There is only one reason why I wanted to skip summer this year: to snowboard. It wasn’t long after the opening of Coronet Peak, Queenstown on June 4 that I headed up the mountains to play in the powder.
With the aid of the new 211 snow cannons, the ski field initially had three different routes to hurtle down the mountain. This number has steadily increased, but still, the mountain needs to see a good dumping before we can make the most of the expensive day or season lift pass.
Lift Pass to Coronet Peak
This is the hard part. Paying for a lift pass in new Zealand is like trying to rip a plaster off. I feel great shame when looking at these figures, yet feel awesome when I am cruising in the snow. What’s a girl to do?
- A day lift pass is $98
- A Queenstown season pass to Coronet (including night ski) and The Remarkables is $1299
Ok, glad that’s over. Other than obviously getting you on the lifts, NZSki lift passes have a little added extra that trumps all ski passes I have used in the French Alps. The pass tracks how many runs you have done, how many vertical metres covered, and how you fair on the leader board.
Day 1 at Coronet Peak – A couple of days after opening
My Kiwi Experience buddies and I were overly keen to get a taste of a New Zealand ski field, despite there being limited runs. Riding through snowfall evoked mixed feelings. Such feelings were that the snow felt like needles spiking my face on the Coronet Express lift, I couldn’t see much at the top, but it was the first time I had boarded on untouched snow. The snow groaned in what I can only assume was satisfaction as superhero board and I carved through.
It was quiet enough to have plenty of room on the slopes and somewhere warm to sit inside The Base cafe area. It was quite the contradiction to my second day at Coronet Peak.
Day 2 at Coronet Peak – June 24
Apologies for the predictable snowboarder photo. Got my new board, although it needs some serious design work, and my #queenstown season pass. All we need now is some more snow! All in all, a perfect way to spend a day off work. #coronetpeak #newzealand #nz #gigatownqtn #snowboard #snowsports #nzski #travel #winterfestival
In Winter Festival week, it would be a crime not to hit the slopes. Other people had a similar idea as getting a place to sit inside for lunch was a task (which I gave up on because I sat outside in the end).
Getting to Coronet at 10am, the snow was still in good condition from last night’s grooming. Throughout the day, this started to deteriorate so much that grass could be seen trying to break through the snow on the runs. Ice began to get exposed also, giving me several mini heart attacks as I scraped over it.
Then… it started to rain. It goes to show that Queenstown is having a hard time with the lack of wintery weather in 2014, as the opening of The Remarkables has been put on hold due to the lack of white stuff.
How you look at early season skiing or snowboarding in Queenstown depends on your experience. For me, back home I have one short indoor slope nearby and a horrible dry slope. So riding down the same three runs all day just to get back in the swing of things before the ski season is truly underway is still a really fun way to spend a day off work.
For those people on a ski holiday to Queenstown in June… well, now really wouldn’t be the time despite the Winter Festival being on. Nevertheless, the view of The Remarkables, like all views in New Zealand, are incredible. Remarkable, in fact. Heuheuheu.
On the other hand, June is the perfect time for beginners to get in the lessons, as my ‘day 2’ companion got to find out.
All in all, Coronet Peak and The Remarkables needs to have a good dumping! I can’t wait to check out The Remarkables and to see what the whole of Coronet has to offer when it is blanketed.