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When is the best time to ski in Queenstown?

Keen to hit the slopes in this picturesque South Island town? Read on to find out the best time to go.

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Queenstown is well worth a visit year-round. But the city does get all four seasons, so if you're planning to hit the slopes at The Remarkables or Coronet Peak while you're in town, make sure to visit when the conditions are just right.

When is the best time to ski in Queenstown?

When is the overall best time to ski in Queenstown?

Early July and September are just before and after the peak season and avoid the large crowds coming from overseas.

By early July, the lifts would have been running for up to a month and a decent base should coat the slopes, with most of the terrain open.

September is toward the end of the season, but most runs are still open at this time. Since the peak months are mid-July and August, most of the crowds should have dissipated by then.

If you're not a teacher or travelling with kids, we also recommend visiting before or after the July school holidays. These will be some of the busiest weeks both in town and on the slopes, which drives demand for accommodation way up. You'll find this is the most expensive time to go.

When should I go skiing in Queenstown for the best conditions?

Mid-July to the end of August bring the best conditions to Queenstown's ski resorts. This is mid-winter, when the temperatures are at their lowest, meaning there's less chance of slushy or icy conditions.

Compared to surrounding months, July sees the least number of days with precipitation, so you'll have the greatest chance of bluebird days by travelling then.

Keep in mind July school holidays will be the busiest time.

When is the cheapest time to go skiing in Queenstown?

June and October, the beginning and end of ski season in New Zealand, are the cheapest months to travel while you can still hit the slopes. However, this may mean fewer runs open and slushier conditions. If conditions aren't ideal once you're there, you could still be in luck – late-June is also when the Queenstown Winter Festival is on.

While lift pass prices may not change much throughout the season, there's less demand for flights and accommodation in Queenstown right at the beginning and right at the end of the ski season. This usually brings a drop in prices as well.

The best ski fields around Queenstown

  • Coronet Peak: Coronet Peak is one of New Zealand's most popular ski destinations and is the closest ski field to Queenstown. It can be accessed by catching the Coronet Peak ski bus from downtown Queenstown or by car. This ski field is ideal for families and large groups as it caters for all skill levels. Coronet Peak usually opens in early June.
  • The Remarkables: An approximate 45-minute drive from Queenstown, The Remarkables mountain range offers terrain and facilities for all skiers. You'll usually be able to start hitting the slopes from early June.
  • Cardrona: If you're planning a family holiday to the slopes, Cardrona is a great place to bring the kids. With learner-friendly slopes and an on-mountain kids club along with private and group ski lessons, Cardrona does not disappoint when it comes to finding a ski field that pleases everyone. Early June is when the ski season usually commences here.
  • Treble Cone: Boasting epic views and the longest vertical rise in the Southern Lakes, Treble Cone is the largest ski resort on New Zealand's South Island and caters mostly to intermediate and advanced skiers. Although it's closer to Wanaka, it's still easily accessible from Queenstown. The resort usually opens in early June.

Make your way to the ski fields near Queenstown without a hassle by hiring a car in advance.

Frequently asked questions about skiing in Queenstown

When is the best time to go heli-skiing in Queenstown?

Heli-skiing is a popular activity for thrill seekers visiting Queenstown. The best time to go is between August and early September, as this is when the snow is deep and the weather is fairly clear.

Where can I hire ski equipment in Queenstown?

Hiring equipment is ideal if you don't want to use up your baggage allowance with your ski gear or you're not a seasonal skier. You can hire rental equipment from Coronet Peak and The Remarkables including ski and snowboard equipment, clothing and overnight storage lockers. You can insure your rental equipment for $3 per item per day, too.

For hassle-free ski hire in Queenstown, check out these retailers for great quality equipment, fantastic service and prices that won't hurt your wallet.

  • Snow Rental Queenstown: Ski and snowboard equipment, clothing and accessories for hire. Book your ski hire online early and enjoy discounts up to 30%. Swap between skis and boards at no extra charge. You can also opt to have days off during your hire period. 39 Camp St, Queenstown
  • One Stop Snow Shop: Ski and snowboards, winter clothing, helmets and other accessories available for hire. One Stop Snow Shop also provides package deals that include lift passes, lessons and transport. Book online to save 20%. Station Building Duke St, Queenstown
  • Browns Ski Shop: Browns Ski Shop has brand-new boards and skis with every season and washed quality clothing. Equipment insurance is included in the price and it also provides delivery and pick-up to most major hotels in Queenstown. 4 Brecon St, Queenstown

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