Get amongst New Zealand’s 2015 ski season.

Ski season in New Zealand is set to start very soon, with opening dates now set for ski areas around the country. Early dumps of snow, especially in the South Island, have this year looking to be an improvement on seasons past, and Kiwi and international snowbunnies alike are ramping up for some great times on the slopes in 2015. 
Colder temperatures in the south mean that the fields of Queenstown and Wanaka are usually the first to open. Coronet Peak and Cardrona, two of New Zealand’s most popular ski areas, both plan to commence their seasons on the 13th of June. The Remarkables will follow suit a week later, and Treble Cone on the 25th. 
The smaller and lesser-known fields further up the South Island in Nelson, Canterbury and the Mackenzie regions have opening dates ranging from the 12th of June to the 11th of July. Many of these are club fields which have limited facilities but are open to non-members, and are great for those wanting to get away from the crowds for some peaceful time on the slopes. 
In the North Island, the options are limited to the three ski areas on Mount Ruapehu and a club-operated field on Mount Taranaki. The extensive fields and facilities of Whakapapa and Turoa, both run by the same company and located on Mount Ruapehu, draw the biggest crowds. They are set to open on the 27th of June.
Mt Ruapehu ski season

All ski area opening dates has intended opening times for all the ski areas nationwide as follows:
  • Mt Hutt (Canterbury): 12th June
  • Coronet Peak (Queenstown): 13th June
  • Cardrona (Wanaka): 13th June
  • Porters (Canterbury): 19th June
  • The Remarkables (Queenstown): 20th June
  • Snowfarm (Wanaka): 20th June
  • Broken River (Canterbury): 20th June
  • Treble Cone (Wanaka): 25th June
  • Ohau Snow Fields (Mackenzie): 27th June
  • Roundhill (Mackenzie): 27th June
  • Cheeseman (Canterbury): 27th June
  • Mt Lyford (Canterbury): 27th June
  • Turoa (Ruapehu): 27th June
  • Whakapapa (Ruapehu): 27th June
  • Queenstown Snowcats (Queenstown): 4th July
  • Mt Dobson (Mackenzie): 4th July
  • Mt Olympus (Canterbury): 4th July
  • Craigieburn (Canterbury): 4th July
  • Temple Basin (Canterbury): 4th July
  • Hanmer Springs (Canterbury): 4th July
  • Rainbow (Nelson): 4th July
  • Tukino (Ruapehu): 4th July
  • Fox Peak (Mackenzie): 11th July
  • Manganui (Taranaki): unknown

Get there safe

Winter driving is hard enough at the best of times. We suggest that those visiting from overseas read up on this New Zealand driving guide to ensure a safe and enjoyable ski holiday in the snow season.

What else is on?

You’d be forgiven for wanting a day or two off from the rigours of skiing or snowboarding, and there are plenty of other things going on around the country during the winter season to distract you. Here are a few events which might catch your interest during your New Zealand ski road trip:
North Island
Taking place at Ohakune right at the base of Mount Ruapehu, the Ohakune Mardi Gras is a street party to kick-start the season. With fun bands and DJs, punters dressed in onesies and costumes, carnival rides, food and drinks galore, it is a heck of a celebration. In 2015, the Mardi Gras will take place on the 27th of June. 
The Food and Wine Classic in Hawke’s Bay has a winter incarnation from the 5th of June to the 28th of June, perfect for keen foodies to experience some seasonal delights like venison and red wine by a roaring fire.
It’s a long way from the ski slopes, but if your trip takes you to the Bay of Islands in Northland, you should definitely catch the Russell Birdman Festival which takes place in Russell from the 10th-12th of July. All kinds of fun family events lead up to the namesake competition, where “birdmen” create flying machines in an attempt to take flight with a leap from Russell Wharf. Very entertaining!
South Island
The Queenstown Winter Festival is the biggest party of New Zealand’s winter season, lasting ten days and comprising a huge number and variety of events from parties, fireworks and live music to competitions, exhibitions and markets. The whole town is in party mode - check out this rundown of the Top 5 Bars in Queenstown during the festival in 2014.
Dunedin celebrates the Cadbury Chocolate Carnival from the 11th-17th of July, hosting all the chocolate events one could wish for - tours, classes, tastings and the famous Cadbury Jaffa race down the steepest street in the world, Baldwin Street.
The Audi Quattro Winter Games will take place across the ski fields of Coronet Peak and Cardrona from the 21st to the 30th of August. These are one of the premier winter sports events worldwide, and make for some great spectating with all kinds of snowboarding and skiing events as well as curling at the rink in Naseby. 
Book your New Zealand car hire and start planning, but get in quick - the season starts very soon!

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