Have not been on for a while, better late than never.
check out www.snow.co.nz
for info on all areas
NZ has two islands, North and South. I have only ever skied in the South, has a lot more areas and the weather is more reliable - skip the north island.
To fly to the South Island ski areas you will need fly into CHRISTCHURCH, all international flights from US fly into Auckalnd which is the North island. Air New Zealand are going to start flying LAX to Christchurch direct, not sure when that starts. Might not be until after the ski season.
NZ has two types of ski areas, commercial areas and club fields, and attract quite different clientele. Club areas are open to the public (they want paying customers, don't be put off by the word 'club') but are a run by a committee of volunteers in their spare time (aka keen skiers), and they employ staff during the ski season. They have nutcracker rope tows and don't normally have groomers. So if you like off piste and no crowds, club fields are excellent, and they are cheap plus have on mountain accomodation. Would pay to book ahead that have a large group of British skiers staying on the moutnain for 2 months this season. Commercial areas do not have on mountain accomodation, you have to stay in the nearest town.
My favourite areas are:
Favourite Commerical - Treble Cone (TC), town Wanaka (about 4.5 hour drive from Christchurch, or you can fly to Wanaka or Queenstown.
Wanaka is a great town, but cheap accomodation can be hard to come by at this time of the year - all the ski bums have already hit town. Need to book ahead. Also has Cardrona ski area, has one area popular wiht extreme skiers but is an excellent beginners mountain. Whereas TC has lots of advanced terrain, offpiste and plus amazing views.www.treblecone.co.nzhttp://www.lakewanaka.co.nz/
Favourite Club - Craigieburn
Craigieburn is 1.5 hour drive from Christchurch airport
This club area has had rave review by the likes of Glen Plaje and Eric Des Lauiriers. I emt Eric at the Snowbird Academy and he raved about Craigieburn. You can stay on the mountain for a week, all accommodation, food, lift tickets and some lessons for $500 - $600 NZ. Really social atmosphere, great if you are travelling on your own, can meet up with others to ski with on the day or in the bar at night. I have had wpic ppowder days at Craigieburn and only had to share it with 20 others .www.craigieburn.co.nz
If you hire a vehcile, make sure it is 4WD. You have to travel up quite an latitude on mountain roads to get to ski aras, and fitting chains can be a pain. Is probably cheaper to rent a car from Christchurch, even if going to Wanaka. The drive to Wanaka is beautiful, so make sure you travel sure the day. This seaon Budget has deals with the ski areas where you get a commercial ski pass for each days rental, but I think it is reflected inthe overall price.
New Zealand has a lot of 'backpacker' accommodation. Bring a sleeping bag and you can travel quite cheaply. Most backpackers have bunk rooms as well as private rooms if you want to pay a bit more, bathrooms and kitchen faciltiites are shared. Next step up is motels - all motels have private bathroom, as well as kitchen facilities so you can cook full meals to keep down costs.
Drop me a PM if you wan to know anymore, cause I'll be able to answer straight away. Don't get onto epic every day.
I am going to Treble Cone this weekend, and Craigieburn next weekend :-)