New Zealand’s 2015 ski season
began in June, and a slow start in the North Island mountains came to an end with a nationwide cold snap in early July. Skiers are now out in force on all of the ski fields from Whakapapa to Coronet Peak, and those traveling to the Ruapehu or Queenstown
/Wanaka regions in the hopes of catching a ride can expect that most lifts and runs will be open for business, save in cases of inclement weather.
Reports of snow dumps, bluebird days and thick powder have been positively clogging national news outlets such as stuff.co.nz, and it would seem that now is the time to get your act together and make tracks towards New Zealand’s beautiful mountains and ski fields.
Ski car rental deals
Wherever you choose to go for your NZ ski season, a car rental is very important - although New Zealand is well set up for tourism in terms of natural assets, the public transport leaves a lot to be desired.
Thankfully, it won’t break the bank. AirportRentals.com
has two special offers for skiers.
- Jucy Ski4Free at Treble Cone is valid on rentals with a pick up date between June 25th and September 27th 2015 - that means plenty of opportunity to take them up on it! The deal gives you one free adult day lift pass for Treble Cone for each day your Jucy car is hired, up to a maximum of six consecutive days. Book via the link and you will have the deal automatically applied to your booking. With Jucy’s already-affordable rates, this is a fantastic deal - especially as the car rental is in some instances cheaper than the lift pass!
- If you look at the terms and conditions, a lot of car rentals do not allow you to drive above the snow line. Europcar New Zealand has a solution - book a car during their specified dates on selected vehicles and you can ski with no worries. Third Party Cover, an additional driver, Snow Cover, chains for the tyres, 4WD and AWD cover are thrown into a package which makes it simple to rent a car for your New Zealand ski holiday. This is valid for bookings made between the 6th of May and the 31st of October 2015, for travel dates between the 1st of June and the 31st of October 2015 and a minimum of three days. The package can be booked for rentals from Auckland, Rotorua, Wellington and all South Island locations.
There are two main ski destinations in New Zealand, both offering something a little different.
Mount Ruapehu in the North Island is one big mountain with two ski fields, called Whakapapa and Turoa. They are both operated by Ruapehu Alpine Lifts, and lift passes can be used across both fields. This is very handy, as often one field will be more exposed to bad weather than the other, so skiers can pick the best option and head there for the day. Turoa has 37 trails, 2,368 feet of vertical and a good ratio of beginner, intermediate and advanced levels. Whakapapa has 43 trails, 2,198 feet of vertical and a similar mix of runs for different skill levels.
There is an hour’s drive between the two fields, but if you stay somewhere strategic you can have pretty easy access to either. The town of Ohakune is closer to Turoa than Whakapapa but makes a great base, offering a huge range of chalets, rental houses, motels and lodges. There are some isolated accommodation options like motels and the Tongariro Holiday Park scattered along State Highway 4 which runs beside the mountain and between the two fields, and more in the small town of National Park which is closer to Whakapapa.
In the South Island, the ski fields of Cardrona, Treble Cone, Coronet Peak and the Remarkables are clustered in the area between Queenstown and Wanaka. Coronet Peak and the Remarkables are both operated by NZSki, so lift passes for either can be used at both, and Cardrona and Treble Cone recently introduced a flexi pass which allows access to both fields.
All parks offer great runs and lift infrastructure, with Treble Cone geared more towards intermediate and advanced skiers (although it does have beginner facilities) and the rest offering the usual mix. Treble Cone also has the most vertical drop, while the Remarkables has a higher base and Coronet Peak has the most extensive snowmaking system.
Most skiers in the area will pick up their wheels in Queenstown or Christchurch and base themselves out of Queenstown or Wanaka. Treble Cone is only around half an hour’s drive from Wanaka, while Coronet Peak is just twenty minutes from Queenstown. Cardrona lies almost directly between the two towns which themselves are only an hour apart, and the Remarkables is around 40 minutes east of Queenstown.
Wherever you choose to experience New Zealand’s ski season, you are guaranteed an amazing time on the mountain. Book your NZ car rental
now and start planning a winter getaway!