Skiing in New Zealand is easy if you have the right information. In New Zealand you can choose from some truly amazing ski fields spread throughout the country and offering a huge array of facilities with a plethora of challenging runs. Need more? Skiing New Zealand is not just about world class snow fields. Combine the slopes with memorable sightseeing attractions and nature experiences as well as fantastic bars, pubs and restaurants and you will discover that New Zealand is so much more than just a snow holiday!
At Ski Express we aim to have all the answers to your questions. If you cant find it on our website then please ask one of our ski specialists. They’ve heard plenty of curly questions over the years and it is very rare they can’t find the answer you need.
New Zealand Ski Fields
Canterbury (South Island)
New Zealand Destinations
Unfortunately, New Zealand isn’t a “Ski In & Ski Out” location, meaning you will need to get transport each day to the ski field from your accommodation or nearby town. Luckily, in most cases it will be only a 25 to 45 min drive away. To learn about driving times and eating, drinking & sightseeing tips on our favourite New Zealand destinations, please visit the links below:
Learning to Ski in New Zealand
With a variety of locations, facilities and dedicated snow professionals to get you up and carving, New Zealand is the perfect destination for learners. For those who are willing to give it a try, Ski Express has holiday packages specifically designed for first timers, and special featured content with tips for beginners.
Kids Clubs & Family Ski Holidays
When it comes to family snow holidays, its hard to beat New Zealand. On top of being just a short flight away and having fantastic Off the Snow activities, many ski fields offer handy kids club options to look after and help your little ones. Make sure you read our Family Ski Holidays featured content if you are planning to hit the snow. You might also want to have a look at our Family Packages.
Flights from Australia
New Zealand’s international airports are at Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. Some flights from Australia also land at Hamilton, Palmerston North, Queenstown and Dunedin. Many airlines operate the routes from Australia, and you can book your flights directly with them if you choose to. Ski Express works with a few selected airlines, and you can enjoy some benefits if you choose to book with us. You can add an airfare quote when enquiring about our ski packages, or when you create a custom holiday.
Frequently Asked Questions
These dates are a guide to when the fields will open. Mother nature will ultimately decide if the season is a bit longer.
Coronet Peak – Open Date: 19 June ~ Close Date: 26 September
The Remarkables – Open Date: 26 June ~ Close Date: 17 October
Mt Hutt – Open Date: 11 June ~ Close Date: 17 October
Treble Cone – Open Date: 26 June* ~ Close Date: 26 September*
Cardrona – Open Date: 12 June* ~ Close Date: 17 October*
Turoa – Open Date: 03 July ~ Close Date: 25 October
Whakapapa – Open Date: 03 July ~ Close Date: 25 October
* Subject to snow, weather and operating conditions
Snow reports are posted daily on the individual ski fields websites. These daily snow reports give you the most current snow and weather conditions, road conditions and chain requirements, boundary and closure information along with which lifts and base lodge facilities are operating and any other pertinent information for the day. We urge you to check out this information before you head up the mountain.
Alternately you can call the National Snow phone for weather reports on 0900 99 SNO (766) costs incurred per minute.
Shuttle Bus Transfers
Regular shuttle services run from Queenstown to Coronet Peak and The Remarkables. A daily shuttle service operates from Wanaka to Treble Cone and Cardrona. As do services from Christchurch or Methven to Mount Hutt. Open dated transfer vouchers can be prepurchased before leaving home. All you have to do is phone 24 hours in advance and prebook the actual day and time.
Free car parking is available near the base lodge at each ski area. If you have children with you, use the mountain parking area drop-off zone. Remember to do a gear check before the car heads to the parking lot! Don’t forget goggles, gloves and sunscreen. It is essential that every vehicle (incl. 4WD) carry chains on all mountain access roads. A chain hire and fitting service is available on The Remarkables and Mt Hutt access roads, but NOT at Coronet Peak which is sealed and rarely requires chains. Treble Cone – chains are not available for hire on the mountain. We urge you to pre-book them with your rental car. Cardrona – Safety crews man the access road and can fit chains for a nominal charge. Lake Ohau and Porters – chains are not available for hire on the mountain. We urge you to pre-book them with your rental car. Mt Ruapehu – the roads are sealed and rarely require chains but safety crews man the access roads and can fit chains for a nominal charge.
Most of our ski packages include at least one of the options mentioned above. In case you choose a package that doesn’t include transport, or you need to add extra transfers to your package, you can do so by filling the appropriate fields in the Add-ons section of the enquiry form.
Style is an individual thing and we are all for stylish people hitting the slopes. We do have some practical tips to play around with in your wardrobe though.
Dress in layers fit for an alpine environment. Start with a good thermal layer for both your upper and lower body. This will act as a second skin, pulling moisture away from your body and keep you nice and warm. As a second and third layer it is good to wear a long sleeve T-shirt or micro fleece to keep you snug and lastly as an outer layer a good water and windproof jacket and pants. It is essential to take warm, waterproof gloves, a woollen hat, sunscreen and sunglasses or goggles. Because of the reflection of the snow, sunscreen is recommended at all times. These items are not included with clothing hire (for hygiene reasons). If needed they can be purchased from the on-mountain shops.
If you are interested in one of our ski packages and want us to add Clothing Hire to your quote, do so by filling the appropriate fields in the Add-ons section of the enquiry form.
There are a number of different lift pass options available. For Learners/Beginners, we recommend avoiding standard lift passes and investing in combo packs that combine equipment hire, lessons and beginner lift passes. Often referred to as starter or first timer packs, these usually provide the best value way for learners to get their first taste of the snow. You might also want to have a look at our Learner Packages.
For more experienced skiers, there are also many options of lift passes available. Some like the Queenstown’ Superpass and Wanaka’s Flexi Pass will give you access to multiple mountains along with discounts and other benefits. Lifts generally operate from approx 9:00 am to 4:00 pm daily, weather and snow conditions permitting.
Free Lift Passes
Coronet Peak, The Remarkables, Treble Cone & Cardrona offer free Lift passes for kids 5 years & under ($5 card & admin fee applies to the last 2) while Mt Hutt offers free Lift passes for kids 10 years & under.
Shop: Lift Passes
No one likes feeling clueless. Lessons are the fastest way to improve your skills on the snow and lose the clueless feeling. If you are a total beginner they will get your confidence up in half the time you would if you try to learn as you go. And if you haven’t skied for a while, a refresher should help avoid any embarrassing ego based trips to the medical centre.
Group lessons do not need to be pre-booked, however it is essential to arrive early on the first day and allow about one hour for ticketing and rental fitting. Whether you are a complete beginner or require a refresher course, there are packages which will cover it all.
Shop: Learner Packages
Ski Express has plenty of options available for hiring rental equipment. Some can be hired in town and taken to the mountain and brought back to your accommodation each day. Or others can be hired on the mountain and left there each day to make getting around off the snow a little less awkward. The choice is yours. Best to speak to one of our Ski Specialists when making a booking about what option will be best for you if you are unsure.
When collecting your rental equipment, a credit card or drivers license is required as ID. Each ski field has a storage area where you can leave shoes, bags etc. The cost is approx. $5 per day. When fitting into your ski/snowboard boots we recommend wearing one pair of thick un-ribbed socks. Take an extra pair of thin socks as a backup.
Want to lock something in before your trip? Have a look at our Equipment Hire section.
Once you are sorted with your equipment you can leave any bags/shoes in the secure storage facility (a minimal fee applies). The mountain staff can direct you to where this is located. Don’t forget to apply sunscreen and make the kids visit the loo! Look for an exit and follow the white stuff.
You might want to familiarise yourself with the trail map too, even if you are a beginner. It will indicate where the beginner area is. You need to look for the Green lines. Green = Beginner. Blue = got a clue. Black = Hard Core peeps ski here. If in doubt look for a mountain staff member. They are there to help you have a great day. If you are having a lesson make sure you are in the meeting spot 10 minutes prior so you will be all set and ready to go!
It’s never a bad idea to get travel insurance before you hit the slopes.
Trained patrol staff monitor on-slope safety constantly. In the event of an accident, each ski base has a medical centre as well as access to a doctor. So go hard knowing that there should be someone there to pick up the pieces if it all turns bad!
Each of the ski fields have cafe facilities offering a large variety of snacks and meals. Don’t forget to drink plenty of fluids throughout the day and to keep a few chocolate bars hidden in your ski jacket to keep you and the kids going. It is very important that you start your day with a hearty breakfast.
It is not wrong to want a break from the kids! Especially when fresh powder runs beckon! There are many ways to offload the kids where they still have fun and you get guilt free time to yourself on your preferred mountain – Please visit our Family Ski Holidays section for options of Kids Clubs along with other useful tips.
Note: All child minding facilities can be heavily booked, particularly during school holidays therefore we urge you to book as soon as possible.
Have an issue? Need Assistance?
If you have made a booking with us and you are thinking of something else you need help with, if there is a problem with the documentation you have received or there is just generally something about your experience with us that you would like to let us know about, please call us on 1300 432 211, send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or fill out our contact form.
Already in New Zealand?
If things go pear shaped or you need help, please get in touch with our fantastic Queenstown crew who are keen to help you with any situation your holiday throws up. Call us on 0800 650 333 or 03 442 4644, drop into our service desk in Queenstown at 22 Shotover Street in the Queenstown i Site, email us at email@example.com or fill out our NZ Office contact form.