Skiing in New Zealand’s South Island is an incredible experience, with breathtaking views and great slopes.
There are so many great ski fields in the South Island, no matter your skill level. If you’re a beginner and have the opportunity to go to a variety of fields, be sure to try lessons at different locations. The instructors are of an international class and you are bound to find several that will explain a technique in a way that will click with you.
If you’re an experienced skier, you will cherish the opportunity to experience the variety of ski fields on offer. There are many to challenge you with advanced and park runs, as well as some that allow backcountry skiing.
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Mt Hutt is a great ski field for any skier, no matter their experience level. There is a dedicated beginner area with a ‘magic carpet’ to help learners up the first part of the mountain, and the beginner area offers a safe space to start learning without being too much to handle. Mt Hutt spans 365 hectares, and boasts 4 terrain parks and an incredible view of both the Canterbury Plains and the ocean from the summit. Some of the lightest and driest powder in Australasia falls at this ski field, it is certainly one not to miss. When you take a break from the snow be sure to grab a burger, they have some great options at the cafe.
Ohau lies on the border of Canterbury and Otago, with its highest point at 1825m. In comparison to other ski fields it might be small at only 165 hectares, but Ohau caters to all skill levels and makes what it has count. There are 2 terrain parks, a poma tow and a magic carpet, and the view overlooks beautiful Lake Ohau. This remote little ski field is a nice break from the slightly more commercial fields you might find in some areas.
Treble Cone spans 550 hectares, with a 6 seater express lift, quad lift, poma tow, and magic carpet to help riders get around. There are long, cruisy runs that a range of skill levels will enjoy, as well as more advanced runs if you’re after something more challenging. Treble Cone has some impressive natural half pipes and is good for free riders, however there are great options if this is not for you. The Raffles Run offers a beautiful view of Lake Wanaka as you ride, something you simply cannot miss if you have the chance. After you’ve worked up an appetite, there are plenty of great places to eat dinner down the mountain in Wanaka.
Cardrona is a popular ski field, with over 20 national and international ski and snowboard events held here each year. The on-hill accommodation means skiers don’t have to travel up the mountain, they can roll out of bed and hit the slopes first thing. For those that love action and adrenalin, Cardrona has lots of park runs and areas to improve and refine skills. The low level slope also has a great view towards Queenstown, and the magic carpet shell is transparent so riders are free to take in the beautiful view as they rise, before skiing down the beginner slope. It’s a great place to catch your breath and prepare yourself for your next attempt.
The Little Meg Cafe at the bottom of the Valley View Quad offers great coffee and hot chocolate, as well as an incredible view. Be sure to have a hot drink and a moment to breathe before heading back out, the scene really is a magnificent sight. Down the mountain be sure to check out the Cardrona Hotel for a meal, as well as Bradrona, and learn the history of the bra fence and its connection to the New Zealand Breast Cancer Foundation.
The Remarkables, (or as it’s known to the locals, The Remarks) is a great ski field for any level of experience. There are beginner areas, nice intermediate runs, some steeper intermediate areas, as well as advanced and back-country areas, and this field is one of the most reliable – the season is long as they are very high up. The Remarks is one of the best fields for free riders, with the expanded Xbox Terrain and Rail Park frequently changing to keep riders on their toes.
One part you won’t want to miss is the Ice Bar, part way down Curvey Basin Chairlift. A fully licensed outdoor bar operates in a small break in the middle of the run, where riders can stop and have a well earned refresher before completing the rest of their run. There is also a mini hike park at the top of the Sugar Bowl Chairlift, great for improving your skills or free styling. If you’re after a longer and more challenging run, Homeward Run and Outward Bound are beautiful runs that will thrill even the most experienced.
Coronet Peak is the only resort that offers night time skiing- an entirely different experience. You’re able to ride while the sun sets every Friday and Saturday, taking in the beautiful colours and how they blend with the snow. There are 3 chairlifts and one T-bar, as well as a few terrain park features for those wanting to play around with their technique. Coronet offers great natural features, and is usually one of the first fields to open in the area for snow season. More advanced riders will find plenty to challenge themselves with, while newer ones will find areas they can improve themselves on before heading off to some more challenging runs.
Skiing in the South Island is an experience you won’t want to miss, with world class instructors and beautiful runs for every experience level. Just make sure you don’t get distracted by the views on your way down the slopes.