Ski Coronet Peak - the local's choice and the closest ski field to Queenstown.
Coronet Peak is the most developed ski area in the South Island. In 2008, it received a $30 million facelift and now features a bigger and more user-friendly base building, a bigger restaurant/cafe, more snowmaking facilities and even an airport style private lounge for members by invitation only. Even though it now looks more like a ski field you might expect to see in Europe or the US, Coronet Peak continues to be the locals' favourite.
The trails are spread across a broad mountain. There are many ways to get down Coronet through every type of terrain from a wide groomed run called M1, to mogul runs, to wide open back bowls. There is a huge beginners area with chairlift access, which copes with the biggest crowds (not that the crowds here are anything compared the lines found in the US!).
Cardrona Alpine Resort, Wanaka
Cardrona Alpine Resort is nestled into the incomparable mountains of New Zealand's South Island. Cardrona is perfectly sited to allow you the greatest choice in accommodation and apres ski activity. A spectacular 65 minute drive from the tourist centre of Queenstown brings you to the slopes of Cardrona from the south, while Wanaka is just 35 minutes to the north. You can stay on the mountain at Cardrona or at either of these great destinations.
Cardrona Alpine Resort has a relaxed and friendly feel and caters to skiiers and snowboarders of all levels and ages. With a reputable ski school and on-site early childhood centre, it's a family favorite. There are specialist slopes for beginners, heaps of wide open groomed slopes for intermediates, chutes for the advanced and an extensive park for freestylers.
Mount Hutt Ski Field - close to Christchurch with lots of off-piste and backcountry to explore.
Mount Hutt is the largest ski area in Canterbury and very accessible from Christchurch. It features a mixture of of man-made and natural snow on-piste as well as generous off-piste areas with wide open bowls, steeps and shutes. There is plenty of terrain for every level of skier at Mount Hutt.
The beginners have a large area in front of the base buildings. There are also wide, groomed runs spanning the length of the field as well as off-piste for intermediates and experts. The Towers and South Face offer plenty of varied terrain for the more advanced skier.
Conditions permitting, there is also back country skiing and snowboarding down North Peak with a helicopter pick up that drops skiers back to the car park.
The Remarkables ski field - New Zealand's most scenic ski field, minutes from Queenstown.
The Remarkables ski field is made up of three basins, two of which are lift accessed. Shadow Basin has open intermediate and advanced runs. Shadow Bowl and the Alta Chair have plenty of long, wide open beginner and intermediate runs. Shadow Basin and Sugar bowl are lift accessed and traversing from the Shadow Basin chairlift will get you to the off-piste steeps and shoots of Lake Alta.
There is also a long magic carpet taking you up from the car park to the base building, which is also used for beginner skiiers and boarders. Check out the large terrain park for the young and young at heart.
Treble Cone - A huge ski field on the South Island renowned for quality of snow.
Covering 550 hectares, it has more skiable terrain than any other ski or snowboard area in the South Island. With the longest vertical rise in the Southern Lakes and spectacular views over Lake Wanaka and Mount Aspiring, Treble Cone can claim some of the most exhilarating runs in the country.
It is however the snow quality that really sets Treble Cone apart. Renowned for dry powder and plenty of it, Treble Cone receives an average annual snowfall of 5.5 metres and has an average maximum snow depth of 3.25 metres. Its proximity to the Southern Alps means reliable snow conditions and weather, and its geography means it is protected from the bitterly cold southerly winds.
Spread over three large basins the mountain has trails to suit all ages and skill levels and the only high-speed, detachable 6-seater chairlift in the Southern Hemisphere. Great natural and man-made half pipes and terrain parks also make Treble Cone a mecca for snowboarders. Families are really looked after at Treble Cone with specially priced day passes, preferential parking right outside the base building and a junior ski school for threes and over called the 'TC Cat Club' with indoor and outdoor play options.
The season runs from late June to early October and extensive snowmaking ensures early season reliability. Daily transport is available from Wanaka and Queenstown (during season).