Hit the powder running Lorna Thornber
And Traveller look at when and where to go for the best ski, snowboard and apres ski action.
is the season for sub-zero temperatures and bonechilling southerly blasts and for many it’s the most wonderful time of the year.
And, really, when you live in a mountainous land that looks like it was tailor-made by the god of skiing and snowboarding, why wouldn’t it be?
Whether you’re a seasoned powder hound, keen to check out New Zealand’s world-renowned slopes for the first time or just like the idea of chilling in an alpine bar with a glass of mulled wine or schnapps, the country can deliver. In snow-heaped spades.
Here, three experienced snow travellers offer some advice on making the most of the 2018
has coached three national Winter Olympic teams (New Zealand, Australia and Britain) in his nearly three decades as a professional ski coach. For the past two years he has coached the New Zealand national men’s team as well as working as head coach of the Coberger Academy, based at Coronet Peak. He also happens to be a brother of Annelise Coberger, who became the first person from the Southern Hemisphere to win a medal at the Winter Olympics when she took out the silver in slalom skiing in 1992.
has skied fulltime for more than 40 winters, which have included 10 years living and working on Mt Ruapehu, and 20 years in the ski industry in Wanaka.
An internationally qualified ski and climbing guide, he is the chief guide for Harris Mountains Heli-Ski. He takes people skiing in Antarctica, Greenland, and Northern India, as well as New Zealand, and writes about his adventures on the snow on his website kiwiskiguide.com.
started skiing in lace-up boots before he was tall enough to reach the rope tow (yes, a
Mark Sedon Jim Darby
long time ago). He stuck at it and has worked in the mountains as a ski lift operator, instructor and patroller.
As an Australia-based ski writer, he’s skied all Australia’s areas and many in New Zealand, North America, Europe, and Japan. He also enjoys ski touring and recently gave that a try in Antarctica.
When’s the best time during the New Zealand season to take a snow holiday? Coberger:
I think mid-August is the best time of the year to hit the slopes.
The weather is settled, the days are getting longer and the snow is at its best.
My suggestion for the South Island is from the start of the fourth week of July to the end of the first week of September. Later for the North Island.
North Island versus South Island: Where in New Zealand is best for skiing and snowboarding?
Coberger: Queenstown has the best all-round package for a winter skiing/ snowboarding holiday getaway.
The North Island has the best corn skiing on the globe, full stop. It’s outrageous. It really is so good. The South Island has a shorter winter but has more skiing options. Club fields are a great Kiwi ski experience.
In an ideal world you’d not decide where to go until the last minute, then pick the one with the best snow and weather forecast.
Snedon: Where do we go for our first family holiday in the snow? Coberger:
Cardrona has a great setup for a first-time family snow adventure.
Happy Valley on a sunny day (Whakapapa) or Cardrona. Perfect steepness. Treble Cone has free skiing for beginners. I would not go to the club fields to learn, you need groomed slopes.
Snedon: I want to ski but my partner is not interested. Where do we go? Coberger:
The Remarkables. It’s only 45 minutes from Queenstown. There’s great skiing and an amazing new base building to watch all the action from.
The trip up to the Remarkables is amazing – the views looking back at the Southern Alps are just like in Europe.
Wanaka is perfect (although I may be biased). Nonskiers can play golf, ride bikes, sip coffees, or go on a wine tour.
Rule No 1: you are not the priority, your enjoyment is assured on the mountain, but only if the other half is happy. So work out what they want from the holiday and work your way forward from there.
For urban pleasures in a mountain environment, get yourselves to Queenstown or Wanaka where the assortment of shops, bars and restaurants is big enough and broad enough to keep them interested for days.
On top of that you have cinemas, some quirky museums and galleries, lake cruises, and nearby attractions such as wineries.
Darby: I love the apres-ski culture in Europe. Can you really get that here? Coberger:
Coronet Peak has the Ice Bar situated in the middle of the
Modern skis are much easier to learn on than old-fashioned types.
On top of the world (or Mt Hutt, at least).