Skiing and Snowboarding in New Zealand

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Helen Winter

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Written by: Helen Winter

Skiing and snowboarding usually stir thoughts of Swiss mountains, but the amazing rocky, high-altitude landscapes of New Zealand make the country an ideal destination for hitting the slopes.

Running from June to October, New Zealand’s ski season sees mountains come alive with skiers and snowboarders heading to the hills. So once you’ve done your bungee jump and sky dive, head to the snow-capped peaks to try something different.

For beginners

Snowboarding down an active volcano may not sound like something for beginners, but Mount Ruapehu in Tongariro National park offers perfect slopes for skiers and snowboarders lacking in confidence.

Every beginner will be pointed to the ‘Happy Valley’ at Whakapap. Here, amateurs can practice their balance and improve their techniques down wide slopes.

Tekapo is another great spot for boarders and skiers who are trying to find their feet without getting in the way of the speedy regulars. This resort in the South Island is a lot quieter, which offers a stress-free introduction into this epic winter sport, allowing you to take your time and face plant the snow as much as you like without feeling too embarrassed.

There is also the Roundhill area which offers wide, easy going slopes as well as awesome views over Mount Cook and Lake Tekapo. Mount Dobson is home to the largest learner area in New Zealand, so with all this on offer you’re guaranteed to come home with an extra skill ticked off your bucket list.

For intermediates

Cardrona Alpine Resort is an easy drive from Queenstown, and is the ideal resort for the good-but-not-quite-there skiers or snowboarders.

At this resort there are a range of different terrains spread across three main valleys, with its longest run stretching across 4km. The Cardrona Park is home to two half pipes and four terrain parks, and if you’d like to learn how to master some snowy obstacles you can have training at the High Performance Centre.

Ladies, if you’re feeling really brave, then a day snowboarding or skiing here wouldn’t complete without contributing to the Cardrona Bra Fence. Yep, at the bottom of the mountain there is a fence covered in women’s bras, which any woman of any…erm, size, can donate their boulder holders.

For experts

Home to the longest vertical rise in the Southern Lakes, Treble Cone is the perfect place for advanced skiers and snowboarders. The height of the Treble Cone also offers stunning views over Lake Wanaka, although snowboarders may struggle to see it when they’re whizzing past at 50 mph.

For the most adventurous backpackers, heli-skiing in New Zealand should not be missed. This great twist involves being taken to the tallest peaks by helicopter, before being dropped off to ski down steep slopes, where your helicopter will be waiting at the bottom to take you back up again.

Check out our Volcano Surfing and Southern Skiing package, which includes skiing and snowboarding in New Zealand in one epic round the world trip.

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