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Where to ski in South NZ?

Discussion in 'New Zealand' started by youwishjellyfish, Feb 6, 2012.

  1. youwishjellyfish

    youwishjellyfish First Runs

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    I have recently come back from a trip to the very powdery Niseko, my very first time skiing, where within a week I was on red and some black runs. That gives you some idea of my ski level and what I am used to. My partner is an intermediate boarder who enjoys going off piste a bit (nothing too challenging) but not terrain parks.

    We are thinking about a trip to NZ in late July or early August (outside of school holidays) and would like some advice on where to go. The general Queenstown area sounds good, or Lake Wanaka, but like I said we're not interested in terrain parks. We aren't fussed on nightlife or other activities, just good snow/terrain which isn't too easy but also not too challenging. Any advice on where to go for our ability levels would be awesome [​IMG]
     
    #1 youwishjellyfish, Feb 6, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 12, 2013
  2. skiflat

    skiflat Old n' Crusty

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    Queenstown

    Remarkables
     
  3. skiflat

    skiflat Old n' Crusty

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    PS: Welcome to the Forums [​IMG]
     
    #3 skiflat, Feb 6, 2012
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  4. Toto Warmlet

    Toto Warmlet One of Us

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    Thanks for getting the two islands thing right YWJF.
    Winning Lotto will be almost up there with scoring similar conditions to Japan over here.
    August could be your lucky month.
    ?Mt Hutt....it has zero rope tows.
     
  5. ODNT

    ODNT Part of the Furniture

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    within a week, red then black. mmmm
     
  6. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    It is a little difficult to gauge your true ability as ODNT has implied based on 'reds' and 'blacks' at Niseko. I guess you were mostly on the prepared runs with some power on top? There is will generally be somewhat more predictable. NZ in general will be a bit more variable so a black there (no reds) will be more difficult than one in Niseko. The snow falls will not be as reguar, there will be more wind effect, thaw / freeze, more traffic.

    Queenstown with Coronet & Remarks would be a good combo and Cardrona is also accessible though that would be less challenging.
    Then there is Wanaka, but I suspect Treble Cone may a bit too challenging - there is a large amount of terrain which is unprepared.

    If you don't care about nightlife Ohau could be a good option - more out of the way so less crowded.

    Then there is Methven & Mt Hutt - beware though it can suffer a bit from high winds.

    You could consider a rental car and checking out a number of these over 2 weeks. Note though that NZ mountain roads are quite a bit more challenging than those in Japan.
     
  7. youwishjellyfish

    youwishjellyfish First Runs

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    Thank you all for your responses and for the welcome [​IMG]

    I know I have been spoilt by the Japan snow!!

    To respond to ODNT, I can completely understand your sentiment with your comment, but not initially wanting to write an essay in my first post, I did not explain that I understand the powder and terrain in Niseko means that black runs there would be substantially easier than ones in Australia or NZ. I understand Heinz, this is what you are getting at. Having spoken to my instructors in Niseko (I took daily lessons for 6 days), they said I was an "intermediate" skiier, and they were extremely surprised by my fast progress - but yes, most of my runs were groomed with fresh powder, with only one marbled day (which was a lot more challenging). I hope that gives a clearer view of my ability.

    Thanks particularly to Heinz for all your detailed suggestions. I don't think we'd want to be driving ourselves though on icy roads, but otherwise your suggestions sound great!

    It is a pity I waited until my late 20s to try skiing, but now I've tried it, I can't wait to do it again! [​IMG]
     
    #7 youwishjellyfish, Feb 7, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 12, 2013
  8. K@os

    K@os A Local

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    I'd agree with Heinz pretty much. Queenstown offers 2 resorts that are very close by. Remarks will be great if the whole resort is open. If the shadow chair is closed though terrain is pretty limited. CP can get busy but has some interesting terrain which is great when the snow is on.

    Cardrona is great for intermediates and beginners, it has a lot of wide beginner terrain, which will probably suit your gf. The rest is pretty much Blue with a few blacks thrown in, though these arent super-challenging and there are a couple of nice groomed blacks which make a good intro into some steeper stuff. I'd recommend getting lessons here simply because of the large amount of terrain and friendly green, blue and black runs. If you feel up to hitting up some ungroomed blacks you can always give the chutes around the poweder bowl a go. Awesome food here too. At least do 1 or 2 days at Cardies IMHO if you are beginner to intermediate. The road up is an impressive drive from QT as it takes you over Crown Range Road, which is the highest public road in NZ. It can get icey through the valley so best to do this in clear weather only. Coming from Wanaka isnt so bad.

    If you are going for a couple of weeks I'd recommend splitting your time between Wanaka and QT - maybe spend a few days in Wanaka and hit up Cardies, then head to QT and ski Remarks or CP. This gives you the chance to get a feel for both places and see which one you like best - the more relaxed Wanaka or party/tourist central QT. It also gives you an oppurtunity to do some non-ski stuff in both locations. I'd also recommend driving out to Milford Sound - long drive but well worth it.
     
  9. youwishjellyfish

    youwishjellyfish First Runs

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    Thank you K@os - lots of info, very helpful! And thanks for the Milford Sound recommendation too!
     
  10. biri_island_surf

    biri_island_surf Hard Yards

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    welcome to the forum jellyfish . these are just a few ideas .
    fly into christchurch , stay at the sudimar airport hotel , next morning pick up your hire car [ best if its a 4 wheel drive ] . see which ski fields are open then head off to either porters or mt hutt , see if you can do both over 2 days but be prepared for a plan b as the south suffers from wind closures especially mt shutt .
    from the canterbury region move on to the mackenzie , u will love mt. dobson , its probably around your skiing standard . next ski field is roundhill , not too difficult , except for the ropetow . the photo opportunity here is some of the best in nz . an overnight stay in lake tekapo is highly recommended .
    next skifield is ohau , the drive up here will chill the blood alone . if staying near ohau stay in twizel at the mackenzie motor inn .
    from here drive onto wanaka [ pronounced wonaka by the world cup holders ] . trebble cone is the best skifield but cardrona is maybe more to your liking , u can stay on mountain at cardrona , gets a bit eerie up here at night , they leave out a few tobbogans thou and maybe the restararunt opens some nights .
    from wanaka its queenstown , besides the regrettables and cp , there are many ways to spend your money here . finally had enough of queenstown , drop your car at the airport and fly home .
    note - we did these trips before the christchurch earthquake , things will have changed . like japan we can go somewhere else [ aussie tourists are way down in japan ] or get in and support the nz south .

     
  11. ODNT

    ODNT Part of the Furniture

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    Youwish , I had a similar experience when I skied in japan. After having years of lessons in australia & comfortable charging on blacks here I went to japan & thought all of a sudden I could conquer all blacks.
    But Heinz explains it well. There are blacks & reds , & then there are blacks & reds that will always get the heart racing depending where you go.

    But good to see another person bitten buy the bug. carefull it can impact your life. My family hasnt had a summer holiday in years. [​IMG]
     
    #11 ODNT, Feb 9, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 12, 2013
  12. Donza

    Donza Pool Room

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    Ruapehu on the North island...don't discount it..I prefer the terrain up there over the resort terrain in Otago
     
  13. domo83

    domo83 First Runs

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    on the whole the runs in Japan are not as steep OR as variable as NZ, with the latter being more challenging. In Japan, the black runs tend to just mean moguls most of the time. Also the snow is so much lighter and drier in Japan that the powder requires a lot less technique to ski than the heavier stuff in NZ. It also varies between resorts. I like to think of the grades as more to compare runs within a resort

    Getting onto a red or a black or whatever it is isn't hard, it's being able to ski it and enjoy rather than just getting down and going 'holy cr#p!'

    The terrain is way better in NZ, except for tree skiing but the snow better in Japan.

    Re NZ, I'd definitely go to the club fields. That and the glaciers have the most reliable snow coverage to skier ratio. They're also cheaper and you aren't queueing for all the runs. That said you need conditions as not much grooming.

    BUT for someone starting out maybe having groomers to play on wil help you improve quicker in which case the Southern Lakes is a good region. You can go to TC (get on the Jucy specials) and ski their varied terrain and stay in Wanaka, which is nicer and less crowded than QT. That said, Remarks has some good hiking/BC options and Coronet Peak does have the Back Bowls and some other stashes if you know where to look.

    Also, go August not July if you can...snow