Best skiing in New Zealand

When it comes to the best skiing and snowboarding in the Southern Hemisphere, no place compares to the epic resorts and steep mountains found in New Zealand.


With reliable annual snowfalls and terrain that caters to first-time skiers to professional athletes, it’s little wonder that New Zealand is a true Mecca for snow lovers from around the world.

There’s no shortage of mountains to choose from, and whether you’re looking for large commercial ski resorts or boutique private ski fields, this list of the best skiing in New Zealand will get you pumped to hit the slopes this winter.

The Best Skiing in the South Island

South Island ski areas are located in and around the Southern Alps - in Canterbury, on the Mackenzie Basin and near the Southern Lakes.

Mount Hutt Ski Resort

Located only 90 minutes from Christchurch, Mount Hutt Ski Resort has been a long-time favourite of locals and international visitors for decades. It’s no secret though, as it has been named the best ski resort in New Zealand for four years in a row.

As one of the highest ski fields in the country it has consistent snow coverage throughout the winter, and the terrain is suitable for people of all skill levels. It does get very windy though and is prone to the occasional closure, so make sure you check the forecast before heading here. When it’s open you’re guaranteed to have an epic time!

Skiable Terrain: 365 hectares

Number of Runs: 26

Number of Lifts: 5

Beginner Terrain: 25%

Intermediate Terrain: 45%

Advanced Terrain: 30%

Carving up the slopes with abandon
Carving up the slopes with abandon

Coronet Peak Ski Resort

Queenstown on the South Island is New Zealand’s ultimate snow destination, with four amazing resorts located close by. Coronet Peak is only 20 minutes from downtown, and with steep runs, night skiing and what’s been dubbed ‘roller coaster’ terrain, it’s a fantastic place to shred this winter.

Even though Coronet Peak receives decent natural snowfall, they have the country’s largest automated snowmaking facilities as well, meaning that even in dry spells you can hit the slopes and carve super fast groomers.

Skiable Terrain: 280 hectares

Number of Runs: 27

Number of Lifts: 8

Beginner Terrain: 20%

Intermediate Terrain: 40%

Advanced Terrain: 40%

Keep your card and key safely stored when on the mountain
Keep your card and key safely stored when on the mountain

The Remarkables Ski Area

The Remarkables may have the best views of any ski resort on the South Island, which can make it hard to concentrate on the epic blue and black runs the mountain is known for.

Experts will love the three alpine bowls with endless lines to explore, while beginners will fall in love with the wide open spaces and treeless skiing available.

It’s a 40-minute drive from Queenstown to The Remarkables, but this can take longer if there’s been a big snowfall. Parking can also be tricky, so we recommend taking the shuttle bus.

Skiable Terrain: 385 hectares

Number of Runs: 46

Number of Lifts: 7

Beginner Terrain: 30%

Intermediate Terrain: 40%

Advanced Terrain: 30%

Views from the top are always better in comfortable gear
Views from the top are always better in comfortable gear

Craigieburn Valley Ski Area

If you’d rather leave the groomers behind and are instead seeking narrow chutes, big cliffs, steep run outs and natural kickers, then Craigieburn Valley Ski Area is the place for you.

You won’t find any beginner terrain at this privately-owned ski field. Rather this is the place for powderhounds and big mountain shredders. It offers a backcountry-like experience with easy access, and you won’t find any better terrain without spending thousands of dollars on a heli-skiing trip.

Craigieburn Valley Ski Area is around 100km from Christchurch, meaning you’ll have to wake up early if you expect to drive from the city and get fresh tracks. 

Skiable Terrain: 320 hectares

Number of Runs: 25

Number of Lifts: 3

Intermediate Terrain: 55%

Advanced Terrain: 25%

Expert Terrain: 20%

The only way to go down is to take a lift up
The only way to go down is to take a lift up

Roundhill Ski Field

Right next to Lake Tekapo is another privately-owned ski field that’s been a favourite of families and hardcore riders for years.

Roundhill Ski Field has an excellent beginner-friendly area at the bottom of the mountain, letting newcomers to the sport find their feet before venturing up into the alpine. Roundhill’s claim to fame is the Heritage Express Rope Tow, the longest and steepest rope tow in the entire world, and this surface lift opens up a world of long, difficult terrain.

This ski field has a great atmosphere and is often void of crowds, so you’ll probably end up returning again and again.

Skiable Terrain: 550 hectares

Number of Runs: 14

Number of Lifts: 5

Beginner Terrain: 20%

Intermediate Terrain: 45%

Advanced Terrain: 35%

The ultimate break – roasting marshmallows
The ultimate break – roasting marshmallows

Cardrona Alpine Resort

One of the most popular ski resorts in the entire country, Cardrona is ideally located near both Queenstown and Wanaka, and the varied terrain has something for everybody.

If you love riding park then you’ll be at home in Cardrona, as it’s here you’ll find the NZ Park and Pipe team training every season, and the crew are constantly innovating new and exciting freestyle features. Families will find a plethora of enjoyable green and blue runs too, with plenty of on-mountain snow programs available depending on ages and skill levels.

Skiable Terrain: 345 hectares

Number of Runs: 38

Number of Lifts: 6

Beginner Terrain: 25%

Intermediate Terrain: 50%

Advanced Terrain: 25%

One half of Nomadasaurus boarding on the slopes of Cardrona, NZ
Board up and the snow's your oyster

Treble Cone Ski Resort

Locals know Treble Cone to have the absolute best terrain of any commercial ski field in New Zealand, and as the largest resort on the South Island there’s plenty of room to find your own powder stashes.

Located close to Wanaka, the groomers on Treble Cone are long, steep and fast, but most people flock to the off-piste areas to seek out deep snow and more advanced lines. It isn’t the most modern ski resort, but the slowish chair lifts are well worth the wait when Treble Cone is blanketed in fresh snow.

Skiable Terrain: 550 hectares

Number of Runs: 20

Number of Lifts: 4

Beginner Terrain: 10%

Intermediate Terrain: 45%

Advanced Terrain: 45%

A man and a woman walking through the snow wearing their down jackets
Warm down jackets will serve you well on the snow

The Best Skiing in the North Island

Don’t think that all the skiing and snowboarding is just on the South Island! If you live in the north or are visiting Auckland, you’ll find one of the country’s best-kept-secrets from international travellers at Whakapapa Ski Area.

Whakapapa Ski Area

Located on the northwest side of Mt Ruapehu, Whakapapa has some immense terrain and boasts the longest season of any ski resort in New Zealand. Whether you’re a beginner or an expert shredder, there’s plenty of variety to keep you satisfied.

Don’t forget to head over to the other side of Mt Ruapehu to Turoa Ski Area for even more terrain.

Skiable Terrain: 550 hectares

Number of Runs: 62

Number of Lifts: 14

Beginner Terrain: 25%

Intermediate Terrain: 50%

Advanced Terrain: 25%

Can't beat flying powder
Can't beat flying powder