Best Skiing Spots In The South Island
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New Zealand’s annual ski season kicks off in mid-June, bringing hundreds of thousands of visitors to the Southern Alps for fun, fitness and fresh powder. So where exactly are the best spots for skiing? Whether you’re a beginner or a budding Olympian, a parent or a penny-pincher, we have a spot for you. We’ve even thrown in the spot with the best views and the best South Island heli-skiing experience to leave you counting down the days until you can hit the slopes.
Best for families
Our pick of the South Island ski fields for families is Cardrona, one of four popular fields located close to the busy hub of Queenstown. Cardrona offers group and private lessons for children with specially trained instructors for the littlies under five. Planning a full week of skiing? No worries, Cardrona’s four-day adventure programs run from Monday to Thursday. And if your children aren’t quite up for four full days on their feet, there is a fully licensed childcare centre on site for kids aged three months to five years.
Best for the budget
Mt Dobson is one of the less crowded ski fields in the South Island—but not for a lack of good skiing! With a great mix of prepared trails and off-piste trails (away from pre-prepared ski-runs) Mt Dobson offers fantastic variety. In 2020, a single-day adult lift-pass is just $90—or you can grab a season pass for an affordable $279. What’s to lose?! Just two hours and fifteen minutes from Christchurch by car, Mt Dobson is a great choice for those city-slickers who love to ski in the weekends.
As South Island scenic flight operators, we know a good view when we see one. Treble Cone’s stunning views over Lake Wanaka and the Southern Alps are a truly a sight for sore eyes. A little café overlooking the lake offers a welcome respite from the slopes. Stop off for a hot drink, rest your weary legs, soak in the scenery and take some happy snaps before you set off for another round.
The Craigieburn Valley ski area is popular with experienced skiers and is a non-profit, charitable organisation. Don’t count on any extras here – there are no chair lifts, hire shops or fancy restaurants—but the trade-off is some incredible terrain that can challenge even the most competent of skiers. A highlight is the 600m vertical descent and there are hiking and ski-touring opportunities here too.
Looking for something out of the ordinary? Try heli-skiing the phenomenal Tasman Glacier—the longest glacier in New Zealand. With True South and Alpine Guides, the Tasman Glacier experience offers the best heli-skiing in New Zealand. Breathtaking views? Check. A full day of adrenaline-filled skiing? Check. A complimentary picnic lunch? Of course! And you’ll be flying in style with comfortable and scenic flights to and from Queenstown and Mount Cook, courtesy of yours truly.