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4 BEST Queenstown Ski Fields


Queenstown is one of the most beautiful places to visit in New Zealand and is conveniently within a short drive to four of New Zealand’s best ski fields. This makes Queenstown arguably the best place to go skiing or snowboarding in New Zealand.

On top of the gorgeous, alpine terrain, Queenstown boasts one of the longest snow seasons in the southern hemisphere, with all 4 Queenstown ski fields typically opening from mid-June to late-October.  

Each ski area is equipped with world-class infrastructure ranging from large ski lifts to well-sealed roads.  And we’re not talking small here with a combined 2km vertical drop and 122km of runs.  Whether you’re a beginner snowboarder or a well-seasoned skier, you’ll never get bored with skiing in Queenstown.

Queenstown Ski Fields

Skiing is one of our favourite things to do in Queenstown so we decided to put together a list of the best ski fields.  

Each of these ski resorts in Queenstown are within a short drive of the city centre, ranging from 25-minutes for Coronet Peak to 2-hours to Treble Cone near Wanaka.  

Interestingly, each Queenstown ski field has its pros and cons and we’d find it hard to pick a ‘best ski field’.  That said, Treble Cone is a popular pick with more experienced skiers and boarders and its expansive views makes it well worth the drive.

For everyone else, we’d recommend either The Remarkables or Cardrona, depending on your appetite for driving.  We have a slight preference for Cardrona (especially for beginners) but The Remarkables ski area is a little closer.

View from Cardrona Alpine resort ski field.

1. Cardrona Alpine Resort

Vertical Drop: 600m

Run Distance:  40km

Ski Lifts: 9

If we had to choose the best ski field in Queenstown we’d probably pick Cardrona Alpine Resort.  It is a true alpine resort in every sense, offering loads of runs for all levels, numerous bars and restaurants, and high quality instructors to help even pros improve.

Cardrona should be a top contender for first-timers thanks to its long learners slope and numerous easy runs with gentle slopes and soft snow.  If it’s your first time, the instructors here are top-notch and will typically get you ready to ride or ski down an easy-grade slope by the start of your second day.

If you’re a little more experienced, then Cardrona really shines.  It is home to one of the Southern Hemisphere’s most extensive park terrains with 4 parks and plenty of space to show off your tricks. 

Alternatively, the black runs (including the infamous Arcadia chutes) will offer seasoned skiers and snowboarders an exhilarating experience.

It’s not the quality of the runs that makes Cardrona stand out amongst the plethora of ski fields in New Zealand.  Instead, it’s the consistently impeccable conditions that seem to exist on this mountain.

Between the snow-making facilities and the reliable, dry snowfall, Cardrona consistently offers great conditions all throughout the season.  Even if you wake up and find it raining in Queenstown, we’d still recommend checking out the webcams as it’s probably fine at Cardrona.

Cardrona Alpine Report.

Cardrona Ski Passes

Cardrona offers 1-day and multi-day lift passes as well as gear hire and lessons.  The first-timers class is exceptionally good value at Cardrona and we highly recommend it if it’s your first time on the snow.

Cardrona First Timer Ski or Snowboard Package – $175. Includes a full-day lift pass to the learners area, 4.5-hours of group lessons and gear rental.  This is one of the best Queenstown ski packages for beginners and can sell out.

1-day Lift Pass – $150. Includes a full-day lift pass to access the entire mountain.

Multi-Day Lift Pass – $280 – $500. 2-5 day lift passes.  Do not need to be used consecutively and additional days get cheaper as you purchase more.

1-day Lift Pass + Rental – $185. A full-day lift pass including gear rental.  Additional days get cheaper as you purchase more. Exceptional value if you don’t own a board or skis.

Gondola Sightseeing Pass – $35. Ride an enclosed Gondola to the top of Cardrona.  Boasts expansive, picturesque views.

How to Get From Queenstown to Cardrona

Cardrona is a 50-60 minute drive from Queenstown city centre.  The drive heads up into the Crown Ranges which is one of the most picturesque roads in New Zealand, but is also the highest.  

This means that the road can get icy and covered in snow during winter, not to mention road closures can occur.  The alternative route takes over 90-minutes so it’s not preferable.

Due to the risk of icy conditions, taking snow chains is necessary and we recommend learning how to fit them before you leave.

If you don’t have a 4WD we’d also recommend parking lower down the mountain and taking the free bus to the top.  Non-confident drivers can consider booking a bus from Queenstown for $35.

2. The Remarkables Ski Area

Vertical Drop: 468m

Run Distance:  10km

Ski Lifts: 8

One of the best ski destinations in New Zealand, The Remarkables Ski Area offers impressive runs and commanding views.  

Although we’d typically prefer to make the drive out to Cardrona, The Remarkables is definitely comparable in terms of quality of runs and overall ski facilities.  Its proximity to Queenstown also gives it a slight edge if you’re not an early riser.  

Beginners will find the Remarkables to be a great place to learn how to snowboard or ski with nice, long learner and beginner slopes with gentle gradients.  The instructors are also experienced and we’d highly recommend the first timers program or lessons, especially if it’s your first time.

There’s a varied selection of green, blue and black runs (which you can check out on The Remarkables Ski Map) at The Remarkables as well as 385 hectares of terrain meaning experienced skiers and snowboarders won’t get bored.  The park area is also awesome with an abundance of obstacles, whilst backcountry skiers will find some of the best runs in Queenstown.

If you’re staying Queenstown (which we recommend, make sure to check out our guide to the best Queenstown accommodation), The Remarkables is the perfect in between ski field if you’re looking for something a bit nicer and less busy than Coronet Peak, but not quite as far away as Cardrona.

The Remarkables Ski Passes

The Remarkables ski passes offer great value as they can be used at three different ski resorts: Coronet Peak, The Remarkables and Mount Hutt (in Christchurch).  We recommend booking a few days and visiting more than one Queenstown ski field.

1-day Lift Pass – $139.  Get access to the entire mountain and all lifts for the day.

Multi-day Lift Pass – $129, $109, $99. These are the daily prices if you visit for 2, 3 or 4 days with access to the entirety of Coronet Peak, The Remarkables & Mount Hutt + they days don’t need to be used consecutively.

Learner Area Pass – $79. This pass only gets you access to the learner area which we typically wouldn’t recommend unless you’re really struggling after a day of lessons.

First Timer Package – $199. Access to the learner area, a full day of group lessons and board/ski hire.  If it’s your first time, definitely pick this.

Season Pass – $899 – $1299. Season pass prices vary from season to season and depend how early you book.

How to Get From Queenstown to The Remarkables

The drive from Queenstown to The Remarkables takes 40-minutes from the city centre.  The road is well paved but can be icy in Winter so it’s advised to bring snow chains and drive defensively.  

There is a car park at the bottom that we recommend if you’re renting a car or don’t have a 4WD.  The shuttle to the top is free, otherwise the gravel road up to the carpark at the top is steep.

The Remarkables Ski Bus is a great option if you don’t have a car or are not confident driving.

3. Coronet Peak Ski Area

Vertical Drop: 462m

Run Distance:  40km

Ski Lifts: 8

The allure of Coronet Peak Ski Area is its accessibility, with some of New Zealand’s best ski terrain just a short 20-minute drive from the city centre.  

Thanks to its lower elevation, early and late in the season Coronet Peak can get a bit icy and as such has earned somewhat of a poor reputation.  That said, if there’s been decent snowfall then you’re probably going to be fine – we’ve never had any issues!

The runs at Coronet Peak are long and suitable for all skill levels, from beginner to advanced.

The bigger challenge, especially during peak times, is going to be navigating around all the other visitors.  Coronet Peak’s convenient location makes it also the busiest and most popular ski field in Queenstown.  If you’re visiting on a weekday and not during school holidays you’ll probably enjoy Coronet Peak a bit more.

Although we love Coronet Peak, for most people we’d recommend driving a bit further to The Remarkables or Cardrona.

However, there’s one exception: night skiing!  Coronet Peak is the only Queenstown ski field to allow skiers and snowboarders on the slopes at night with their famous night skiing sessions.  Between 4pm and 9pm the slopes are brilliantly lit with huge floodlights allowing great visibility.

Coronet Peak Ski Passes

Coronet Peak shares the same ski passes as The Remarkables making it an extremely affordable way to visit two different ski resorts over multiple days. 

1-day Lift Pass – $139.  Get access to the entire mountain and all lifts for the day.

Multi-day Lift Pass – $129, $109, $99. These are the daily prices if you visit for 2, 3 or 4 days with access to the entire mountain.

Learner Area Pass – $79. This pass only gets you access to the learner area which we typically wouldn’t recommend unless you’re really struggling after a day of lessons.

First Timer Package – $199. Access to the learner area, a full day of group lessons and board/ski hire.  If it’s your first time, definitely pick this.

Season Pass – $899 – $1299. Season pass prices vary from season to season and depend how early you book.

How to Get From Queenstown to Coronet Peak

Getting from Queenstown to Coronet Peak takes just 20-minutes by car and is the closest ski field to Queenstown.  The road to Coronet Peak is surprisingly good and you should be fine to drive yourself, however, always bring snow chains as conditions can be icy.

The park offers a free shuttle service that can bring you from your car to the resort if you’ve had to park further away.  Alternatively, you can book a bus from town for $20.

Coronet Peak vs The Remarkables

People often ask us which ski field is better – Coronet Peak or The Remarkables.  Ultimately, it comes down to your itinerary or schedule.  Heading out to Coronet Peak in the afternoon for some night skiing is extremely convenient and such a great way to spend an evening.

If you want a full day on the slopes we’d have to recommend The Remarkables.

4. Treble Cone Ski Area

Vertical Drop: 700m

Run Distance:  22km

Ski Lifts: 3

Treble Cone is home to some of the best ski terrain in New Zealand with epic views out over Lake Wanaka and Mount Aspiring.  It has one of the longest vertical drops and runs as well as being the largest ski area in the South Island.

Treble Cone is an especially popular pick for more intermediate and experienced snowboarders and skiers thanks to its long groomed trails, famous off-piste terrain and open powder faces.  

The terrain stats for Treble Cone are 10% beginner, 30% intermediate, 40% advanced and 20% expert which is clearly more tailored to better skiers and riders.

Beginners will find the Nice and Easy Platter learner area perfectly adequate, however there are a few challenges here for first timers who really would have a better time at any of the other ski fields in Queenstown.  

The learners’ slope is quite steep if it is your first time, and  you’ll need to use a platter lift to get to the top which can have quite a learning curve if you don’t even know how to strap in your bindings!

Beginners will also struggle a bit with the green runs which tend to be quite steep and narrow compared to Cardrona.

If you don’t mind the drive, or are happy to stay in Wanaka, then Treble Cone is the best ski field for advanced skiers and expert snowboarders.  Also make sure to check out our guide to the best things to do in Wanaka if you’re spending a bit more time here.

Treble Cone Ski Passes

Treble Cone Ski Passes are the same price as Cardrona and multi-day passes can be used at either mountain.  There are discounts available for children, students and seniors, plus passes get cheaper as you purchase subsequent days.

1-day Lift Pass – $150. Includes a full-day lift pass to access the entire mountain.

Multi-Day Lift Pass – $280 – $500. 2-5 day lift passes.  Do not need to be used consecutively and additional days get cheaper as you purchase more.

1-day Lift Pass + Rental – $185. A full-day lift pass including gear rental.  Additional days get cheaper as you purchase more. Exceptional value if you don’t own a board or skis.

How to Get From Queenstown to Treble Cone

Driving from Queenstown to Treble Cone takes about 1hr 40min via the Crown Ranges or 2-hours via State Highway 6.  The drive up to Treble Cone is 7km along a well-maintained gravel road.  A 2WD will be adequate for this drive but bring snow chains and fit them when necessary.

The Crown Ranges is a beautifully scenic route but the high elevation means it can succumb to poor conditions so make sure to check for closures before heading out.

There is no bus from Queenstown but if you are staying in Wanaka you can book a bus from town to Treble Cone.

Drive to Treble Cone Ski Area.

Queenstown Ski Season 2022

The 2022 Queenstown ski season will run from mid-June until late-October depending on weather conditions.  Queenstown has one of the longest ski seasons in the Southern Hemisphere which means you can typically have a great time even early and late in the seasons.

Here are the ski season dates set by each of the ski resorts:

Cardrona Alpine Resort: 11 June – 16 October 2022

Coronet Peak Ski Area: 17 June – 25 September 2022

The Remarkables Ski Area: 18 June – 16 October 2022

Treble Cone Ski Area: 25 June – 25 September 2022

Queenstown Ski Accommodation

Queenstown accommodation is abundant, however, it can quickly book up during the peak snow season from July to September.  If you want the best Queenstown ski accommodation at the best prices you’ll want to book as far in advance as possible.

For luxury travellers, we’ve stayed at the stunning Rees hotel on the shores of Lake Wakatipu.  The Rees is a gorgeous 5-star hotel with impeccable service, a modern fit-out and breathtaking views.  If you have the budget, The Rees is the best place to stay in Queenstown.  You can check out prices and book The Rees here.

The Rees is our favourite Queenstown ski accommodation.

For mid-range travellers we recommend The Canyon’s B&B.  This gorgeous BnB has everything you need including great views over the Shotover River and an impressive spa.  When we stayed the hosts were extremely kind and accommodating. You can check out prices and book Canyon’s B&B here.

For backpackers (or really anyone looking for cheaper accommodation) we have two favourites: Adventure Q2 and Absoloot.  Both hostels are super conveniently located in town, with Absoloot being more central but Adventure Q2 being closer to some free parking.  We’d highly recommend either – we stayed in private rooms which were really nice but heard the dorms were good too.

Queenstown Ski Passes

Queenstown ski passes tend to be consistently priced across all four ski fields. For 1-day lift passes you can expect to pay around $140-150, with prices decreasing as you book subsequent days.

Although there are four ski fields, there are only two companies operating which means multi-day lift passes can be used at multiple mountains.

On top of day passes, all ski fields offer season passes that allow you full access to their ski fields as often as you like during the ski season.  Pricing for these is typically cheaper the earlier you book, with the cheapest prices found shortly after the end of the previous season.  

It pays to do the maths, but if you plan to ski frequently in one season then a season pass is a worthwhile investment. If you’re living in Queenstown, then we’d recommend the Coronet Peak/Remarkables season pass due to convenience.

Renting Ski Gear in Queenstown

Renting ski gear in Queenstown during winter is extremely easy and convenient.  If you’re after the easiest option then your best bet is book gear rental when you purchase your lift pass.

However, the gear rental areas on the mountains can get pretty busy delaying how quickly you can get onto the slopes.  They also typically run with inflated pricing and the gear can be quite ‘used’, albeit well-maintained.

We usually bring our own gear but our preference and advice is to rent your gear the night before in town.  Torpedo7 has a good ski gear rental shop which we were very happy with the one time we needed to hire some gear.  

This usually works out a bit cheaper than hiring on the mountain and you can pick everything up the night before, meaning you’re ready to head straight out onto the slope in the morning.

Best Time to Go Skiing in Queenstown

The best time to go skiing in Queenstown is between mid-June and late-October.  Most resorts will have abundant snowfall during these dates, however, you may wish to time your snow trip closer to the middle of the season.

It’s also worth checking out school holiday dates before heading to the slopes.  Ski fields are popular activities during the school holidays and Queenstown can get pretty hectic.  Unless you have kids, we’d recommend avoiding these dates.



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