Skiing in Queenstown, Queenstown Overview

Skiing, a recreational activity and a winter sport have now become an international venture recognised by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the International Ski Federation (FIS) as a competitive sport along with regular skiing events. The types of skiing include Alpine Skiing which is practised in hills and mountains, regular skiing with free-heel bindings, nordic skiing, freestyle skiing, recreational skiing and backcountry. 

Started as a club sport in 1861, mainly in South America, Switzerland and Australia, skiing has gained momentum over the years and has now become such a desired International sport. Controlled avalanches, cut trees, and groomed snow are some of the provisions to create skiing trails. Many resorts create false snow to enable skiing during non-snowing months. So, those looking for an exciting activity during the winter, skiing can be an enjoyable activity and a great exercise to pursue.

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Skiing Prices

Skiing costs can vary depending on the place and time.
Average price - NZD 100 to NZD 120 (per day - including ski clothes, pass and food. The accommodation, lessons, etc. have extra costs which would vary depending on the resort)

Best Time to Ski in Queenstown

Skiing resorts usually open during winter when there is plenty of snowfall. In New Zealand, this is during late June or early July.
However, the best time to do skiing is from mid-August to mid-September. Firstly, during this time, there is enough snow coverage. Secondly, during late July and late September, skiing resorts tend to be extremely crowded as schools tend to give ski breaks during these periods. However, if you want to ski with family, friends or with a group, then July might be the right time for you. Moreover, early June may bring snow in the mountain areas, and visitors may get good deals on resorts since this month is the least crowded month for skiing.

Skiing Locations in Queenstown

New Zealand has several skiing resorts, both in North as well as South islands. The main areas are Wanaka, South Island, North Island and Canterbury : 

Coronet Peak Ski Resort is the closest to Queenstown and offers a variety of pistes, slopes and practice spots that are quite close to Wanaka. Two prevalent trails include Exchange Drop and the Big Easy. This resort has facilities running right from morning until midnight. Another special mention is Cardrona Ski Resort, very close to Queenstown. 

Mt Hutt in Lake Tekapo is just around 90 minutes from Christchurch, Canterbury in the heart of South Island, and offers a beautiful view of Mt Cook and the Southern Alps. This family-friendly resort has a large beginners area, while ample ski curves and the journey to the world's longest rope tow are other areas for the advanced skiers. 

Hanmer Spring is one of the budget-friendly as well as low-crowded skiing resorts in New Zealand. Located in the Southern Hemisphere, Bordeaux Basin, this resort is filled with promotions, passes to keep costs low. On-field accommodation is available for visitors who want to spend a few days near the Poma Lift; many places in this area are left unexplored. 

Whakapapa is one of the best sites in North Island, located in the northeastern slopes of Mt. Ruapehu at Tongariro National Park. Horizontally 550 hectares wide and vertically 675 hectares long, this ski resort is open all year round. Happy Valley is the beginning terrain of this resort with 30 groomed jumps and trails for intermediate riders and 24 black diamond runs for the pros. Whakapapa offers all-day lessons, an all-mountain lift pass and equipped rentals.

Skiing Tips

  • Skiing is just like any other sport. Hence, it needs to be taken seriously. Here are a few tips to ensure a good skiing experience: 
  • Do some research before going ahead with skiing to ensure that you are mentally and physically ready to pursue this sport. 
  • It is a dangerous sport, especially alpine skiing in the mountains. Hence, only those who are well-trained should explore this sport in the mountains or steep areas. 
  • Make sure you have all the equipment
  • Make sure your posture is stable and make turns 
  • Avoid leaning back while skiing
  • For beginners, take learner's lessons or watch tutorials
  • Do not exert yourself or push yourself too much. Maintain a consistent speed  
  • Warm-up and warm down before and after skiing.
  • Carry extra clothes
  • Make sure you have travel insurance
  • Make sure you have your holiday/accommodation or ski hire details 
  • Keep your ski club membership handy if you have one
  • Arrive early if you're joining a group so that you have time to prepare yourself. 
  • Rent your equipment so that it's easier on your wallet, and you do not have to carry it around. 
  • Avoid skiing alone. 
  • Cover yourself up with layers of clothing to avoid frostbites. 
  • Do an avalanche check before going ahead with skiing.

Skiing Essentials

  • Ski helmet 
  • Ski goggles
  • Ski boots or snowboard boots 
  • GPS navigation device
  • Waterproof gloves or mittens  
  • Thermals 
  • Salopettes 
  • Ski jacket 
  • Ski socks 
  • Sunglasses 
  • Mid-layers or fleeces 
  • Waterproof ski jackets 
  • Wicking underwear 
  • Beanie hats 
  • Transceivers 
  • Neckwarmer 
  • Leg warmers
  • Backpack 
  • Travel insurance 
  • Water bottle or Camelbak 

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