Four Tips for Enjoying Your First New Zealand Ski Holiday

Gearing up for your first New Zealand ski trip? You’re in for the holiday of a lifetime.

Skiing and snowboarding are without doubt our favourite reasons to take a winter holiday. We love the wonderful sense of adventure on the mountain, the great fitness benefits, and of course the famous après-ski culture to enjoy after the last run of the day. But it can be a little daunting to embark on your first ski holiday, and there’s a lot to think about before you head off. What equipment will you need? Which is the best resort to choose?

Let’s find out.

Choose your ideal ski resort

What’s job number one when planning your ski adventure? Finding your perfect ski resort. Luckily, New Zealand has a ton of options that are ideal for visitors of all ability levels. First-timer? No worries.

In the South Island, our favourite ski resorts to recommend for beginners are Cardrona, Mt Hutt, The Remarkables and Coronet Peak. They all have learner slopes or ski schools and are great for kids. While Treble Cone is home to some of the best skiing in New Zealand, its steeper terrain is best suited to seasoned snow sport enthusiasts.

In the North Island, Whakapapa boasts almost 30% beginner-friendly terrain, so it’s a great choice for newbies to explore. Nearby Tūroa has less beginner terrain—only around 20%—and is generally considered more suited to intermediate and advanced skiers.

Schedule some rest days to explore and relax

Skiing or snowboarding is great for your fitness. But if you’ve never been on a ski holiday before, be prepared to be tired and a little sore after your first day or two on the mountain. That’s why it’s a great idea to schedule some rest days in your ski trip, time permitting.

Rest days are the perfect opportunity to explore some of the beautiful surrounding countryside or enjoy some off-mountain adventures—or unwind with a movie day if the weather is bad.

Book early or late in the season to enjoy quiet slopes and sharper pricing

It’s good to be a bit strategic with your booking dates to get the most from your NZ ski holiday. We suggest avoiding booking during the school holidays if possible, to enjoy quieter slopes and more accommodation options. You’ll often find better accommodation prices too. Here are some indicative times for the NZ ski season school holidays:

  • Winter school holidays (term 2) run from mid to late July
  • Spring school holidays (term 3) run from early to mid October

Equipment: rent or borrow, don’t buy

Getting the right ski equipment is key to living your best life on the slopes. But that doesn’t mean you need to run out and splash your hard-earned cash on bundles of expensive ski gear.

On the contrary—we think if it’s your first time skiing, it’s best to rent, or even borrow, as much of your ski gear as possible. Have family or friends who love a ski trip? See if they’ll lend you some of their gear. If not, it’s time to head to the shop to get yourself fitted for some rental gear. Here’s a quick checklist of ski equipment rental essentials:

  • Skis/snowboard plus poles (if skiing)
  • Ski/snowboard boots
  • Jacket
  • Pants
  • Helmet

Head over and check out our page for all your NZ ski equipment hire needs. You’ll also need some gloves, a hat, and some goggles (low light or mirrored, depending on the conditions). You’ll most likely need to buy these items if you don’t have them already.

Excited to learn the ropes and start having a blast on the slopes? Find out everything you need to know about learning to ski in New Zealand.

For any further queries, contact Ski Express today.