Half the fun of skiing in Queenstown is enjoying all that Queenstown has to offer. The other half is hitting the slopes and soaking up the stunning scenery. If you’re new to Queenstown or a beginner skiier, you will be well looked after on both counts.
Skiing in Queenstown is something special as visitors are spoiled with not one, not two, but three world-class ski fields, all within an hour’s drive. You’d be hard-pressed finding the same value from a ski package anywhere in the world.
But is it really worth it? Aren’t the mountains pretty much the same, you might ask? No! Queenstown’s ski fields are totally different, and we recommend you try all of them.
Here’s the scoop on Coronet Peak, Cardrona, and The Remarkables.
Coronet Peak may be the smallest of Queenstown’s mountains, but it punches way above its weight with super convenient access (30 mins to the top from Queenstown central), the perfect mix of terrain for all abilities, and views across to the Remarkables and Queenstown that are so incredible that you’re likely to start researching local real estate prices. Coronet Peak has three chairlifts plus a T-bar, with a huge range of beginner and intermediate runs that make the mountain feel twice its size. If you’re an advanced skier, look to the back bowls and exchange runs for a serious challenge. Coronet also offers NZ’s only night skiing, where the mountain is lit up every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday until 9pm. DJs, drink specials and prize giveaways ensure it’s a proper party buzz on the slopes!
The Remarkables ski area was once known as much for its scary access road as it was for its skiing, but no more! With a new easy access road, the ‘Remarks’ as it’s known locally is looking better than ever. Offering a huge skiable area from four chairlifts, it’s a mountain that rewards the experienced skier with incredible chute runs, bowls and backcountry terrain; but it’s also amazing for beginners too! Beginner and intermediate skiers will feel most at home on the Curvey Basin and Alto chairlifts, which offer wide, smooth runs with gradients that aren’t too intimidating.
More advanced skiers should head to the Sugar Bowl and Shadow Basin chairs for steeper, more challenging runs. For beginners and little ones, the two magic carpet areas mean you can learn to ski in record time without worrying about how the chairlift works and how not to fall over on it. And did we mention the views? World-class!
Pro Tip: Both Coronet Peak and The Remarkables are operated by NZ Ski, meaning you only need to buy one lift pass to access both mountains. Skiing in Queenstown just got easiert! Get your lift pass here.
Known as a family favourite thanks to its amazing ski-school, Cardrona is a dream for skiers and snowboarders of all ability levels. There are three chairlifts and a ‘chondola’ (a chairlift/gondola hybrid) covering an awesome variety of terrain. Whether you’re skiing for a day or a month, you’ll find plenty to explore on the slopes of Cardrona; the variety of runs from each chairlift gives each chair a unique feel, like you’re entering a different ski area altogether! As you’d expect from a mountain that hosts the Winter Games, fans of halfpipes, kickers and all things snow park will be in heaven in the Southern Hemisphere’s best terrain park offering. When it’s time to take a break, the facilities are top notch, with several cafes, restaurants and bars in which to recharge with a well–earned hot chocolate or famous kiwi pie.