New Zealand Ski Fields

Ski and Snowboard in New Zealand

Article submitted by holidayLOVER

May 6th, 2007

New Zealand is a southern winter paradise for ski and snowboard lovers. From the North Island resorts of Whakapapa and Turoa on the slopes of Mt Ruapehu, to Cardrona and Coronet Peak near Queenstown, NZ is home to numerous ski fields on both of the main islands that form Aotearoa.

Below is a list of the major ski fields (and some of the minor) from North to South.

North Island Ski Fields

Whakapapa Ski Area
25% Beginner, 50% Intermediate, 25% Advanced
On the north-western slopes of Mt Ruapehu, Whakapapa is New Zealand's largest developed ski area.

Turoa Ski Area
25% Beginner, 50% Intermediate, 25% Advanced
The highest ski field in New Zealand, Turoa on Mt Ruapehu, offers a variety of terrain to suit all levels and is an excellent family field.

Whakapapa has joined with nearby Turoa ski field to become one commercial entity known as Mt Ruapehu. Shuttle buses run between the fields and you can enjoy the two resorts on the one daily/season pass.

65% Beginners, 30% Intermediate and 5% Advanced
Day visitors are welcome at this friendly club field, nestled on the eastern slopes of Mt Ruapehu. This is a small field that is well worth a visit. You can also opt for a ski & stay package, for on-mountain accommodation.

5% Beginner, 30% Intermediate and 65% Advanced
A unique club field on Mount Taranaki. The lower field is accessed with a T-bar and the upper slopes, which are considerably steeper, are accessed with the nutcracker.

South Island Ski Fields

Rainbow Ski Area
25% Beginner, 55% Intermediate and 20% Advanced
Rainbow is the only commercial ski field in Nelson/Marlborough. Accommodation can be found for all budgets at St Arnaud, which is only 32 km away.

Mt Lyford
30% Beginner, 40% Intermediate and 30% Advanced
A nice all round field, that is close to Kaikoura and Hamner Springs. It is also only 1 1/2 hours drive from Christchurch. It has a terrain park for snowboarders and freestyle skiers. Accommmodation is available at the bottom of the mountain in the log chalets.

Hanmer Springs
10% Beginner, 60% Intermediate and 30% Advanced
A club field close to the thermal resort town of Hamner Springs. It is not a big field but it is made up of three basins and thus has a variety of terrain which has something for everyone.

Temple Basin
5% Beginner, 50% Intermediate and 25% Advanced
Temple Basin Ski Area is a club field that covers a great variety of terrain, spread over four separate basins. Cars are parked at the bottom and then a walk uphill taking 45 minutes, in good conditions, is required to reach the field. The best option is to stay at least one night. This field attracts a good bunch of people which are friendly and down to earth.

0% Beginner, 55% Intermediate, 45% Advanced
This club field is located right in the heart of the Southern Alps. Accommodation can be booked to stay on the field and sleeps up to 65 people. The mountain is accessed through 3 rope tows.

Broken River
15% Beginner, 50% Intermediate, 35% Advanced
Broken River is a club field that also offers accommodation on the field. There are 5 rope tows.

From Broken River, only a short walk offers access to the back basins and Craigieburn Valley, these areas offer some incredible terrain suited to more advanced skiers and snowboarders & lift passes are inter-changeable between Broken River & Craigieburn.

Mt Cheeseman
15% Beginners, 50% Intermediate and 35% Advanced
Mount Cheeseman is the second closest ski area to Christchurch. It's got a great laid back feel that you would expect of a club field and accommodation on the field is available. It has 2 T-bars and a rope tow.

Porter Heights
20% Beginner, 40% Intermediate and 40% Advanced
Porter Heights is the closest ski are to Christchurch. Lifts comprise 3 T-Bars, 1 platter and 1 grip tow. Porter Heights Alpine Lodge is situated just 5 minutes below the ski area car park.

Mt Olympus
10% Beginner, 55% Intermediate and 35% Advanced
Mt Olympus is a club field with 3 rope tows and a beginners tow. There's accommodation on field and this field is famous for trapping the powder snow.

Mt Hutt
25% Beginner, Intermediate 50%, Advanced 25%
Mt Hutt typically enjoys one of the longest ski seasons in the Southern Hemisphere lasting from early June to late October. It is a great family field, with a lot of different terrain to satisfy the family. Mt Hutt has 1 High Speed 6 Seater, 1 Quad Chair, 1 Triple Chair, and 1 Magic Carpet. Mt. Hutt is just over an hour’s drive from Christchurch and a 35-minute drive from Methven.

Mt Potts
Mt Potts backcountry ski field and lodge offers superb skiing and snowboarding on virgin powder slopes that can only be accessed by helicopter and snow cat.

Fox Peak
15% Beginner, 60% Intermediate, 25% Advanced
Fox Peak is NZ's oldest club field and only 36 kms from Fairlie. There's accommodation on field at Fox Lodge.

Mount Dobson
25% Beginner, 50% Intermediate, 25% Advanced
Only 40 mins from Lake Tekapo is Mount Dobson. Mount Dobson is serviced by a triple chairlift, T-bar, platter, and rope tow.

Round Hill
20% Beginner, 80% Intermediate
The field is great for families with gentle gradients it is very safe for first timers.. They offer toboggans for hire and 2007 also sees the field offering a terrain park.

20% Beginner, 50% Intermediate and 30% Advanced
Ohau is serviced by a double chairlift, a platter and a snow mat. Ohau tends to get great powder and is famous for being uncrowded.

Treble Cone
15% Beginner, 45% Intermediate and 40% Advanced
Only 26kms from Wanaka is Treble Cone. Treble Cone is serviced by 6 seater express chairlift, quad chairlift, nice & easy platter, magic carpet. While Treble Cone offers more intermediate and advanced terrain than any other South island ski area, it also has plenty of groomed green and blue runs, plus a terrain park.

Snow Park NZ
Snow Park NZ is a freestyle mecca for snowboarders and skiers. Featuring two superpipes, a quarterpipe, big kickers, 40+ rails, hits and jumps and more. Snow Park NZ is serviced by a quad chairlift and has accommodation on the field.

Snow Farm
Snow Farm offers over 50kms of expertly groomed trails to a professional standard for your cross country skiing pleasure. There is also a tubing park and accommodation is available on the field.

Cardrona Alpine Resort
25% Beginner, 55% Intermediate and 20% Advanced
Cardrona Alpine Resort, one of New Zealand’s leading ski areas is conveniently located between Lake Wanaka and Queenstown. A great family field and there is accommodation on the ski field. Access is provided by 2 quad chairs, 1 double chair, 3 magic carpets and 1 platter lift for learners.

Coronet Peak
20% Beginners, 45% Intermediates, 35% Advanced
Coronet Peak is a popular field, and is just a short 25-minute (18km) drive along a fully sealed road from Queenstown. 280 skiable hectares accessed by a six seater express chair, an express quad, a double chair, a t-bar, magic carpet and beginner tow.

The Remarkables
30% Beginners, 40% Intermediates, 30% Advanced
The Remarkables is renowned for its friendly atmosphere and great value for families. Three quad chairs, one magic carpet and one beginner tow offer access to the trails and parks. There is a terrain park, superpipe and a tubing park.The Remarkables is a 45-minute drive from Queenstown.

Melissa Evans
Melissa Evans

Melissa Evans lives in Sunny Nelson, New Zealand. She divides her time between being Creative Director at SunRoom Web Design Nelson, writing for KiwiWise and being a Mum to Sophia & Nicky. In her spare time she loves to travel, illustrate and read.

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  • holidayLOVER posted on June 5th, 2011
    Overall Rating: 10.0 / 10

    Below are the predicted opening dates for the majority of the ski fields in 2011 (if conditions are favourable so keep an eye on their websites)

    Whakapapa -2nd July
    Turoa -25th June
    Manganui -awaiting date (check their websites for updates)
    Rainbow -2nd July
    Lyford -awaiting date (check their websites for updates)
    Hanmer -awaiting date (check their websites for updates)
    Temple -2nd July
    Craigieburn -2nd July
    Porters -24th June
    Cheeseman -awaiting date (check their websites for updates)
    Mt Hutt -11th June
    Dobson -1awaiting date (check their websites for updates)
    Roundhill -39th July
    Ohau -25th June
    Treble Cone -23rd June
    Snow Park -11th June
    Cardrona -24th June
    Coronet Peak -(scheduled opening delayed due to warm weather)
    Remarkables -18th June

  • holidayLOVER posted on June 1st, 2010
    Overall Rating: 10.0 / 10

    Below are the predicted opening dates for the majority of the ski fields in 2010 (if conditions are favourable so keep an eye on their websites)

    Whakapapa -26th June
    Turoa -19th June
    Manganui -awaiting 1 good dump (check their websites for updates)
    Rainbow -3 July
    Lyford -June (no date posted yet)
    Hanmer -3rd July
    Temple -4th July
    Craigieburn -July (no date posted yet)
    Cheeseman -3rd July
    Mt Hutt -12th June
    Dobson -1st July (although website states "sooner if we can")
    Roundhill -3rd July
    Ohau -26th June
    Treble Cone -24th June
    Snow Park -26th June
    Cardrona -25th June
    Coronet Peak - 5th June
    Remarkables -19th June

  • holidayLOVER posted on May 25th, 2009
    Overall Rating: 10.0 / 10

    All that cold weather we have been experiencing has been producing a lot of snow. Many of our famous slopes are looking at opening early this year. Manganui in Taranaki was the first ski field in New Zealand to open for 2009, with opening on May 12th. Below are the predicted opening dates for the majority of the ski fields in 2009 (if conditions are favourable so keep an eye on their websites)

    Whakapapa -June 27th
    Turoa -June 20th
    Manganui -Already Open 12th May
    Rainbow -4th July
    Hanmer -4th July
    Craigieburn -11th July
    Cheeseman -4th July
    Mt Hutt -EARLY OPENING 30th May
    Dobson -13th June
    Roundhill -4th July
    Treble Cone -27th June
    Snow Park -4th July
    Cardrona -26th June
    Coronet Peak - 7th June
    Remarkables -21st june

  • holidayLOVER posted on May 21st, 2008
    Overall Rating: 10.0 / 10

    The weather is getting cooler and the 2008 ski season is almost here. Below is a list of the scheduled opening dates for most of the fields in 2008...(some ski fields could open earlier if conditions are favourable so keep an eye on their websites)

    Mt Ruapehu (Whakapapa & Turoa) -June 14th
    Tukino -July 5th
    Rainbow -July 5th
    Lyford -June 27th
    Hanmer -July 5th
    Temple Basin -July 12th
    Broken River -July 5th
    Cheeseman -July 4th
    Porters -June 26th
    Mt Hutt -June 14th
    Dobson -July 4th
    Ohau -June 28th
    Treble Cone -June 30th
    Snow Park -June 13th
    Cardrona -June 27th
    Coronet -June 7th
    Remarkables -June 21st