Young snowboarder standing on a snowy mountain in the sun, looking out over the surrounding mountains


How to pack for a NZ ski holiday

Published April 5th, 2018

If it’s your first time skiing, you’re in for a big treat. From the buzz of feeling the fresh mountain air rushing past your face as you fly down the mountainside, to the jaw-dropping mountain views, you’ll soon get hooked on the white stuff. But before you hit the slopes make sure you’re prepped for the trip and you’ll have a much more comfortable first time out in the snow.

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Hit the slopes in NZ.


What to Pack:


If it’s your first time, chances are you’ll be renting most of your ski equipment. Not to put you off, but skiing and boarding can actually get pretty sweaty, so the hire boots can be a little…… stinky! Make sure you pack lots of socks – think a thin pair and a thick pair for each day of skiing, as well as a fresh pair for each evening.


The second thing you’ll need to know is that you’ll be taking a few knocks on your way to the top! Using muscles you don't normally use, repeatedly pushing yourself up off the floor (snowboarders), and even taking the odd tumble or two - it’s all a normal part of the learning-to-ski process. Ease tired muscles by making sure you have some arnica packed away in your bag, some ibuprofen, and a small supply of epsom salts to soothe aching muscles in a warm bath at the end of the day.


Believe it or not, sunburn is a common problem on the mountains. The high altitude and the reflection off the bright snow all help with the old goggle marks. Protect your face (the rest of you will probably be covered up) with some zinc the same way you would surfing!


You’ll probably be hiring most of your ski gear, but make sure you’ve got some decent draft protection to keep the chills away from your chest with a decent neck warmer. The best kind is a fleece style loop that sits around your neck and can be pulled up over your chin for extra warmth.


The cold mountain air can take its toll on exposed lips and noses. Pack some lip balm (with SPF) and a packet of tissues to stash in your ski jacket.


Be prepared in case the high altitude and the windy mountain roads get the better of you (you’ll probably be driving for up to an hour each day). You’ll want to make sure you’re feeling up to apres ski!

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Other things to know:

New Zealand has very limited ski-in-ski-out European style on-mountain accommodation so the vast majority of ski resorts in New Zealand mean you’ll be staying in off-mountain towns such as Queenstown, Wanaka and Lake Tekapo.

Here’s where to stay for some of New Zealand’s best ski resorts:

The Remarkables - Stay in Queenstown Coronet Peak - Stay in Queenstown Cardrona - Stay in Wanaka or Queenstown Treble Cone - Stay in Wanaka Mt Hutt - Stay in Methven Mt Dobson - Stay in Lake Tekapo or Fairlie Roundhill - Stay in Lake Tekapo Whakapapa - Stay in Whakapapa Village or the nearby town of National Park (North Island) Turoa - Stay in Ohakune (North Island).

Amy Dalgleish

Wanderlust pommie, currently living the dream in sunny Byron Bay.