (but rope tows) back country (there is avy control, but you don't get frills much grooming (which is a good thing IMO), manufactured terrain parks etc and at many areas you do not drive straight to the lifts but have to walk a little. 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony Crocker View Post
 

Day tickets at the club areas are ~$70.  So a 10-day pass for $645 doesn't strike me as a great deal.  You're also going to need 22+ days to pay the unlimited pass of $1475.  Clearly the season pass wars of North America have not come to NZ yet.  The Chill Pass is nearly all club areas (meaning the infamous nutcracker tows) except for Porters, which is T-bars.  Treble Cone is not on any unlimited pass and is allowed for only 2 days of the 10 day pass.  

 

If this were analogous to the Epic Value Pass, so you got 10 Treble Cone days on a season pass for the other areas, then I think it might be worthwhile. 

 

I was shocked by SkiKiwi's price comparison of Auckland and SLC.  My last trip in 2012 I thought NZ prices were sort of similar to home (but home is Southern California) while Aussie prices were noticeably more.

Absolutely.  Consult MadPatSki for the pluses and minuses of that.  He's done it for 2+ weeks in 5 seasons.

 

Porters, Cheeseman, Hamner Springs, Dobson, Lyford and Round Hill all have some lifts that are not nutcrackers, but to get to the best stuff usually does involve a nutcracker (they do have a few advantages, you don't get stuck on the lift if it stops, you are not limited to to defined loading and unloading points, the ones here generally run fast, so they are quick, they give you a bit more of a workout that sitting on a chair :)), but they are an acquired taste and I have to admit to not having introduced my 10 year old to them yet.

 

The price stuff you have to take with a grain of salt, but things like gas prices are pretty close, and if anything a bit of an under estimate. I put it in to illustrate to FBB that if cheap is the main criteria then NZ is perhaps not your best option. It is a piece of paradise though

post #7 of 10

You really needed to get in earlier for cheaper season's passes -- most of those sales ended at least a couple of months ago. For example, a pass that includes both Coronet Peak and Remarkables (both Queenstown) was $889, and it might have been around another $100 to add Mt Hutt to that list, if you didn't mind moving around the South Island (it's closer to Christchurch).

 

Another option would be to join a ski club and get discounted passes, plus around 20% off at other club areas for being an affiliated club member. That might, of course, be tricky when you don't live here and can't do work parties to earn your cheap passes, although some clubs do allow you to pay your way out of work parties.

 

However another option does exist for cheaper skiing, but it depends on bringing someone else and being prepared to travel. We use it from time to time since it's an excellent fundraiser for a worthy cause: the Disabled Snowsports Canterbury voucher booklet. For $110 (and $90 for every subsequent booklet you buy), it offers one 2-for-1 voucher at each of 15 ski areas in the South Island, although not, notably, at any of the nzski.com fields (CP, Remarks and Mt Hutt). The Treble Cone voucher gives you a 3-day pass for the price of a 2-day, and Cardrona 2 passes for 1.5. Many can't be used at the weekends, and there may be other restrictions such as school holidays, but if you do your homework (and bring a buddy), it can offer some savings, and get you sampling a lot of off-the-beaten-path ski fields, from club fields, to smaller commercial operations, to the bigger ones like TC and Cardrona, all the while helping adaptive skiers get out on the snow.

post #8 of 10
Quote:
Porters, Cheeseman, Hamner Springs, Dobson, Lyford and Round Hill all have some lifts that are not nutcrackers, but to get to the best stuff usually does involve a nutcracker (they do have a few advantages, you don't get stuck on the lift if it stops, you are not limited to to defined loading and unloading points, the ones here generally run fast, so they are quick, they give you a bit more of a workout that sitting on a chair :)), but they are an acquired taste and I have to admit to not having introduced my 10 year old to them yet.

I was candid at the time (1 day each at Mt. Olympus and Broken River in 2010) that the issues with the nutcrackers were my problem.  If I'm there on a longer trip, I'm sure I'd figure out how to load them more consistently.  Once I was attached, I found the ride to be only a bit more strenuous than a T-bar and I rarely fell off. 

 

At any rate, I think an avid skier coming from afar will want to put in time at both public and club ski areas, and I don't see any great lift ticket bargain packages there.  OTOH the day tickets are far from the prices they are at big name areas here, so I would probably just pay them and ski where I want, as I have on all 4 of my NZ trips.

post #9 of 10

Ruapehu is underrated, also cheap if you find a place to rent medium long term (lots of empty houses!).

The Earlybird Season pass is only $450NZ.

All this is useless to you this year though and it's the worst season in 7 years, I don't know if the South Island fields are any better.

I hate to admit it but this year it looks like the Aussies have more snow!

 

Dave

post #10 of 10

We finally got some snow.  You can spread out a bit now.  Can get busy though - check out the webcams mtruapehu.com the skifield for the North Island of New Zealand.  Hopefully last to 2nd weekend of November.

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