Queenstown Ski ski resort
About Queenstown Ski
Queenstown is probably best known as the home of adrenaline activities, but come winter, it transforms into a full-on ski town. Skiers here will meet Kiwis on their 10th season, Queenslanders who’ve never seen snow, and British and South American backpackers on their round-the-world trips.
Most visitors stick to the two closest ski fields: Coronet Peak and The Remarkables, which are under the same management. But it’s not too far to Cardrona, while Treble Cone and Snow Park NZ (a giant terrain park) are within reach too.
For most of the winter, Queenstown sits below the snow line, so while skiers are carving through the snow up in the mountains, they’ll also be looking down at the green valley below. The vertical may not match that of resorts in the Alps or North America, but there’s still plenty of fun to be had, especially on a powder day.
One of the best times to visit is during the Queenstown Winter Festival, which takes place annually at the end of June – just as the ski season is kicking off.
Queenstown is located on the shores of Lake Wakatipu in the Southern Alps, within the Otago province of New Zealand’s South Island. The nearest ski areas, Coronet Peak and The Remarkables, are situated 18km (11 miles) and 26km (16 miles) from town respectively.
On the slopes
The ski season in Coronet Peak usually starts before that of The Remarkables resort, running from early June until early October as opposed to late June until mid-October.
Coronet Peak has had a complete makeover in the last couple of years. A recently built NZ$32m base lodge is one of the best in the world and compliments one of the Southern Hemisphere’s most extensive automated snowmaking systems, made up of more than 200 snow guns covering all trails on the mountain.
There’s a nicely graded beginners’ area at the base, served by three carpet conveyor lifts. An express quad chairlift takes skiers and boarders to the top of the M1 run – a 2.4km (1.5-mile) blue trail popular with intermediates. Advanced skiers, meanwhile, can drop into the more challenging back bowls.
Across the valley, north-facing The Remarkables is a great place to learn to ski. The beginners’ area is separate from the main slopes, beneath the day lodge, with three easy-to-ride magic carpet lifts.
The Sugar Bowl is a popular hangout for intermediates and snowboarders, with its blue runs, super-pipe and three terrain parks, including the Southern Hemisphere’s only Burton Stash park (a natural terrain park maintained by hand rather than machine). Advanced skiers and riders can hike from the Shadow chairlift to some great chutes.