QUEENSTOWN – SPRING SKIING GUIDE
It’s September. The Remarkables just had 65cm of fresh, glorious snow.
There’s only one thing to do. Get yourself to Queenstown – it’s spring skiing time.
Queenstown is a place of stunning natural beauty all year round. In snow season, it feels like a little European ski village.
But instead of a long-haul flight to Europe, it’s only a hop, skip & jump across the ditch from Australia’s east coast.
Spring skiing means long sunny days, less crowds and more value for your $$$.
It’s our second year skiing in QT – here are our tips for the best spring-skiing getaway.
Get a direct flight if you can, it makes the trip a breeze at around 3 hours from Brisbane, Sydney & Melbourne.
Try to get a window seat for snow-capped mountain views that will blow your mind.
Where to stay?
We’ve stayed in beautiful Airbnbs and hotels with amazing mountain and lake views. Forget these. Stay in the Sofitel.
It’s the best located high-end hotel in town.
You’re across the road from The Station, which is where you get your lift passes and where the buses depart for the ski fields. So there’s no need to lug your gear around town.
Each morning, you literally get your skis from the Sofitel ski room and walk across the road to the bus. It’s that easy.
And being a Sofitel it has that lovely, subtle french styling happening.
There’s plenty of bonjours and magnifiques thrown around. That would definitely feel strange if it wasn’t so magnifique, but it is.
The rooms are big, with super comfortable Sofitel beds and a huge spa for soaking your tired muscles after the slopes.
The staff are beyond helpful. And breakfast is good, with plenty of options to fuel you up for a big day ahead.
If you need more convincing, the Sofitel also features some pretty nice parquetry –
Get your gear from Browns.
The staff are super professional and the team runs like a well-oiled machine even during busy periods.
They really take care to make sure your boots are a good fit, which is crucial to a happy ski experience.
The jackets and pants available are good quality and nice and clean.
And – Browns also happens to be right across from the Sofitel.
Getting to the slopes
The two main ski fields are Coronet Peak and The Remarkables. Coronet is about 25 minutes out of town, The Remarks about 40.
Sure you could rent a car and drive, but there’s really no point when the good people of NZSki have organised things so beautifully.
Buses depart for both ski fields from The Station building about every 20 minutes from 8am to 11:30am.
NZSki staff will load your skis for you and you can just sit back, relax and enjoy the amazing view on the drive up.
At only $20 for a return trip to the slopes its good value. And it’s really safe.
The road to the Remarkables winds uphill for 13.5 kilometres. In snowy, icy conditions this is a pretty scary drive, with the final part of the road unsealed.
Buses return from 1:30pm to close of the fields. Almost everyone on board has a little nap on the ride back. You can’t do that if you’re driving!
Get a ski instructor
If you’re new to skiing, or haven’t skiied since you were a kid – don’t think you can’t do this. Of course you can ski!
Private lessons are worth every penny. You’ll progress much faster and you’ll get your technique right from the start.
Our favourite instructor is Shane Freeman. He’s a Queenstown local, a fantastic instructor (voted in the top 100 instructors in the US) and will have you skiing well in no time.
He’s super friendly and will make your lessons incredibly fun while constantly helping you improve.
You can book private lessons here for both mountains. Don’t hesitate to ask for Shane.
Coronet Peak is the closest ski field to town. The set up is great, with excellent facilities.
In spring there’s very little, if any, waiting to get onto the chairlifts.
And there’s heaps of space out on the runs. It’s a great place to be.
The views are gorgeous, looking across the valley to The Remarkables in the distance. On a clear day it’s amazing.
The Remarkables are 300 metres higher than Coronet, so it’s definitely a bit colder up there.
Again, the views are spectacular.
There’s a great variety of terrain, including many more green runs than Coronet Peak.
There’s lots of trick areas and jumps.
Up at the Sugar Bowl lift on a clear afternoon there’s a real serene beauty to the place.
The Sugar Bowl chair lift is pretty long, so you get lots of time to sit back and soak in the stunning surrounds.
It’s quiet and pristine. You almost feel like you’ve stumbled into another world up in the clouds.
It’s always a good idea to have a rest after a big day on the slopes. And Queenstown is a pretty great place to be.
Head up to the Gondola for incredible views across Lake Wakatipu to the Remarkables.
A ride on the Gondola, up to the viewing area costs $33 for an adult and $21 for kids. You can see the whole of Queenstown up here –
You can even find Coronet Peak in the distance –
Lunch at Taco Medic is always a good idea. You’ll find them at 3 Searle Lane, with access from Camp Street.
These guys are committed to what they do, with everything made from scratch with local and organic ingredients where possible. The end result is delicious.
You can finish up your day with a long walk around the lake.
Head through the Gardens and follow the Frankton Trail for some incredible views out to the Remarkables. Even on a cloudy day, the scenery is breathtakingly beautiful.
The Boat Shed is a good place for a rest and to warm up on a cool afternoon – you’ll find it about 6km down the trail.
Coronet Peak is open to the 2nd of October and there’s currently a spring ski special of unlimited skiing for $299.
Get. Over. There.