Ski season: safety on the slopes
Hitting the slopes? Whether you're taking a ski holiday in Japan, New Zealand, Canada or Europe, here's how to ...KEEP READING
Picture-perfect peaks, powdery white snow, breathtaking vistas and welcoming Kiwis. Those are just some of the reasons people flock to New Zealand during ski season. Lucky for Aussies, we only have to hop on a short flight to hit some of the finest slopes in the world.
Here are the top spots for a great ski holiday in the Land of the Long White Cloud.
Situated in the Tongariro National Park, Mt Ruapehu is home to two fantastic ski areas. On the north-western slope of the volcano, the Whakapapa Ski Area encompasses a staggering 550 hectares, making it the country’s largest ski field. It’s also home to Happy Valley, a dedicated learning facility where rookie snowboarders and skiers can practise without getting in the way of the main fields.
However, Whakapapa isn’t just for beginners – it also boasts 30 intermediate trail and 24 black/black diamond advanced runs for those more confident on the snow.
Turoa is the mountain’s other ski area on the south-western slope. Like Whakapapa, it comprises a beginners’ area and 12 intermediate trails, but one of the biggest drawcards is undoubtedly the chairlift. You’ll descend over 700 metres on New Zealand’s highest chairlift, nicknamed the ‘Highnoon Express’, treating you to an incredible view of the mountain and the wider park area.
Looking for a challenge? The top-to-bottom snow conditions in the area called ‘The Triangle’ offers advanced skiers and boarders an epic journey through Glacier backcountry with its natural chutes and half-pipes.
Manganui Ski Area
You’ll find this club ski field just under an hour’s drive from New Plymouth in the Taranaki region, in the heart of the Mt Egmont National Park. Operated by Stratford Mountain Club on a volunteer basis, the Manganui Ski Area is a less commercial experience. There are no instruction courses or lessons hosted by the club, and you’ll need to hire any gear from locations in New Plymouth or Stratford.
With only 300-400 skiers populating the field on a busy day, Manganui is a great place to get away from the crowds. Access up the mountain is by rope tow, and if you fancy a bit of a challenge, you can hire one of the top-tow belts to take on the more advanced runs. With an average gradient of up to 30 degrees, these steeper slopes are a unique experience for strong skiers.
Approximately 1.5 hours’ drive from Christchurch, this resort offers a ski terrain for everyone. The beginner and the expert alike will feel right at home, with accommodation to suit everyone’s budget. The premium Lyndon Lodge, the standard Broken River Lodge and the cheap and cheerful White Star Chalet are a few of the options.
This is the resort for the snow sports purist. Pared back and no frills, you definitely won’t find any designer clad posers here. Rather Craigieburn, which is located 1.5 hours north-west of Christchurch, is filled with hardcore ski and snowboard enthusiasts. The main drawcard for Craigieburn is the powder on the slopes.
Renowned for its great nightlife and adventure sports, Queenstown also happens to have quality snow resorts nearby. Coronet Peak and The Remarkables are a couple of the more popular resorts, both within 45 minutes of Queenstown. As the ski day ends, the ‘apres-ski’ night begins and goes well into the wee hours of the morning. The abundance of bars, restaurants and nightclubs ensures there’s never a dull moment in Queenstown.
First timers and newbies flock to Mt Dobson for its relaxed and laid back atmosphere. Unlike many other resorts in New Zealand, Mt Dobson isn’t run by a snow club. Rather it’s a commercial ski resort. What does that mean for you? Well, it means it’s much easier on your wallet. It also means there are little creature comforts like chairlifts (and not those surface lifts aka ropetows) that take you to the top of the hill.
Just under 2 hours’ drive from Christchurch, Mt Hutt is an award-winning ski resort with some wide open terrain and 365 hectares of skiable snow. The area gets up to 4 metres of snowfall each season, and despite changeable conditions boasts more open days than many other resorts.
There are four freestyle parks for you to bust your sickest moves, and a 2 km run to enjoy. Beginners can also take advantage of the ski school high in the picturesque Southern Alps.
Thinking of hitting the powder on a New Zealand skiing holiday?
You wouldn’t hit the slopes without a helmet, so why go on holiday without insurance? If you’re planning on going skiing or snowboarding, bear in mind that you’ll need to opt for our Snow Sports and Activities Option when you take out travel insurance, as our standard policy doesn’t cover these activities.
For more information, contact our expert team today.
Ash Zaman from Travel Insurance Direct joined Suzy Yates to discuss your rights when airlines cancel on ...KEEP READING