When to Go, Where to Stay and Everything Else to Know About Ski Season in NZ


As of April 13, Australians have (finally, finally!) been allowed to cross the ditch and enter New Zealand without needing to quarantine or isolate. And just like that, our love affair with Kiwi winters, specifically ski season, has been reignited.

If you’ve never travelled there during this time, chances are there’s a lot you don’t know. Things like when the best time to go is, which snow area to choose and, most importantly, what there is to do after you unclip yourself from your skis or snowboard and waddle back to the main lodge.

If you’re among that group, or you’ve skied or snowboarded before in NZ but just forgotten how it all works and need a refresher, you’re in the right place. We chatted to NZSki CEO Paul Anderson and asked him every NZ ski season fact we wanted to know. From what each winter month offers, to the best way to choose which area to visit, here’s everything you need to know about NZ ski season.

When Is Ski and Snowboard Season in New Zealand?

“Aotearoa’s ski season starts in June and runs through until October,” says Anderson. “This year, in Queenstown, Coronet Peak is scheduled to open on June 17 and The Remarkables on June 18.”

When Is the Best Month for Skiing and Snowboarding in NZ?

“Every month is a good time to ski or snowboard in season, but there are different benefits depending on the time of year.

“In June, the season is just kicking off and it’s a chance to get back on the slopes after many months of pining for some fresh snow.

“Come July, Coronet Peak’s first tracks begin, this gives skiers and snowboarders the opportunity to ride beautifully groomed cord first thing in the morning (first tracks pass required). By the end of July, Night Ski parties make their return, accompanied by a raft of entertainment. Coronet Peak just announced Australia’s hip hop legends Hilltop Hoods and First Base are set to play three separate events in one week — starting July 27 and finishing up at The Remarkables on July 30.

Image: Coronet Peak, Getty Images

“In August this year, Coronet Peak will be celebrating its 75th anniversary and a whole week of activities are planned starting August 17 — including throwback events and outfits, long-lunches, parties, alumni events and a gala dinner.

“By September and October, it’s time to lap up the last few weeks of snow as spring comes knocking. Spring brings longer days, uncrowded slopes and, of course, the warmer temperatures give the chance to combine a ski holiday with all the other amazing attractions in Queenstown.”

Where Are the Best Places to Ski and Snowboard in NZ?

“In Queenstown, we have Coronet Peak, the country’s first commercial ski field, and The Remarkables — the home of free ride.

“If you’re wanting something a little different, away from the Adventure Capital of the World (Queenstown) then Methven’s Mt Hutt is just 90 minutes’ drive from Christchurch. Mt Hutt has been named NZ’s Best Ski Resort seven years running.”

How Do You Recommend Choosing Where to Ski or Snowboard?

“The good thing about skiing in Queenstown is that you can buy a season pass, or a multi-day pass which gives you access to both Coronet Peak and The Remarkables. These two mountains have great learner’s areas if you’re a first-timer, but also access to some challenging terrain that will push advanced skiers and snowboarders.

“The Remarkables, in particular, has some incredible parks and backcountry terrain, and even hosts a qualifying event for the Freeride World Tour, which sees the world’s best freeriders going head-to-head. Meanwhile, Mt Hutt is Canterbury’s big friendly mountain with this country’s most consistent snowfall all season.”

Image: Queenstown, Getty Images

Where Can You Stay on a Ski or Snowboard Holiday?

“When skiing or snowboarding at Coronet Peak or The Remarkables, the best place to stay is in Queenstown, Frankton or Arrowtown. There are many accommodation options in these areas.”

What Can You Do After Hitting the Slopes?

“Queenstown is the home of après. There are several options ‘on mountain’ to grab a bite and a drink or listen to some music after a day on the slopes. Then in town, there are many excellent and cosy places to eat and drink after a good day up the mountain.”

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