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New Zealand - The Best South Island Ski Fields

19th June 2014

New Zealand is famous for its premier skiing and snowboarding, and without a doubt the South Island has a few extra ski fields up its sleeve once the snow starts to fall. Dotted across the island you’ll discover a fabulous range of on-mountain facilities, ski resorts and always stunning views, but choosing where to go for the New Zealand ski season is not always easy. So here’s a guide to help you decide where your next family ski holiday could take you!


Coronet Peak (7 June – mid October)
The closest mountain to Queenstown, Coronet Peak boasts New Zealand’s longest resort opening hours. A definite highlight is the fantastic weekend night skiing, where you can access over 4km of terrain beneath the stars while looking down over the lights of Queenstown – including a well-lit Magic Carpet for the kids. But even in the day the views are magical, the facilities world-class, and the terrain fantastic for all abilities, and the on-mountain rental system makes it quick and easy to get gliding down the slopes.

For Families
• There’s a new Fun Zone especially for kids in 2014, with berms, boxes, rollers and a tunnel.
• Day lift passes are free for children under 6 years.
• There are four magic carpet lifts, perfect for beginners and children.
• There’s a licensed Early Learning Centre for children 3 months to 5 years.
• The Coronet Peak Snowsports School offers programs and lessons for all ages and abilities, including group clinics and private lessons.
• Special school holiday programs run full day, half day, and three- and five-day workshops for children 5 to 15 years of age (8 to 15 years for snowboarders).
• Dedicated learner and novice areas make it easy for the whole family to get comfortable on their skis and snowboards.

Ski Facts
Skiable terrain: 280ha
Field breakdown: 25% beginner, 45% intermediate, 30% advanced
Longest run: 2.4km
Elevation: 1646m

Queenstown: 20 mins
Arrowtown: 25mins
Cardrona: 1hr
Wanaka: 1hr 10mins

The Remarkables (21 June – mid October)
The Remarkables is a fantastic ski destination for its relaxed and friendly atmosphere, the stunning views and sunny north-facing slopes. It also has some of the best black diamond and beginner runs in New Zealand, so it’s excellent for beginners and caters to every age and ability. A standout feature here is the three terrain parks, including the Burton Stash, the only one of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere. Other highlights include the quick and easy on-mountain rental system, the dedicated freestyle areas, and its close proximity to Queenstown, which is only a 40 minute drive away.

For Families
• Day lift passes are free for children 10 years and under.
• The Ozone Tubing Park is a great way to have fun in the snow without the skis.
• There are three magic carpet lifts.
• There’s a licensed Early Learning Centre for children 3 months to 5 years of age.
• Special school holiday programs run full day, half day, and three- and five-day workshops for children 5 to 15 years of age (8 to 15 years for snowboarders).
• The Remarkables Snowsports School offers ski and snowboarding lessons and programs, catering to all ages and abilities, including group and private lessons.
• There’s plenty of space for beginners and children to learn the ropes on the slopes.

Ski Facts
Skiable terrain: 220ha
Field breakdown: 30% beginner, 40% intermediate, 30% advanced
Longest run: 1.5km

Queenstown: 40mins
Arrowtown: 45mins
Cardrona: 1hr 5 mins
Wanaka: 1hr 20 mins

Treble Cone (26 June – 28 September)
The largest ski area on the South Island, Treble Cone also has the longest vertical in the Southern Lakes area and is well-known for its fabulous views, long groomed slopes and fabulous backcountry skiing. Catering to all ages and abilities, there’s plenty of terrain and facilities for the kids. But with a higher percentage of advanced slopes than most, the experienced and adventurous snow bunnies out there will also love the long and steep runs. To get you organised without a hassle, the on-mountain rental system will get you equipped for a day out carving up the snow in no time.

For Families
• Kids will love the Jazz Fun Park with small to intermediate jumps and boxes.
• There are great sheltered beginner runs with free magic carpet lifts to the learner slope.
• Ski passes for kids under 5 and adults over 70 are free.
• The whole family will love the scenic chairlift ride.
• Childcare is available for kids aged 3 to 6, and under 3 is accompanied by a parent.
• The Treble Cone Snowsports School offers lessons and programs for all ages and abilities, including beginners, group classes, week-long programs and private tuition.
• There’s a dedicated kids snow sport school for 3 to 15 year olds, offering half and full day group lessons.

Ski Facts
Skiable terrain: 550ha
Field breakdown: 10% beginner, 45% intermediate, 45% advanced
Longest run: 4km

Wanaka: 30mins
Cardrona: 45mins
Queenstown: 1hr 30mins

Cardrona (20 June – 5 October)
Cardrona has an abundance of wide open trails that are perfect for beginners and intermediate skiers and snowboarders. And for the advanced – or the plain adventurous – Cardrona is also home to the most extensive terrain park and halfpipe facilities in the Southern Hemisphere, boasting a gravity cross, four terrain parks and two halfpipes, including a 22ft Olympic Superpipe. Extending across three main valleys, Cardrona has lots of terrain to explore, consistently good weather and reliable snow, as well as on-mountain rental for all your ski gear.

For Families
• Dedicated learner and kindy lifts make it easy for beginners and young ones.
• The terrain park caters to beginners, with easy jumps and tricks, as well as advanced skiers and snowboarders.
• Ski and snowboard programs and lessons are available for all ages and abilities, including a dedicated kids’ school for 5 to 14 year olds.
• The Cardrona Nursery is a licensed Early Childhood Education Centre for young children, 3 months to 2 years old, while the Cardrona Kindy is an indoor centre for 2 to 4 year olds.
• Ski Kindy is a fully licensed Early Childhood Centre for 3 and 4 year olds that incorporates one ski lesson per day, with extra available upon request.

Ski Facts
Skiable terrain: 345ha
Field breakdown: 20% beginner, 55% intermediate, 25% advanced
Longest run: 4km

Cardrona: 25mins
Wanaka: 35mins
Arrowtown: 45mins
Queenstown: 1hr

Mt. Hutt (13 June – 13 October)
One of the largest and highest ski areas on the South Island, Mt. Hutt is a fabulous spot for kids and pros alike. Even the terrain parks here cater to all abilities – including rails, jumps, boxes and a half pipe – so everyone can have a go at a few jumps and tricks on the snow. Located closer to Christchurch than Queenstown, it’s easy to have a big mountain experience not far from the city, and on-mountain rental makes it even easier. Methven is the closest town centre though, which comes to life in ski season with many restaurants to choose from and a family-friendly atmosphere.

For Families
• Children under 10 get free day lift passes.
• An enclosed magic carpet lift makes it easy for the kids to ride to the top of easy slopes.
• There’s a terrain park to suit all levels, including a park for rookies and intermediates, as well as an advanced park for the pros.
• Mt Hutt Snowsports School caters to all ages and abilities with lessons and programs, including group lessons, private tuition and longer clinics.
• A licensed Early Learning Centre is available for kids 3 months to 5 years old.
• Special school holiday programs cater to 5 to 15 year olds, with full day, half day and multi-day workshops.

Ski Facts
Skiable terrain: 365ha
Field breakdown: 25% beginner, 50% intermediate, 25% advanced
Longest run: 2km

Methven: 40mins
Ashburton: 1hr 15mins
Christchurch: 2hrs