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.http://www.blackdiamondsafaris.co.nz/http://www.craigieburn.co.nz/
Don't miss Treble Cone www.treblecone.co.nz
, you have to stay in
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.