A Review of Queenstown, New Zealand Ski Season 2014

I am just happy to be here.

I am just happy to be here.

Let’s get it out the way. Small. Ok, New Zealand ski fields are small. The Remarkables, for example, has four ski lifts. You can cover all the trails within a morning. But whether you want an easy ride, to challenge yourself, or take to the terrain park, the Queenstown ski fields will provide from mid season onwards. 

The three ski fields visited were:

  • Coronet Peak
  • The Remarkables
  • Cardrona

Coronet Peak

 

As discussed in the early season review, Coronet Peak is determined to open despite there being shit all to ride on. Three trails were open with the aid of the much-needed snow cannons. As more trails started to open up throughout the season, there were a lot more steeper and technical trails than what you find at The Remarkables.

Night-skiing at Coronet Peak gave the opportunity for some after work riding. Thankfully, night-skiing was included in the ski pass. The majority of the time, night-skiing succumbed to the ice once the snow froze over in night temperatures. Slightly warmer nights gave a safer and much more enjoyable ski.

Nevertheless, here is me getting pumped for night-ski, after I had been out of action for two to three weeks with a sprained ankle. Guess where I sprained it? Coronet, of course…

The Remarkables

Unlike the sheep field that Coronet Peak is in, The Remarkables ski area is actually in the mountains! Hurrah! Once I discovered The Remarks there was no turning back. Every day off from working as a kitchen bitch, you could find me trying to improve my boarding skills with some fine people.

The start of the ski season at The Remarks was so busy due to a school holiday that never seemed to end. Ironically, the busiest time was when there was still a need for a major dumping. By the spring, it felt like we had the slopes to ourselves. Check out the ins and outs of The Remarkables in my early season review.

Laura share no chairlift.

Laura share no chairlift.

Speaking of major dumping, there were two weeks of super deep powder. As I lay there with my ass deep in the snow and my legs flung in the air, I thought this is the life. After the said dumping, the season felt like it had really begun. The Sugar Bowl area pictured below was my favourite area with some steeper runs and the terrain park. Admittedly, I only played in the baby terrain park.

My claim to fame:

Cardrona

Snow selfie

Cardrona is a playground for freestylers. One side of the mountain is pretty much a giant terrain park complete with half pipes. The other side is the riders’ side. At the end of the season, with the sun beating down on us, the snow became choppy slush by midday. Not great for fast riding, but pretty cool for doing little jumps.

Kristy and I did find a little groomed spot away from the crowd…

Verdict

The New Zealand ski season takes a while to get going. After much-needed powder days, the ski fields become little epic playgrounds. These are not the places for exploration like you would get in European resorts, but they are a great place to have fun on the snow parks, bomb down the trails, and try a bit of off piste. The Remarkables will always have a special place in my heart. N’aw.

A little shoutout to Cissi, who came to the mountains whatever the weather and helped me improve big style!

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