Dubbed “The Relaxables” or “The Rockables”, The Remarkables is a beautiful Queenstown ski field where especially beginners come to hone their snowsports skills and freestylers for some snowpark action. The intermediate and the advanced enjoy easy rides with a bit of rocky off piste options, this early season. Be warned adventurous types: turns out there is a rocky mountain under this thin layer of snow. Therefore, it is a scratchy mountain to one’s skis or snowboard.
I was lucky enough to enjoy two sunny days within two weeks after some minor snowfalls. The snow was much rider friendly than the death trap that is Coronet Peak – The Remarkables’ sister snowfield. Saying that, one of the more fun and challenging runs, Calypso, had a section of trail lost to hard ice and even saturated mud. My ass hasn’t been the same since it made swift contact with the compressed ice. Then I remembered I had learned to snowboard on a dry slope, so it was all Ok.
During the New Zealand school holidays (4-21 July), I was thankful for the wider runs from the new chairlift Curvey Basin. This didn’t stop the said chairlift from being crammed with people queuing, which was a reason we favoured the Shadow Basin lift. From here, I attempted mogul central: Shady Lady. Moguls are a workout for the legs, but with ice patches it’s a workout for your heart rate and your will to live.
Sugar Bowl chairlift takes you to several routes through snow parks of varying difficulties. One day I came on my lonesome for some, admittedly basic, feature fun. I’d happily stay there all day. I also took the opportunity of lone riding for chairlift pictures:
Of the two Queenstown ski fields, The Remarkables is where you want to be in the early season. Higher altitude equals better conditions. Additionally, the view from up here is sensational especially on the bus journey up the mountain. As I said about Coronet Peak, I can see how this ski field has a lot more potential with, as the kiwis say, “big dumps”. Season pass holders will enjoy any chance to get on the slopes to get some practice in, however day pass holders would no doubt appreciate better conditions in order to make the most of every run The Remarkables has to offer. Come on, snow!