Flights are booked, bags are packed and you are en route to Queenstown for a ski holiday, excellent choice friends. With the season starting late June and running through till October you have got plenty of time to make your winter holiday great. Queenstown is a wintery paradise, snow-capped mountains, a plethora of activity and two ski fields easily accessible from downtown Queenstown make visiting in winter an absolute dream.
Let’s break down the best places to ski and board here in Queenstown this season and why you should make room for both in your winter itinerary… plus, il throw in some extra golden nuggets for you to note down to fill your days off because no skiing holiday to Queenstown is complete without a little après fun too.
Here what you can expect from a trip to THE best place on earth (bias I know, but trust me on this one)
Coronet Peak is possibly one of the most scenic ski fields I have ever laid eyes on. Perfectly perched above Queenstown boasting views of the valley below, Lake Wakatipu, and even over to the sister mountain, The Remarkables. Don’t get me started on the view over the back bowls. We may be here all day. Just think snow-capped mountains, snow-capped mountains, and more… you guessed it.
Coronet Peak is only a 20-minute drive from downtown Queenstown making it the most accessible mountain in the resort. Perfect for a little first tracks action before work or even an afternoon in the snow. You can drive or take the NZ Ski buses from the town centre, making it even easier for you to get to the sweet spots.
If you are a beginner there is an epic learners conveyor, space to learn your turns and easy green runs to ease you into riding lifts. If you want to up your game, get on the blue runs and explore the whole mountain. There is so much terrain here and a run for everyone, skier and boarders alike.
Coronet Peak is also home to night skiing. You heard me right, this is a completely different experience. Skip the après in town and stay up the mountain. The base building will lead you home along with floodlights illuminating the runs. Get ready for epic sunsets, epic live music, and the chance to stay up the mountain just a little longer.
The Remarkables is where we started our boarding here in Queenstown, so I have a sweet little soft spot for this mountain. Insane runs, incredible terrain, and brand-new shiny lifts getting you to where you want to be in no time. If you are not keen on the drive up the hill, park at the bottom and jump on the NZ Ski bus. Home to a HUGE base building complete with rentals, café, and bars, you need to wake up, layer up, and get yourself up to one of the best ski areas in New Zealand. The Sugar Bowl chair lift started spinning in 2020 opening up SO much new terrain. With the Burton Stash, big park, and the chance to hike to higher runs like ‘toilet bowl’ plus some nice on-piste getting you back down to the base, this mountain is truly epic. Like Coronet Peak, this field also has a great learners area and booking lessons is easy as 1,2,3.
Shadow Basin leads you to that view, you know THAT Queenstown view we all want to see. Looking straight through the mountain and down onto Lake Wakatipu, it’s a sweet reward for a short little hike. You don’t even need to ski or board to see this view. Visitors can travel here on foot after a short ride on the Shadow basin chair lift. This run will take you to some of the widest runs on the mountain, ‘Homeward Bound’ and ‘Outward Bound’ plus if you are brave (and experienced) enough you can tackle the ‘Alta Chutes’ ending with a sweet glide over a frozen Lake Alta.
Have I convinced you to come to Queenstown yet?
Let’s not leave any stone unturned, I have some answers to those burning winter in Queenstown questions you might have.
Can you name the perks on each mountain?
Why yes, yes I can…
Coronet peak & what’s new this season
Coronet Peak has 280ha of skiable terrain, a 1649m elevation with a 462m vertical drop and we are treated to freshly groomed trails during First Tracks from 8 am daily, right through to Night Skiing on Wednesdays, Fridays, and some Saturday nights until 9 pm.
FIRST NIGHT SKI 23rd June 2021 – Enjoy floodlit slopes before warming up by the fire on the deck. Night Ski is a must-do when visiting Queenstown.
The upgrade of snowmaking pipelines ensures consistent and reliable snowmaking throughout winter
A new ‘self-serve’ area in the base building for those bringing a picnic, including a hot water boiler and seating – all about those mountain top picnics.
If you are like me and love a doggo, put the 15th of August in your calendar for the DOG DERBY. Dogs and owners cause mayhem as they race down the mountain together. A great day to spectate or bring your dog up to compete.
The Remarkables & what’s new this season
There are 385 Hectares of skiable terrain at The Remarkable’s with some runs taking you up and over into amazing snow and offering unbelievable views.
There are more runs! Finishing off the Sugar Bowl Basin development by widening Cross Fall trail to 45m and Serpentine trail to 25m.
14th August brings Slopestyle to The Remarks. Park enthusiasts and seasoned pros take to the slopes to show off their skills in the terrain park.
Known for being one of the best mountains for progression, the ski area offers a range of terrain to suit everyone, from off-piste black runs and daring chutes to wide-open learner slopes and everything in between. The terrain is split, 30% beginner, 40% intermediate, 30% advanced, meaning there is something for everyone here.
Who can ski at the ski fields in Queenstown?
Anyone and everyone. Seriously, if you are a seasoned pro or an absolute beginner there is a run for you. With rentals, lessons, and gear workshops on each mountain, there’s a place for everyone to enjoy the snow. If you are a rookie, book a lesson, the ski school staff know what they are doing and it’s a great way to safely introduce yourself to what’s on offer as you progress. If you have experience, be sure to hike higher than the lifts (when safe to do so) the untouched powder and runs you will find will keep you coming back for more and more.
When is the best time to ski or board in Queenstown?
The season typically runs from June – October. There is no right time to ski or board here in Queenstown but most flock to the town in late July, August. With the temps rising a little but still with some expected snowfall, the ski fields come alive. Everyone loves spring skiing here in Queenstown and it’s a little easier on the legs when the snow softens a little. Don’t fret though for every cloudy day on the mountain you will see 100’s of bluebird days. It’s all part of the adventure.
What are the ski fields like in Queenstown?
Epic. There is such a buzz here in Winter. It’s like everyone just relaxes and goes with the flow. There is nothing finer than jumping in your car or on the bus and heading up the hill. You never know, you might meet some new friends on the chairlift or share a beverage or two at night ski around the fire. Queenstown is a pretty friendly place, especially in winter. There is so much terrain to explore here, we have been riding at Coronet and The Remarkables for six years now and there are still runs we are yet to tick off. I can’t wait to get into it this season.
Do I need my own gear?
Nope. Both mountains have a full gear rental area. From boots, bindings, waterproofs, and helmets you will be kitted up and ready to go in no time. Knowing this, you can leave the bulk of your gear at home, especially travelling from overseas. It also gives beginners the chance to experience skiing, snowboarding, or both and get a feel for a sport (I know) you will fall in love with before committing to purchasing your own gear.
What else can I do in Queenstown?
Well, you won’t be bored that’s for sure. Every ski holiday to Queenstown deserves a little après and that comes in many forms. For your traditional grab some beers and food après, head to Yonder or World Bar – two places you can rock up off the mountain still in your gear. Or how about getting a little dressed up and booking a table at Pedro’s on the lake or White and Wongs… both excellent in the food department. Grab a pizza or famous Ferg burger and jump on board Perky’s floating bar where it’s byo food and purchase a little hot mulled wine to end your day. Not all après has to be food and beverage related though. Why not book into the Onsen Hot pools to soak away your troubles and tired muscles or head to Salt Float Spa to completely zen out after a heavy few days exploring what the mountains have to offer.
Winter in Queenstown is epic and I highly suggest you think about re-routing all your plans and diving headfirst into a ski holiday here, you won’t regret it, promise!