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New Zealand

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
Searching, I find a lot of deals that include a car. That leads me to think that most ski areas have to be driven to from your hotel. Don't any of the ski areas have hotels? I don't want to bother with driving but I will ride a shuttle bus. I would much rather stay in a hotel at a ski area and walk to the lifts. I have absolutely no familiarity with New Zealand. Can anybody clue me in a little?
post #2 of 10
Hi Powderdog, you are correct in that most commercial NZ ski areas do not have on-mountain hotels. The only commercial ski area in NZ with hotel accommodation on the mountain is Cardrona http://www.cardrona.co.nz, near Wanaka & Queenstown in the southern alps. Most other large ski areas are located near towns which have hotel & motel accommodation, and will have shuttle bus transport onto the mountain.
If you are a confident skier you may want to consider the club ski areas in Canterbury in the South Island. These all have on-mountain lodge accommodation, very reasonably priced, excellent ski terrain, no crowds, and a great atmosphere. They are quite basic facility-wise however. You can find details here http://www.skisouth.org.nz/
We are having a great start to the season here this year; most of the Canterbury ski areas already have up to two metres of snow with the season only a few weeks old.
A good site for finding information about skiing in NZ is http://www.snow.co.nz
post #3 of 10
Coronet Peak is just a ski area. We had to take a shuttle bus from Queenstown to get there. When we attempted to learn snowboarding there (very bad idea) the US and Canadian Ski Teams were there practicing. We thought that was pretty cool!
post #4 of 10
I'm an American. spent two six-week winters in NZ. Follow rossi60's advice, hit the club fields. but, you may need a car get to them. I hit a few, Broken River, Olympia, some others. They didn't offer any public transport. But because they were so desolate, staying at the hill was practically a necesity. There then results very few skiers and loads of privacy. Very homie and killer terrain. Assuming you are an advanced skier and can handle the nut-crackers. (sick rope-tows.) I didn't find coronet or cardrona very exciting. chill, open groomers, fun for carving and park, but very little terrain to negotiate. Treble Cone gave me most IB rock lines. Mt. Hut out of Christchurch bored me. The tourist town is Queenstown, heeps of nightlife. The core skiers go to wanaka- smaller night life, but Treble Cone is easier accessed. (Queenstown and Wanaka in the Southern Alps are a mountain away from each other. Cardrona? lies between them) I found the locals of both towns to be very fun people. They ski hard, party hard in small pubs, eat killer meat pies at four in the morning on a drunken walk home. the ski scene is seriously going off in Wanaka. Research also http://www.freeskier.co.nz/ for loads of event information. Even if you are not a competitor, the locals know how to put on a good show. Especially the downtown Wanaka big Air contest. If you get new snow and have the funds, heli skiing exists. World-class guides from around the world compete for very select jobs. Your guide will be good. And the pilots rock. You may even consider the flying time more fun. I've flown in AK and NZ. the NZ pilots flew little Squirrel helis, amongst others that exist in AK, ie; A-stars. My NZ pilots found pleasure in diving upside down to the valley in the little Squirrels. I know that sounds strange, as you're going to the peak, but there is alot of play time on the way! If you plan on staying for more than a week, look into renting a house. They're cheap. I had a four bedroom house, with one other dude, for eighty bucks a piece a month. Skiing was cheap too. (Compared to the states' fifty dollar passes)

This summer I'm busy getting married. (shut up, she rocks) But next summer she is going to thailand for work for two months. Told me to go skiing in NZ. OK.

Go. Go. Go. I've been twice and can't wait to go again. Hawaii and Ak mixed into one. Wanaka- the only place I have drunk coffee under a palm tree in a t-shirt on the way to a ski resort in the dead of winter.

sorry for my tangeant. You kiwis hold a good gig. Rent a car 'dog.
post #5 of 10
Thread Starter 
WOW ! You guys are great; thanks for the information. I'm getting a little tired of South America with their charging foreigners 40% more than locals, being treated shabily because I'm not fluent in Spanish and constantly being hustled for tips. Having said that, I should point out that I have met some really nice folks down there; I feel guilty about abandoning them.
post #6 of 10
Some great info on NZ club field here http://forum.ski.com.au/ultimate/ult...c;f=4;t=004535
post #7 of 10
Have you thought about maybe going to Australia too? We didn't get a chance, but i heard there was some skiing outside of Sydney. We loved both OZ and NZ. The locals were so friendly in both countries!

Have lots of fun.

PS If you get the adventure urge, I went Hang Gliding off of Coronet Peak...that was awesome.
post #8 of 10
If you're heading this way to ski, forget it. The closest skiing to Sydney is a 5-6 hour drive, not real close. Four weeks into the Australian ski season and there is limited skiing on man made snow and nothing challanging (unless you count dodging rock, grass and punters as a skiing challange). New Zealand on the otherhand has been dumped on.

The main difference betwen skiing in Australia and in New Zealand is Australian skiing has the facilities, whilst New Zealand has the mountains and the snow.
post #9 of 10
Some advice I gave TMAS29

The foreign exchange rate helps your money go a long way here.

We drive on the other side of the road.

Our snow is heavier than the US, a lightpowder day for us would be considered a heavy day by some US and Canadian ski areas.

There are no trees above the snow line, so no tree skiing, all alpine.

You have to drive up 'interesting' mountain roads to get to the ski areas - always carry chains - if you don't like heights, then don't look down when travelling up the TC road.

The towns are BELOW the snow line, which means you can do other actitivites such as mountain biking, running etc.
North facing slopes are the warmest - opposite to northern hemisphere.

We make great coffee, and our coffee terminology differs to yours. We have lattes etc, but also have 'flat white' and 'long black'. We have a wide variety of restaurents compared to the US, no chains, lots of original menus.

And you NEVER EVER have to tip, and tax is ALWAYS included in all prices from the supermarkter to the resturents. So the price listed is exactly what you pay. Some restaurents have a tip jar on the counter, but it is not expected.


We don't have ski villages like in Euope and North American. Our ski areas are on the sides of mountains, and the vallley floors don't have snow. Conservation restrictions and lack of flat space means they do not allow villages to be built up the mountains, it is just not pratcical. I think you'd enjoy your ski experience here more with a car (preferably AWD or 4WD. You always you have to carry chains when going up the ski access roads in case it snows or ices up). Yes there are shuttles up the mountains from the nearest ski town, but the public transport betweens towns is not the best - there is transport but my guess is you'd lose the whole day as times won't suit. Whereas with a car, you could ski then drive to the next town. Is okay to drive at night cause you are below the snow line - there may be the odd day we have snow in the valleys but does not stay long.

Club areas are cheap and the only way to stay on the mountain - 'club' ski areas are oprn to the public - they need the public to survive. they are not exclusive (memebrship is only $100 and is optional), they are managed by a committee of keen skiers, but employ staff over winter for the hands on work up the mountain . In the Canterbury area, Black Diamond Safaris will provide transport to some of the club areas, including Craigieburn which is my favourite. I think you should include at least one club area for the experience which is completely different to a commercial area. I love it for the friendliness, minimal crowds. Don't go though if you only ski groomers cause most of them don't even own a groomer. Take a transceiver if possible.


Don't miss Treble Cone www.treblecone.co.nz , you have to stay in
Wanaka www.lakewanaka.co.nz

New Zealand is Lord of the Rings country - great scenery - going on a South island ski holiday will take you close to many of the film locations. suggest you give the North island a miss - ski areas are very busy with unreliable weather. Just come to the South Island. Best months are relaible snow is August and September. Usually I would just say the first half of September but the last couple of years it has been just as good all through Sept.

We have had one of the best starts to the season ever, so this year would be a good year to come.
post #10 of 10
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the great detailed information. I've already made arrangements to go to South America this year but next year New Zealand is in the plan. I've made copies of all the replies that I got to my inquiry and they will be extremely useful next year.
Thanks again to all,
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