I’ve never skied or snowboarded before. Which do I choose?
resort next to the piste, so it’s ‘‘ski-in ski-out’’ Euro style. They have great Euro-styled snack food, gluhwein (mulled wine), and beer plus amazing views of Lake Wakatipu.
Then it’s only 20 minutes down the hill to Queenstown and 20 different options, from watching Super rugby at the Lonestar to apres ski and rooftop drinks at the Attiqa, Sundeck or Surreal.
You almost can in Queenstown. It’s party central. But you don’t do it in your ski boots like in Europe. O¯ hakune has a great apres-ski culture, as does Methven.
Snedon: Do I stay at a hotel, club lodge or apartment? Coberger:
All three are good options, depending on family size and budget.
Queenstown is where the action is with world-class accommodation and eateries, as well as excellent backpackers and budget places to stay.
Arrowtown is 20 minutes from Queenstown, and Coronet Peak located at the other end on the Wakatipu Basin.
It’s a quieter scene but has amazing restaurants and bars, like Chop Shop, La Rumbla, and our local pub The Tap.
It really depends on your budget and lifestyle. Hotels are great if you dine out every night.
If you want to save some money and cook yourself, an apartment is great, or if you want to be with loads of other fun people, a lodge would work.
Snedon: What is the quality of snow like? Where do you find the best powder? Coberger:
Nearly all ski resorts in New Zealand have world-class European snow-making systems, which pretty much guarantee a fresh, velvety snow surface to ski and ride on every morning.
Serious powder hounds can book heli-skiing up and down the Southern Alps from Methven to the Southern Lakes.
Remember we are a subtropical island with a lot of coastline and we’re surrounded by a warm ocean. But we do actually get some great snow.
Again, I am probably a little biased, but heli-skiing really is the best fix for powder snow in New Zealand.
Skiing has been my life and passion for more than 80 winter ski seasons so...
Snowboarding is good if you have some new snow or soft snow and you are used to riding a skateboard or surfboard.
The first day on a snowboard is a faster learning curve, but then skiing takes over. Skiing is easier to learn these days due to snowboarding’s influence.
When snowboarding came out, ski manufactures realised they need to make skiing easy and more fun. So modern ski gear is easy to learn on. Whatever you do, don’t learn on old gear. Get some proper instruction and, to be honest, a ski holiday to Europe or North America will fasttrack your learning curve for either sport.
Why is this even a question? Why be a slave to gravity? You can access all areas on your skis and you won’t spend half your snow life hophop-hopping about on a board to get over a ridge for the downhill ride.
You can ski straight off the lifts, unless you’re waiting for your boarding buddies to sort out their bindings and freeze their bums off...
An Austrian snow sports school director once said to me, ‘‘It takes 10 seasons to become an expert skier; it takes one season to become an expert snowboarder.’’
So, if you’re in a hurry, then go buy a board, but if you want some flexibility in your snow sports, then go skiing – you can traverse the mountain with ease, skate from one place to another, even tour into the back-country one step after the other. Fatter skis mean it’s much easier to enjoy skiing in virtually any kind of snow type and they’re also pretty handy in the half-pipe.
But then, the same Austrian – a former ski racer – told me his son was riding a snowboard.
‘‘How are you with that?’’ I asked. ‘‘I’m fine with that,’’ he said. ‘‘He’s enjoying the mountain and he isn’t inside playing computer games.
‘‘Besides, I think riding a snowboard in powder snow must be as close to flying as you get without leaving the Earth.’’
He might have something there.
– Stuff and Traveller
Snowboarding is considered easier to get to grips with than skiing.