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Winter roadtrip advice

Discussion in 'New Zealand' started by protik, May 10, 2013.

  1. protik

    protik Hard Yards

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    Hi all,

    My partner and I are going to New Zealand for the first time in August would like to snowboard for 9 or 10 days. This is our second year of snowboarding with the hope of moving from beginner to somewhere closer to intermediate level (we had ~10 days/5 lessons at Perisher last year). Our itinerary looks like this at the moment:

    Day 00 Aug 16 Christchurch
    Day 01 Aug 17 Christchurch - Methven
    Day 02 Aug 18 SKI @ Mt Hutt (Lesson 1)
    Day 03 Aug 19 Methven – Lake Tekapo
    Day 04 Aug 20 SKI @ Roundhill or Mt Dobson
    Day 05 Aug 21 SKI @ Ohau Snow Fields
    Day 06 Aug 22 Ohau – Lake Wanaka (through Lindis Pass)
    Day 07 Aug 23 SKI @ Treble Cone (Lesson 2)
    Day 08 Aug 24 SKI @ Treble Cone
    Day 09 Aug 25 SKI @ Treble Cone
    Day 10 Aug 26 Lake Wanaka – Fox Glacier
    Day 11 Aug 27 Fox Glacier walk
    Day 12 Aug 28 SKI @ Remarkables (Lesson 3)
    Day 13 Aug 29 SKI @ Remarkables
    Day 14 Aug 30 SKI @ Remarkables
    Day 15 Aug 31 Christchurch

    Our queries are as follows:

    1. Would you guys recommend spending more/less time at any particular ski field? We picked a variety of them as we are not sure which one we will end up liking more.

    2. It seems we need 5 days OnePassNZ liftpass and another 5 days of NZSuperpass to cover the above ski fields. Is this the best way to go about it? Can't seem to find any liftpass + lesson deals online.

    3. Is it possible/recommendable to sleep in campervan near the above fields? We are planning to rent a van through escaperentals.co.nz and would prefer not book accommodations unless needed. However in terms of accessibly, we are not sure where we definitely need to book and would really appreciate any advice on this.

    Thanks in advance!

    Cheers

    PS - can't wait for winter @ South America next year.
     
  2. mauricem

    mauricem Addicted

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    Im not a boarder but if you have any interest in park stuff I thought Cardrona was epicenter of such activity? If the snow levels are low then it will often have often better coverage than Remarkables as well. Id suggest keep you itinerary a bit fluid to allow for local conditions.

    Im pretty sure you cant stay overnight up at the major commercial resorts, not sure about ohau et al
     
  3. Rabid K9

    Rabid K9 A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    * Fairly easy to park up in camper van near the areas you've mentioned, certainly save s a bit of money. Some great spots by the lakes around Tekapo and Ohau, nearer Wanaka and Q'town, obviously lots more pressures of numbers, so much tighter on 'illegal' camping, especially campers which are much more prevalent in NZ. From experience, although the NZ winters are milder than northern hemi and your camping at lower altitudes (generally), a gas heater in the van in much better than an electric model, as your rarely plugged into mains power. Had a van in Europe this year which came with a 'Verbusto' heating system which runs off diesel. Much better than the gas systems for properly cold weather, but I've not found it available in NZ vans.

    * Depending on your confidence, you might find Trouble Cone a little limiting if your early on your skills, but if your a bold beginner, it could also be a great way to fast track your riding. On the other side of the coin, Unremarkables is great for beginners but studiously avoids the best terrain for anybody above that level. Concrete Peak is lower but I think more allround fun terrain than it's neighbour. I'm not a huge fan of Flatdrona, but for beginners and scene chasers, it's a pretty good place. As mentioned, staying flexible in the best option, especially if your mobile and don't mind some long night drives, you can follow the best snow. I'm wary of locking into inflexible passes, especially with NZ weather, which can frequently stop you getting onto the mountain.
     
  4. dr80

    dr80 One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Second R-K9.
    I'm a fan of the greater the flexibility, the better the road / snow trip.

    Snow systems / weather can be quite local on the south island, and it doesn't take that long to get from one area to another.
    Follow the snow and good weather.

    Also, concur with just buying ski lift passes as you go is fine.
    A 1/2 day ticket here and there can be good too if you need a rest or are travelling to another area.
    Some places like Dobson and Porters have a 1/2 price mid week day as well.
     
  5. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Day 03 - could ski as well if you wanted the drive isn't that long, either Mt Hutt, then drive or drive and Dobson.

    Days 07, 08 - given it is only your second year you would be better off with a couple of days and a lesson at Cardrona. Hit TC after that if you are feeling ok.

    Fox glacier - bit of a drive up the West coast from Wanaka. You may want to consider doing some sort of glacier flight from Tekapo or Mt Cook village instead - maybe a Tasman glacier ski instead if weather is good. Don't know about Fox glacier walks in winter.

    Days 12-14 worth doing a day at Coronet peak in there. You are presumably stying in Queenstown for that bit - they are a long drive from Wanaka.

    Are you planning on flying out of Queenstown? If not you need to allow a day fro the drive back to ChCh.

    Also agree with the others about keeping your options open and buying ski passes as you. NZ weather does change pretty quickly and often upsets fine detailed plans.
     
  6. chriscross

    chriscross One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Take advice from Heinz. Day 3 ride Dobson, Day 4 Roundhill. Cardrona will suit you much better than TC. I would not recommend taking a campervan up the Ohau road, although I'm sure people do. Good luck, have fun.
     
  7. ScottGN

    ScottGN One of Us Ski Pass: Gold Ski Pass: Silver

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    Concur with heinz and criscross. Have that 2nd lesson at Cardrona. The learners area at TC is a horrible mean little affair and worst of all for snowboarders it's serviced by a poma lift which, if you haven't mastered one of those yet (I speak from experience here) will result in much falling off (particularly galling when you know you could walk to the end of the thing quicker than getting up, recovering your dignity and getting back in the damn line). Save TC for later in the trip when you can do it more justice.
    As for the driving, distances in the South Island can be deceptive and in August you'd be lucky to get through the whole trip without encountering some marginal road conditions (snow, ice, grit etc). Chains maybe required.
     
  8. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    So on your schedule I would extend the time at Tekapo and drop the long drive to and from Fox - you would really need a few days for that.

    That would give you a window of a few days for a possible Tasman glacier ski or even just a flight if weather is good or otherwise just ski Round hill or Ohau.
     
  9. sircrackerjc

    sircrackerjc Hard Yards

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    Another vote for cardies over TC, until such time as you can comfortably get over to saddle basin.
    Mind you scenary wise TC will blow your mind on a clear day.
     
  10. Angus_McCrory

    Angus_McCrory Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    The Chateau at Mt Cook is stunning and a good base for heli skiing or catching a ski plane onto the Tasman Galcier (?)for either a tramp or a long slow ski.
     
  11. protik

    protik Hard Yards

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    Hi everyone, thanks so much for the replies. Some great advice here. Will definitely adjust the itinerary. Also, glad to hear that it shouldn't be an issue to park up the campervan near the ski resorts. Cheers!
     
  12. Tropical

    Tropical One of Us

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    TC might be just a little too intimidating for low intermediates. The majority of the blue terrain is better suited to high intermediates and much of the terrain is advanced/expert.

    I'd recommend Cardrona or the QT resorts over TC in your case.

    I can't comment from experience on the Mackenzie resorts, however I am skiing those hills for the first time this winter ...... from my research Dobson/Ohau look like they might suit your requirements well.
     
  13. gibbsy

    gibbsy Addicted

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    Having no experience of the southern fields, take this with a grain of salt, but....
    It could be worth spending a couple extra days at the canterbury fields- Base at say Springfield, 1hr from CCH then its only 40 mins to Porters and a touch further to Cheeseman. Both have really good facilities for beginner/intermediate riders and options to expand the repertoire. Springfield pub will let you plug in your camper as well and its cheap and homely to eat and drink there too(Ask for Mal). From there you can start to work down throught the Mackenzie via Hutt. Dobson and Roundhill are both nice little fields and Roundhill especially has some of the most amazing views you'll find anywhere.
    Best of all, you can get Porters, cheeseman, roundhill and dobson, fox and Treble Cone on a Chill pass, which works out really cheap(some van rental companies have a package including rental and pass that works out to a great deal)
    It cuts down a lot of expense this way, and you'll get a few good days riding in before heading South on fields that should fit the ability level and requirements. Checkout chillout.co.nz and they'll usually have their passes and rates up.
    Gettting the itch for another NZ trip myself!
     
  14. protik

    protik Hard Yards

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    Thanks guys. During the trip, are there any scopes for sightseeing/short hike along the above route? Looks like we are going to have to drop the drive to fox glacier this time around. Cheers.
     
  15. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Worth making a slight detour into Mt Cook village while you are in Tekapo or on your way to Wanaka whether just for walk around the village area or beyond, a scenic flight or even a Tasman glacier ski. Can also do a scenic flight from Tekapo.

    Then plenty of things to see in Wanaka & Queenstown.