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Where's the best place to ski in New Zealand?

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
Looking for a destination with great snow conditions, after ski activities and good accomodation/facilities. any recommendations?
post #2 of 16
Queenstown - two out of three ain't bad
post #3 of 16
My choice would be to ski Treble Cone, and stay in Wanaka. Not as much apres ski as Queenstown but better snow and ski area. Does not mean to day Wanaka does not have plenty of night life, it is booming, and there seems to be new restaurants opening every time I visit. From Wanaka you can also ski Cardrona.

Check out


for links into all the areas.
post #4 of 16
Thread Starter 
Thanks alot guys! From some of the research that i've gathered, cardrona and treble cone are the better places to ski and it's better to stay at wanaka. Any idea how far away wanaka is away from both ski areas?
post #5 of 16
40 munites.
Wedges with sour cream and sweet chilli sauce at the Cardrona Hotel
post #6 of 16
Thread Starter 
Sounds good man, i'm tastin it already
post #7 of 16
Suggest you rent a 4WD if you don't want to use the shuttles. 2WD frequently have to put chains on, nice not to have to stop if you don't have to. Cardrona and Treble Cone are both about a 30 -40 minute drive from town to car park. There are shuttles up the mountain but cost $22 each. The scenery from Wanaka to Treble Cone is awesome, I never tire of it, my favourite part of New Zealand.
post #8 of 16
Thread Starter 
Thanks alot guys, this information has been really useful!
post #9 of 16
Queenstown?!?! No way, bad choice. The 2 of the 3 are the accomm and apres-ski. I suppose if that is your cup of tea then head there fast.

Whakapapa and Turoa in the North Island currently have tons of snow (Whaka base 245cm, Turo 285cm) and top to bottom skiing, and you will get 5 times the skiing on either of those areas than any south island area. Whakapapa is stonking, great chutes, steeps, long fast groomers, epic hiking, whatever takes you.

The Whakapapa area town is small, but only a 30 min drive to Ohakune, the base for Turoa, where there are lots of pubs, bars, cafes etc.
post #10 of 16
Yet another different response - I reckon Mt Hutt. For the Southern Hemisphere, the snow quality is exceptional, it's the coldest mountain in NZ and has the dryest powder. Not too crowded, and some decent lines to be had.

If you're after nightlife tho, forget it.
post #11 of 16
Originally posted by Bergkamp:
[QB]Yet another different response - I reckon Mt Hutt. For the Southern Hemisphere, the snow quality is exceptional, it's the coldest mountain in NZ and has the dryest powder. Not too crowded, and some decent lines to be had.
Yes, but if you are an advanced skier you will have skied the best it has to offer in a day and be bored sh*tless.
post #12 of 16
i spent my summer around queenstown and wanaka. Wanaka is amazing, its very secluded. Treble cone is a great mountain for backcountry and has some amazing views. Cardrona is enormous, and on good days will give you everything you need. you also have Snowpark to get your park fix.

In queenstown, you have the remarkables (which is my favorite, not as big but so much adventure and all around fun) and coronet, its little sister. Also queenstown is just a super fun place to hang around, it was really the greatest trip i have ever taken
post #13 of 16
I would say that if you like mountains and outdoors, Queenstown is a very nice place to visit!

wonderful city surrounded by mountains, a lake...

I skied there in a very bad snow year (el nino) and enjoyed Coronet Peak (with night ski) and Mt Hutt,
but my favorites were Cardrona and Treble Cone, and for both you can get a shuttle in Queenstown, ski and come back in the end of the day.

BTW, Chile and Argentina are in the Southern Hemisphere and IMO, they get better snow then New Zeland.
You can find great snow quality in the Andes.
post #14 of 16

The advantage to coming down to N.Z. is that you almost double your disposable income US 56 cents gets you a kiwi $1 at todays exchange rates. However the season doesn't really pick up til the end of June. Fell in love with Queenstown the first time we went south and there does seem to be a better range of skiing covering the range of abilities(down south) However being stuck up near Wellington (bottom of North Island) its the 3 1/2hr drive north to Mt Ruapehu  for Whakapapa National Park side and Turoa out of Ohakune.


www.snow.co.nz   south island fields   and  www.mtruapehu.co.nz  for the north island

post #15 of 16

IMO the best skiing is in the club fields around Christchurch (a great city) - Broken River, Mt Cheesman, Porter Heights.  Nutcracker rope tows, little/no grooming, the best terrain.  Heli skiing without the cost.  Otherwise Wanaka.

post #16 of 16

My TR's and pics from July 16, 17, 18 and 21 at Mt. Hutt, Porters and the club fields Mt. Olympus and Broken River here: http://www.firsttracksonline.com/boards/viewforum.php?f=6


I have been skiing in NZ in 3 other seasons, most of that time around Queenstown and Wanaka. 


With respect to terrain, I concur with Taxman.  If you want steeps and challenge all 4 of the places I skied this time are in the ballpark with Treble Cone and much tougher than the other 3 Southern Lakes areas.  And I didn't even get to Craigieburn, which has the most expert reputation but it needed more snow cover to be worth a visit. 


With respect to snow conditions, skiers used to western North America need to lower their expectations.  All the South Island areas are leeward of the Southern Alps crest and relatively low in altitude.  Mt. Hutt, which probably gets the most lift served snow on the South Island, averages 191 inches based upon 15 years of data through 2006.  So do not take a ski-dedicated trip to NZ before August.  I was there this early only because I was on a solar eclipse cruise out of Tahiti and the marginal cost to add on NZ was trivial.


Even if the coverage is adequate, these areas are wind exposed and can get occasional rain.  I was lucky that some of these areas had a 4-foot dump in mid-June for decent cover, but there were some frozen granular and crusty slopes due to a couple of rain events since then.  I do think Treble Cone and Cardrona are somewhat less subject to the wind/rain issues than the Christchurch areas, so perhaps a bit more consistent during the peak August season.  Queenstown/Wanaka are by far the best places to be for alternative activities to skiing on weather down days, which you will likely encounter in NZ due to the skiing being far above the tree line.


I was with http://blackdiamondsafaris.co.nz/ , whom I highly recommend if you are new to the club fields with their challenging access roads and learning the nutcracker tows.  September can be a good time for the Christchurch/club areas.  You will probably get some spring conditions, but you're less likely to have steep terrain closed for thin cover, ice or snow stability problems. 


I've only had one ski day on Whakapapa and it was in 1982.  Mt. Ruapehu is very exposed to wind so midwinter days of closure or restricted operation are frequent.  As noted the snowpack is usually deeper, so spring skiing in September/October might be more consistent than winter.  3/4 of NZ's population is on the North Island, so the Ruapehu areas rate to be busier on weekends/holidays.


Thiago is correct about better average snow conditions in South America.  Some of that is snowfall but most of it is the much higher altitude for snow preservation at Portillo, Valle Nevado and Las Lenas.

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