How To Ski Queenstown Like A Local June 17, 2019
Queenstown is famous for its epic scenery and world class ski slopes. No matter the time of year, there’s always a reason to visit Queenstown, but to see it in its prime is to see it in Winter. If you’re looking to head to Queenstown this winter for some Kiwi pow, we’ve got your ultimate guide to skiing right here.
Keep reading for our top tips when skiing in Queenstown this winter!
Where to ski in Queenstown
Skiing at Coronet Peak
The beauty of Coronet Peak – apart from that iconic natural beauty of course – is that Coronet Peak caters for all abilities. There’s a large novice area with a separate beginners’ trail. Whilst the more experienced skiers and snowboarders can enjoy a wide range of terrain, from wide groomed trails to steep off-piste runs, moguls and open bowls. Their Skiwiland Early Learning Center caters to kids ages 3 months to 5 years, and kiddies 6 and under get free day lift passes all day everyday.
Ski pass prices at Coronet Peak
Lift passes start at $69 for a day, or $49 for an afternoon pass. If you’re in Queenstown for a week or more, then it’s worth considering their 3 Peak Season Pass which will get you access to Coronet Peak, The Remarkables, and Mt Hutt.
Getting to Coronet Peak
Coronet Peak run a four wheel drive ski bus, covering both Coronet Peak and The Remarkables ski areas. There are two daily bus services during ski season, and also hotel pick ups (bookings required!)
As the closest ski field to Queenstown, only 16 kilometres away, driving can be rather convenient. If you choose to drive, you must carry chains! The mountain roads can get icy, particular in the peak of winter. You can take a two-wheel drive up the road, but if you have four-wheel drive, we’d suggest you opt for that.
Ski lifts and trail map for Coronet Peak, Queenstown
There’s a detailed trail map on the Coronet Peak website, or you can collect a pamphlet copy from one of the many ski shops around town.
Affectionately known to locals as “The Remarks” the mountains were named The Remarkables allegedly because they are one of only two mountain ranges in the world which run directly north to south. Plus, obviously, they’re simply remarkable to look at! This stunning ski area is just a short 40 minute drive from downtown Queenstown and has new lifts bringing the skiable terrain to 265.5 hectares. With plenty of learners’ space, one of the region’s best loved terrain park setups and great off-trail skiing and riding, this ski field is on every skier’s must-do list. With 1,943 metres of elevation and 357 metres of vertical, there’s no shortage of views at The Remarks.
Ski pass price for The Remarkables
Grab a lift pass from $69 and adding a skiing or snowboarding lesson takes it up to $115. If you’re going to be in Queenstown for a while, then it’s definitely worth grabbing a 3 Peak pass that will take you to The Remarkables, Coronet Peak, and Mt Hutt from $899. They offer a Sightseeing pass too, which is great for the non-skiers of the group. Sightseeing is available from 9am, with last chair at 3pm (weather dependent). Appropriate hiking footwear is required, which can be hired on-mountain. You can purchase a sightseeing pass at the Snow Centre or at Guest Services on mountain.
Getting to The Remarkables
The Remarkables Ski Area is 45 minutes from central Queenstown, and you can either drive or catch a bus.
Get the ski bus from the Snow Centre on Duke St in Central Queenstown, or request a bus to stop at your hotel in town. Make sure you organise and book in advance!
Only 24 kilometres from Queenstown, it’s just a short drive to the ski area. And again, be sure to carry chains for your tyres. Driving a four-wheel drive is most definitely your best and safest option here! The Remarkables website has some great info for getting to and from The Remarks.
Remarkables Ski Lifts and trail Map
The Remarkables offers 7 different parks, catering to beginner, intermediate and advanced athletes. There’s fun for everyone at The Remarks! Check out their trail map online.
What are the best months for skiing in Queenstown?
Each year from June onwards, Queenstown turns into a winter wonderland with an influx of visitors both domestic and international.
There are four main ski areas, all within 20-90 minutes drive of downtown Queenstown. Across the four fields, there’s something for everyone – from beginner to expert, Queenstown has it all.
The approximate opening dates for the ski fields in 2019 are:
- Cardrona – 16th June – October 14th
- Coronet Peak – 16th June – October 7th
- The Remarkables – 9th June – October 7th
- Treble Cone – 28th June – September 23rd
For accurate dates, you can check the ski field’s website closer to the time!
Where do I hire ski gear in Queenstown?
Buying ski gear can be expensive, especially if you aren’t planning on making this a regular activity, so ski gear rentals are a great alternative.
On mountain rentals
There are rental shops at all of the fields, but to save yourself time (and queues!), consider hiring in Queenstown before you hit the road. You can generally hire gear for multiple days, so sort yourself on day one and you’ll be set to go for the rest of your trip!
Ski gear hire in Queenstown
There are plenty of ski rental shops in Queenstown, so you can be fully prepared before traipsing up the mountain. If you’re staying at a hotel in the township, they’ll be able to point you in the direction of your nearest hire store. Otherwise, a short walk around the block will reveal several stores – take your pick!
For a list of ski hire and snowboard hire places in Queenstown check out the Queenstown website.
Tips for when you’re hiring ski and snowboard gear
Hiring ski gear is just like hiring a car – it comes with all the basics, but there are a few things you can do to ‘pimp my ride’:
- Sports Socks: wear single layer sports socks that run higher than the top of your ski/snowboarding boots.
- Cotton: avoid socks with a high cotton content or ribbing as they tend to irritate the skin
- Avoid chafing: by keeping extra clothing, like pant legs, outside, the top of your boots
- Layer Up: you might be cold getting dressed in the morning, but after a day cruising round the mountain you’ll get toasty. Wearing layers means you can easily adjust to temperature changes.
Queenstown Snow Forecasts
Before you leave the comfort of your warm accommodation, take some time to prepare yourself for the snow day ahead. Check the snow forecast, the weather forecast and the road reports before heading out for the day. The NZ alpine climate is rather changeable.
Metservice reports for Queenstown region
New Zealand’s meteorological service has the full range of ski and weather reports. There’s even a weather app! You can look at the local weather report for Queenstown itself, or the specific ski field areas you’re wanting to access.
Keeping it old school – radio never fails. You can get a range of the national radio stations and syndications by browsing the frequencies. They all offer local weather reports.
The ski fields and Queenstown township Facebook pages have regular ski reports, videos, and webcams. So, if you’re planning to visit a particular location then browse their social media for on-location updates. A particularly handy feature if you’re tossing up heading to the spa for a rest day, or venturing up the mountain again.
Night skiing in Queenstown
There’s night skiing at Coronet Peak every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday night from late June to early September 2019. As the only Queenstown ski field offering night skis, don’t miss out and grab your pass early.
Queenstown Events Calendar 2019
Queenstown Winter Festival
Founded in 1975, this annual festival started out as a few community events, and soon grew into a must-do event for many Kiwis. The town celebrates winter’s arrival with events on the mountain, on (and in) the water, and around the Queenstown CBD. Fan favourite events include live music, a winter quiz night, a tug-o-war on skis, a dog derby and dog barking competition, and more! Check out the 2019 event calendar here.
The annual Winter Games are held in Queenstown and includes some of the world’s most talented snow sport athletes, across a range of sports, such as:
- free skiing
- alpine skiing
- cross-country skiing
Winter Pride is a festival in Queenstown that celebrates love, community, diversity, visibility and inclusion. It’s a festival that encourages locals and visitors to come together and celebrate their diversity. Gay Ski Week QT started in 2012, and now it has transformed into the largest gay pride festival in the Southern Hemisphere. There are a range of events, both on mountain and off mountain, including; live music and performances, workshops, speed dating, games nights, cruises, lunches and more. Check out the festival schedule on the website.
AJ Hackett Bungy’s top tips to enjoy the slopes
Wrap up warm – nothing worse than freezing toes!
The New Zealand climate is unpredictable at the best of times – there’s a reason we have that saying “four seasons in one day”. Be prepared, and layer up.
Keep safety top of mind
Protect your lid (wear a helmet)
Our ski slopes are famous for their views, but also their hidden rocky outcrops and surprise ice. Protect your head, especially if you’re a learner or new to the ski area.
Look before you leap
Always scope the area before you make the jump… Or you could always try Bungy jumping, we do the scoping for you 😉
First time hitting the slopes? Book a lesson
Winter is a busy time for ski instructors, so be sure to book a spot in advance!
- Coronet Peak Group Lessons: These start from $115 – group lessons are a great way to meet some other first-time skiers. You could consider signing up for a half day and putting your new skills to the test after lunch.
- Coronet Peak Private Lessons: Want some one-on-one training? Take a private lesson, you can find details on pricing and book online.
- The Remarkables Group Lessons: Pricing for Adults starts at $115. Lessons can be in the morning or afternoon – starting around 10am or 2pm.
- The Remarkables Private Lessons: Accelerate your learning with a private ski or snow boarding lesson. Lessons on offer are 3 hours or a full day.
What if the mountain is closed?
Come Bungy Jumping! If you’re heading to Queenstown and are stuck for something to do one day, we have the perfect solution. We’ve got three incredible bungies in Queenstown – Kawarau Bridge, The Nevis and The Ledge – AKA. the perfect, adrenaline-seeking alternatives to spending a day on the slopes. To find out more about Bungy in Queenstown, we’ve got a page dedicated to the cause!
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