Those of you who already wait for winter the second it’s over so that you can race down the slopes on your skis once again will find New Zealand an attractive solution. This is because New Zealand is located in the southern hemisphere and has mountains full of snow during our summer months that are just waiting to be explored by winter sports fans. SnowTrex gives you five good reasons as to why everyone should consider a ski holiday to New Zealand.
1. Winter fun on an active volcano
The largest ski area in New Zealand is called Whakapapa and, unlike almost all other ski areas in New Zealand, is located on the North Island. Whakapapa and the neighbouring area Turoa are easily accessible via tarred access roads. The special feature here is the location on Mt. Ruapehu, a volcano and, at the same time, the highest mountain on the North Island at 2,797 m, in the Tongariro National Park. On a clear day, Whakapapa offers a fantastic view over the hilly forest landscapes of the Whanganui National Park and out to the west coast with the Mt. Egmont volcano. A total of 44 km of piste and 8 lifts are available to guests. Whakapapa is one of the best ski areas in New Zealand for very good skiers, offering many ungroomed freeride slopes. For beginners, there are only a few skiable slopes in the area at the valley station, and for descents in the upper part of the volcano, you should already have been on skis for a few days. The general ski season runs from mid-June to the end of October.
2. Fun on the slopes while following in the footsteps of ski pros
Around Queenstown in the New Zealand Alps or Southern Alps, by far the largest mountain range in the country, you will find four other major ski areas in New Zealand. As the town has its own airport, there are also many international ski tourists there. The Coronet Peak Ski Area has existed since 1947 and is particularly easy to reach via a tarred access road. 40 km of piste – regardless of difficulty – and 4 lifts can be found here. As the only night skiing area in New Zealand, the pistes are floodlit on Fridays and Saturdays, including DJ entertainment, which is definitely an attraction. Apart from that, Coronet has everything a skier’s heart desires, from well-kept accommodation to well-groomed pistes. This demanding ski area is also the venue for many FIS races and the training location of World Cup teams. In particular, it has a very well-developed fun park with two FIS half-pipes.
3. Family and beginner-friendly pistes
Not far from Coronet Peak is the sister ski area, The Remarkables. Here, the name says it all: this ski area is very high by New Zealand standards at 1,622 m to 1,943 m and is characterised by some of the most beautiful views in the Southern Alps. It is made up of three valleys surrounded by mountain peaks, known as “bowls”, which provide pistes for all levels of ability, but above all, make it easy for beginners to learn the sport with a few very easy pistes and an easy-to-use chairlift. The Remarkables is therefore an extremely family-friendly and beginner-friendly ski area, which is why, in contrast to Coronet, there are largely no medium-difficulty red runs (marked blue in New Zealand). However, there are very difficult off-piste slopes in the Shadow Basin in addition to the beginner slopes around the Base valley station. The Remarkables is also very popular with snowboarders and freeskiers thanks to its two fun parks.
4. Sunshine skiing included
One of New Zealand’s most popular and top-rated ski areas is the Mt. Hutt ski area. 25 pistes with 40 kilometres of piste, mainly intermediate, are available to winter sports fans. 5 lifts take skiers safely to the slopes. The ski area is known for its many sunny days and is one of the sunniest ski areas in New Zealand! Skiing here is also possible for longer than average, with the season lasting from June to October.
5. Heliskiing on Aoraki
A special treat for extremely advanced skiers should not be missing from the presentation of New Zealand’s ski areas: Heliskiing on Mt. Cook, or “Aoraki” in the Maori language, which is New Zealand’s highest mountain at 3,754 metres. The mountain is located in the Mt. Cook National Park, 40% of which is covered by glaciers. The Tasman Glacier is very popular with heliskiers. At 27 km long, it is the best-known glacier and the closest to the summit. It is also one of the longest glaciers outside the polar regions. For heliskiing, the weather is first checked early in the morning, and if conditions are suitable, the participants are flown to the starting point. They are then given avalanche transponders and a safety briefing. Afterwards, they can ski towards the valley in untouched nature.