Winter is just around the corner. What better way to spend the winter holidays than surrounded by beautiful New Zealand mountains! With ski schools, day care and family package deals springing up at every mountain, it’s becoming more and more affordable to bring the whole family! So prevent those winter blues. Pack up the car and head to one of the five best New Zealand Ski Resorts as chosen by yours truly.
TUROA - North Island
Turoa Ski Area boasts the largest vertical descent in Australasia. The resort is located on the south-western slopes of Mt Ruapehu with its cousin Whakapapa only a 40-minute drive away. Passes are interchangeable between the two resorts, making Mt Ruapehu the perfect choice for a week-long vacation.
Turoa recently extended their carpet lift and has a toboggan run alongside the beginners’ area for those too young to ski. If you would rather leave the little ones at home and tackle the exiting natural terrain that makes Turoa one of the best New Zealand ski resorts, licensed on-mountain childcare is available for 2 - 6 year olds. Turoa also provides private and group lessons from age 5 for skiers and 8 for snowboarders. Drop your kids off and enjoy the mountain - or watch them learn from the comfort of the Alpine Chalet while enjoying a warm cup of coffee.
WHAKAPAPA - North Island
As well as being New Zealand's largest ski area, Whakapapa has the largest learners’ area earning its rank as one of the best New Zealand ski resorts for younger children. The gentle slopes are great for beginners, with private and group lessons available for children. The beginners’ area is serviced by a slow-speed chairlift, and has its own cafe, rentals and ski school meeting area.
Whakapapa is the perfect mountain to experience a massive variety of challenging terrain for the more advanced skiers. There are more than 30 groomed intermediate trails and 24 black and black diamonds runs while the volcanic terrain gives you a choice of chutes, bowls, and back country. Drop the kids off at a lesson and go explore!
CORONET PEAK - South Island
Located 18kms from Queenstown, Coronet Peak has 280 hectares of skiable terrain. It is also the only mountain in New Zealand that offers night skiing, helping keep the kids occupied while you take a break from a big day at the mountain.
The mountain caters to children of all ages. The Skiwiland Early Learning Centre takes children from 3 months while the Ski School offers programs for skiers 6-12 years, snowboarders 8-12. The shredders program is designed for 13-17 year olds. The best news? Children under the age of 6 receive free day lift passes! Coronet Peak offers on the mountain lodging - and with its close proximity to adventurous Queenstown it’s easy to see why Coronet Peak is included amongst the best New Zealand ski resorts. Get ready for adventure!
Cardrona is renowned for its child-friendly programs and terrain, even hosting an annual kids’ festival in September. Located between Wanaka and Queenstown this mountain caters for everyone. The diverse terrain is complemented by a world class terrain park complete with halfpipes, jumps and rails, and the runs offer a good balance between groomers and off-track.
One of the best things about this mountain is the huge range of lessons and activities on offer. Choose from group or private lessons, beginner and achievement packages with lift and rental or high performance centres for those high achievers. For the youngsters Cardrona has TWO licensed babysitting centres in addition to two Kids’ Clubs for 5 - 14 years. Sleds are available for children booked into the childcare centres for free!
Mt Hutt is laid-back ski field, renowned for its long snow season, race training facilitates and open terrain. Located one-hour drive from Christchurch, the mountains offer on-mountain accommodation and equipment rental with an added bonus - kids under 10 ski for free!
Mt Hutt has all the advantages of the Southern Alps, with 365 hectares of skiable terrain and two terrain parks. The mountain’s ability to provide all levels of terrain - from beginner to advanced, makes it one of the best ski resorts in New Zealand. Mt Hutt is also a great option for those with teenage children with their Kruiser Squad development program running throughout the holidays. However, the resort also offers the normal classes for the children, as well as babysitting from age 2.
So there you have it. Our pick from the best New Zealand ski resorts. Before you go don’t forget to make sure your car is in full working order. Have Marshall Batteries on speed dial in case you need roadside assistance! 0800 228 837