Hit the pow­der run­ning Lorna Thorn­ber

And Trav­eller look at when and where to go for the best ski, snow­board and apres ski ac­tion.

Sunday Star-Times - - TRAVEL -

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


Nils Coberger

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).

Nils Coberger

Mark Se­don

Jim Darby

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