The NZS.nz Ski Fields in New Zealand article contains information on the locations and features of the most popular ski fields and resorts in New Zealand.
Planning a skiing or snowboarding trip in New Zealand but have no idea which resort to go to? This article will help you decide which ski field has the features you want for your skill level, and is in the location most suitable to you.
New Zealand is privy to some of the most spectacular mountains and ski fields in the world. No matter whether you are a skier, snowboader or even snow sledder, New Zealand has some of the most stunning altitudes that are sure to please any adventure-seeking snow lover looking for a winter holiday destination.
It might be an active volcano, but Mount Ruapehu is home to the North Island’s major ski fields and only glaciers. Whakapapa and Turoa are located on its slopes and are together considered the largest ski resort in New Zealand. Tukino, a club field, is also located on Mount Ruapehu.
The only ski field in the North Island that isn’t on Mount Ruapehu is located in Taranaki, and features accommodation onsite: the 33 room Manganui Lodge. Catering for all skill levels, this small club field offers ski runs of up to 1km long.
Rising to the west of the Canterbury Plains, this commercial ski field caters to a wide range of skiers, Mount Hutt features a ‘magic carpet’ lift for beginners, several intermediate areas and two very advanced runs “The Towers” and “South Face” which feature complex rock formations at the top of the mountain.
Formerly known as Porter Heights, Porters is just over an hour’s drive west of Christchurch. The slope difficultly is aimed substantially at advanced skiers with a 50% distribution, while 35% of the runs are suitable for intermediates and only 15% for beginners.
Claiming the highest car park of any ski field in New Zealand, this resort caters to intermediate skiers and has the self-proclaimed ‘largest, sunniest, learner/intermediate slope’ in New Zealand. Mount Dobson also features a natural half pipe for boarders and is close to the small down of Fairlie, where several motels provide accommodation for mountain-dwellers.
A family run ski resort, Mount Lyford is only 50 minutes drive from hot pools thermal reserve town Hanmer Springs, and marine wildlife eco-tourist spot Kaikoura. Catering for all skill levels, the runs cover an elevation range of 1249 to 1750m, with most of the trails groomed.
The small commercial ski field has a 23-cannon, fully automated snow-making machine installed as of the 2008 season. The base altitude is 1400m and the highest altitude is 1825m, and the roads are well taken care of for buses and touring vehicles.
Like many club fields, Temple Basin is not accessible by car – it involves a 45 minute walk after a 2 hour drive from Christchurch. Its natural terrain is highly recommended for adventure skiers and covers a skiable domain of 320 hectares.
Located just 18 kilometres to the northeast of Queenstown, this is one of New Zealand’s most popular ski resorts. With varied terrain for all levels of skill, this resort offers a high speed quad chairlift, high speed six-seater chairlift and superb novice areas. The view from Coronet Peak is perhaps another crowd-puller for many, it spans the awe-inspiring Lake Wakatipu and the smaller Lake Hayes.
Truly living up to their name, these mountains really are as remarkable as is commonly believed. The notable backdrop for the waters of Lake Wakatipu, the high points in this mountain range include Double Cone which reaches 2340 metres and Ben Nevis which reaches 2330 metres. The Remarkables features 220 hectares of official ski area and is evenly weighted for all skill levels. For any skiers eager for untouched powder, this resort is also a gateway for back country skiing, and is a 45 minute drive from Queenstown.
An hour’s drive from Queenstown is Cardrona, near the lakeside town of Wanaka. Mainly suitable for intermediate skiers, this skifield ranges from 1,670m to 1,894m and is also suitable for children. Cardrona is also well-established as a snowboarding destination, as it has 4 half pipes and a terrain park. Ladies, don’t forget to leave an old bra on the fence as you leave the mountain, it’s a Cardrona tradition!
Also situated near the town of Wanaka is Treble Cone, a commercial ski field which lays claim to the longest vertical rise in the Southern lakes region of New Zealand. With a top elevation of 2088m, Treble Cone has reasonably steep and rugged terrain and attracts many advanced adventure-seeking skiers. There are however several areas which are suitable for both beginner and intermediate skiers. Treble Cone also caters for summer activities, opening its 6-chair lift specifically for hiking and mountain biking purposes.
If a traditional ski field is not what you’re after, Snow Park offers a variation on the typical ski run. Featuring several jumps, rails and half pipes, it is a dedicated terrain park for snowsports. Conveniently, accommodation is now available on the mountain, whereas before 2006 the nearest accommodation was in either Wanaka (35kms away) or Queenstown (55kms away).
Heli-Skiing Fields In New Zealand
New Zealand is also home to various heli-skiing specific ski fields, where skiers must be dropped at the top of a mountain by helicopter and left to navigate their way down the mountain. While heli-skiing can be costly, it is a true experience in itself and one that every dedicated thrill-seeker should do in their lifetime. Ski fields such as Mountain Potts in Canterbury and Invincible Snowfields in Otago are heli-skiing only mountains.
Other Club Fields
The bulk of New Zealand’s club ski fields are dotted around the mountains of Canterbury: Fox Peak; Hanmer Springs Ski Field, Broken River, Mount Cheeseman, Cragieburn Valley and Mount Olympus. Most of these include lodge accommodation onsite.