Surrounded by spectacular lake and mountain scenery, the resort towns of Queenstown and Lake Wanaka offer a choice of four premier ski fields and thousands of peaks across the Southern Alps for heli-skiers and snowboarders.
Located within an hour’s drive of each other, both Queenstown and Lake Wanaka offer a lively après ski culture and numerous off-piste activities.
Treble Cone – Discover Treble Cone, the largest ski area in the South Island, located in the heart of the scenic Southern Alps overlooking Lake Wanaka.
Choose from any of the numerous trails, from long and well-groomed beginner and intermediate trails, to natural half-pipes, chutes, ungroomed powder and challenging black runs on the upper mountain.
There’s more intermediate and advanced terrain here than any other South Island ski area.
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Coronet Peak – Coronet Peak, the South Island’s most popular ski area is just 25 minutes from Queenstown.
Diverse rolling terrain provides challenges for all ability levels and dedicated beginner slopes with twin conveyer lifts makes learning fun for novices, while ‘First tracks’ pass holders can hit the slopes at 8am and ski until 9pm on Friday and Saturday.
Try the M1-Big Easy, the mountain’s longest run at 2.4km, the Fruju half pipe or the Dirty Dog terrain park.
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The Remarkables – The Remarkables ski area, just 45 minutes from Queenstown, offers 220ha of terrain spread across 700ha of reserve in three sunny bowls.
Check out the UP&GO Terrain Park or go off-piste. Try the 150m superpipe or the ‘Homeward Bound’ run, widely considered New Zealand’s best backcountry trail inside a ski area.
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Cardrona – Cardrona Alpine Resort, one of the largest ski resorts in the South Island, offers 300 ha of skiable terrain.
Good for beginners and intermediate it features both gentle wide-open slopes and exciting ski trails, plus terrain parks, pipes and a thrilling gravity cross course.
Cardrona is one of the few ski resorts in New Zealand that offers overnight accommodation with various slopeside lodging options.
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Snow Farm – The first all-mountain terrain park in Australasia features 55km high quality cross-country ski trails within a 4900ha ski farm.
Founded in 1986 by Mary and John Lee on Waiorau Farm, the Snow Farm was the first cross-country ski area in New Zealand.
Originally called the Waiorau Nordic Ski Area, Waiorau was the Maori name that Ngai Tahu gave to the area, that translates to ‘the place of over one hundred waters’. The name was later changed to reflect its farming heritage.
A mecca for cross-country skiing enthusiasts the farm offers groomed, fenced trails and plenty of opportunity to set off along untracked routes. Handy rest huts dotted around the skiing area make it possible to stay out on the trails for the whole day.
Elevation is from 1500m to 2000m and the season is from July to the end of September.
The Snow Farm is located 35km from Wanaka and 55km from Queenstown, with a shuttle bus connection from Wanaka.
For the ultimate rush, try a day of heli-skiing or heli-boarding with Harris Mountains Heliski (www.heliski.co.nz), HeliGuides (www.flynz.co.nz) or Glacier Southern Lakes Heliski (www.heli-flights.co.nz).
Ski season in the southern Alp starts generally around early to mid-June and generally finishes early October.
Latest update: Skiing Queenstown, New Zealand: 25 February, 2020
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