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All you need to know about skiing in New Zealand

Published June 6th, 2014

If you're unsure of where to go this winter, New Zealand's snowy ski fields are calling out for a visit. Downtown Queenstown and the surrounding mountains has already received a bumper snowfall in anticipation for the start of the official winter season on June 20 when the Queenstown Winter Festival kicks off.

The country's peaks are renowned as some of the best in the world for skiing and snowboarding. And, it’s good to know there are slopes available for all skill levels, making New Zealand a great place to learn or hone your skills. As well as its lush mountains, New Zealand has lots of natural beauty and city life to entertain visitors in the evenings or on down days. What are you waiting for? We've got heaps of great ski holiday package deals to get you to the powder pronto for the ultimate winter playground! Here's all you need to know about skiing in New Zealand.



When to go

New Zealand's ski fields generally open from June to October, or as long as the snow is still good. For 2014, the two earliest to open are Mount Hutt and Coronet Peak, which are both planning on letting visitors on the slopes from early June. August is high season for skiing, so book ahead if you hope to visit during this month.


Where to go

Although the North Island does have some ski fields, the best slopes tend to be in the south. Base yourself either in Christchurch or Queenstown for the biggest reach, with nine ski resorts close to these two cities. For beginners, the best resort is Mount Dobson, which has slopes for new starters as well as simple steps up for those who want to progress quickly. Want to take it to the next level? Try heli-skiing at Coronet Peak, hike Fox Glacier, skydive over snow-capped mountains or trap on your snowshoes to tackle the back country around Queenstown.



Where to party

If what you do after you've hung up your skis is just as important as what you do with them on, base yourself in Queenstown, Wanaka, Mount Hutt or Mount Ruapehu. Queenstown is famous for attracting adventure seekers as well as party lovers. You'll find there's plenty of activities and things to do - no matter what time of day, and the après-ski scene really goes off. For laidback vibes and hot pool action, check out Lake Tekapo.


How to get there

From Australia, you can fly directly to either Christchurch or Queenstown. We can also organise transfers to get you to your central accommodation, or alternatively arrange car hire so you can make your own way around once you get there. We can also sort lift passes and other must-haves!



What to bring

If you have your own ski or snowboard equipment, and don't mind paying the extra baggage fares, then taking your own gear with you is the best way to go. However, most slopes hire out equipment, so you should always be able to turn up with not much more than warm clothes and still be skiing in no time.

That said, we’d recommend packing some basics for your trip to the snow. A ski jacket and pants, layers to keep you warm, thick socks, thermals, gloves, ski googles, boots, a beanie, a scarf and sunscreen will come in handy. If you miss anything or don’t have the luggage allowance, again, you can always buy or hire them onsite.


Don't forget

Although it may seem like an unnecessary expense, and we hate to be a downer, travel insurance for a sport-based holiday is a must – especially if you're trying it out for the first time. Even for those who have skied or snowboarded before, there are always risks. All it takes is a distraction, or a bit of ice on the slope, and suddenly you're on your back in need of medical attention. When it comes to your health, you're better safe than sorry. Speak to us about travel insurance before you head to the slopes.


Student Flights' Guest Bloggers

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