When thinking of the best ski and snowboard destinations in the world, New Zealand is not one of the top contenders. For powder shredders in the southern hemisphere, however, NZ is a well-loved gem despite being globally under-rated.
Whether you are in the South or North Islands, there is a great selection of skiing destinations, although, not as diverse as France, Switzerland, or the United States.
Being an isolated country, New Zealand is hard to reach, and that adds to its charm. If you are planning a ski trip to the Land of the Long White Cloud, keep on reading and learn more about the top places for skiing in New Zealand. Whether it is helicopter drop or off-piste skiing, New Zealand has something to offer for everyone.
Located on the South Island, the Cardona is up on the mountains between Queenstown and Wanaka.
The Cardona Alpine Resort is an ideal destination for families and for novices who are just learning how to ski. There are no expert runs. 25% of the runs are ideal for beginners, 50% for intermediates, and 25% for experts.
Aside from skiing and snowboarding in New Zealand, a gondola ride is another popular activity that visitors can enjoy. Head to the top of the mountain and you will surely be mesmerized by the view.
Known as the ultimate mountain playground, Cardrona offers plenty of activities for everyone to enjoy during winter and summer. So, there is no wrong time to visit!
Reasons Why We Love Cardona
- Lots of fun year-round activities
- Great for families
- Easy to access
- Excellent infrastructure for visitors
2. The Remarkables
The list of the best places for skiing in New Zealand is incomplete without mentioning The Remarkables. Located only 45 minutes away from central Queenstown, accessibility is one of the resort’s best assets.
You won’t be disappointed when you visit The Remarkables as there are three sunny and sheltered bowls in between towering peaks. There are plenty of wide-open terrains perfect for beginners who are just learning how to turn on skis and other essential techniques. Intermediate and expert skiers will also have a lot of choices.
Like other destinations for skiing and snowboarding in New Zealand, the season is from June to October, so make sure to plan your trip around that time.
Reasons Why We Love The Remarkables
- Easy to access
- Ideal for backcountry skiing
- Relaxed atmosphere
- Offers three sheltered bowls
3. Treble Cone
Often regarded by many as one of the best places for skiing in New Zealand, Treble Cone is massive. With a summit elevation of 6,850 feet and an area of 1,359 acres, this resort is the largest ski destination in the South Islands.
The Treble Cone Resort also has the longest vertical rise in the country with a lift-assisted vertical drop of 700 meters, lift elevation of 1,960 meters, and a base elevation of 1,260 meters.
At Treble Cone, 45% of the terrains are for intermediates and 45% are for advanced skiers, so we recommend a visit only once you have already mastered the basics of how to ski steep slopes and stopping on skis, among other skills. If you are a beginner, we suggest that you find another resort.
Reasons Why We Love Treble Cone
- Largest ski resort in South Island
- Has the highest annual snowfall in the country
- Legendary off-piste terrains
- Uncrowded groomed runs
4. Mount Hutt
Located in Methven in South Island, the resort is on the highest mountain in the area, which is why skiers can expect reliable snow. Mount Hutt covers a total area of 900 acres and has an elevation of approximately 2,000 feet.
The location of Mount Hutt allows it to enjoy great snowfall, which is about 4 feet on average per season. Also, the resort closes only about 14 days per season, which is a shorter duration compared to the other places for skiing and snowboarding in New Zealand.
Hate getting on and off ski lifts in crowded resorts? At Mount Hutt, this won’t be a headache. The resort has recently been into upgrades to make the lift system more reliable.
Reasons Why We Love Mount Hutt
- Great terrain selection for all skiers
- No long lift queues
- Generous snowfall
- Lots of open days per season
5. Craigieburn Valley
For the best powder skiing experience without the crowd, Craigieburn Valley should be at the top of the list. Located approximately only 45 minutes away from Christchurch, the isolation of the resort is one of its biggest draws.
You won’t find beginner terrains in Craigieburn Valley. Instead, there are steep and narrow chutes that are perfect for those who are up to the challenge. Get ready to don your best ski jackets and ski pants in this resort for advanced skiers.
Craigieburn Valley is just about 15 minutes away from Broken River, which is another favorite for skiing in New Zealand.
Reasons Why We Love Craigieburn Valley
- Good for advanced skiers
- Not crowded
- Provides an authentic Kiwi skiing experience
6. Coronet Peak
One of the best things about Coronet Peak is its accessibility since the resort is located only around 20 minutes from Queenstown.
More than being accessible, accessible, Coronet Peak is also a great destination for night skiing. Make sure that you have the best night skiing goggles for maximum visibility on the runs.
If it is your first time in the snow, no need to worry. Coronet Peak has several packages that are aimed at beginners. The Starter Pack, for instance, is good for one to three days, inclusive of lessons, lift passes, and rental of ski gear.
Reasons Why We Love Coronet Peak
- Easy to access
- Excellent lift system
- Decent choices for accommodation
- Great for night skiing
7. Mount Olympus
Ski-in the playground of the gods – this is how Mount Olympus markets itself. The resort is not the most accessible for those who want to experience skiing in New Zealand. This is a good thing. 100 skiers in a day is already a lot, so you can enjoy it without a big crowd.
However, take note that Mount Olympus is not a place for novices. We recommend the resort only for those who already know how to ski steeps and other advanced techniques.
Mount Olympus has four high-capacity rope tows. They are amongst the most advanced in the country, which can run at approximately 4 to 6 meters per second.
Reasons Why We Love Mount Olympus
- Not crowded
- Great for ski touring and backcountry skiing
- A paradise for expert skiers
- Lots of fresh slopes
8. Broken River
For those who are looking for an affordable and laidback destination for skiing and snowboarding in New Zealand, the Broken River is another exceptional pick.
The Broken River is unlike any other luxury ski resort. It has a no-frills environment. The resort is for those who are looking for basic accommodations, friendly locals, and best of all, affordable ski packages.
There are four tow ropes and an alpine rail, making it easy for the guests to get around the resort and find their spot. It also has facilities to support guests who would like to try night skiing.
Reasons Why We Love Broken River
- Good for backcountry skiing
- Not crowded
- Excellent facilities
If you ever find yourself in the North Island, Whakapapa is where you should be skiing. The resort is home to more than 70 runs, so you can be confident that there is a spot for everyone, regardless if you are a novice or an expert.
One more thing that makes Whakapapa popular is the fact that it is home to the largest gondola in New Zealand – Sky Waka. The gondola will take you up at 2,020 meters above sea level!
Whether you are looking for steep drops, chutes, and bowls, you will love Whakapapa. Some grooms are perfect for cruising and many runs are designed for intermediate skiers.
Reasons Why We Love Whakapapa
- A great choice for beginners
- Offers a variety of runs
- Home to the longest vertical run
Also located in Mt. Ruapehu, Turoa ski field is the sister of Whakapapa. These are the two resorts that people visit on the North Island. Because of its geographical location, it is not as popular as the South Island for those looking for the best skiing in New Zealand.
Turoa has a vertical drop of 722 meters with chutes and bowls for advanced skiers. In the same way, there are also smooth terrains that are ideal to test the best beginner snowboards and skis.
The modern lift system is another highlight of Turoa, which is home to eight quad lifts. The high-speed lifts in the resort are some of the best you will find in New Zealand, which also means that there are no long waits!
Reasons Why We Love Turoa
- The ideal place to learn skiing
- Great nightlife and food scene
- Plenty of snow
- Great lift system
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New Zealand should be on your winter bucket list! It feels like a different planet, especially because of its scenic views. Their resorts may not be as massive as what you will find in more popular destinations, but you can have the assurance of memorable skiing and snowboarding in New Zealand.
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