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Queenstown/Southern Lakes 2018

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Planning on checking out NZ flights very soon for a trip in a year's time Very Happy. Plan is to combine some skiing/our first visit to NZ with a trip to Oz to visit friends who live in NSW. We skied at Perisher and Thredbo (great snow, great time) on our first Antipodean trip to visit the said mates in 2015 - so this time it's destination NZ wink.

So the million $ question is, when should we aim to ski if planning a trip to the Queenstown ski areas? Would late July generally be a goer? Or should we aim for later?

Supplementary Q: We also love other outdoor stuff like mountain biking and hiking. Any recommended trails for either at that time of year Puzzled. Or any general hints and tips for that matter?

Thanks in anticipation. Smile
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Late July should be good as the school holiday madness usually ends at the end of the third week of the month. Snow should be good and weather can be settled but it's possible to get any weather at any time here.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
A bit of snow yesterday (5 to 20cms) to freshen things up and a glorious day today for those lucky enough to not be working. A bit more forecast for mid week so fingers crossed.
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You need to Login to know who's really who.
@mountainaddict, excited for you, agree with @Sarge McSarge, late July/August is as good a bet as any for plenty of fresh snow. I would ordinarily suggest the Great Walks as they are much cheaper during the off-season for international visitors, the Routeburn Track is world class and close to Queenstown, but the higher portions (Harris Saddle 1250m) are within reach of avalanches so usually avoided in winter and early spring and not sure how many other tracks share that winter risk profile. Best reference is the Department of Conservation website :
https://www.doc.govt.nz/parks-and-recreation/things-to-do/walking-and-tramping/great-walks/
The Great Walks are multi day hikes, there are plenty of day walks to do around the mountains of the South. The likes of Roys Peak in Wanaka, spectacular but weather and snow cover dependent. We were in Hanmer Springs last month, did a short walk up Conical Peak (550m) with the wife & 1yo and plenty of folks were passing us heading up Mt Isobel (1324m), there wasnt much snow cover to speak of so fairly uneventful but another year could be snow down to the valley. Best bet to check in with the Info Centres on arrival and pick out that which suit ability and the conditions. Happy researching, any further queries sing out snowHead
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Thanks Skiwi 55 - some useful pointers.

Seems like conditions are still pretty decent. When does the skiing around Queenstown normally close?
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You'll need to Register first of course.
@mountainaddict, Usually runs till the first or second weekend in October. Lots of bike trails down in the valley below the snow line so that's always there if you want a change from the snow
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Just a some light showers this week add a few cm's. That and a bit of snow making has kept the surface nice but no powder for us here. The groomed has been in great condition and the off piste has a nice chalky surface but a bit lumpy at lower elevations. A cloudy start but it cleared to a beautiful day today.


Queenstown getting sun through the cloulds




Base area



Not so busy on the Exchange today




The top of The Remarkables from the Lunch Rocks

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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Today is the first dayof the NZ Winter Games. Nearly 850 athletes form around the world competing over two weeks mainly in the mountains near Queenstown and Wanaka. Should be some good competition.
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You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
Good pix.
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
The deed is done! Flights are now booked and we'll be off on our Antipodean Adventure in July 2019.

Can't wait - we'll be visiting Singapore and Oz en route (we have friends in Canberra) then flying into Queenstown for 12 nights. We arrive there just after the school holidays finish wink.

Already spoiled for choice on stuff to do on the South Island Very Happy. Not a bad dilemma though!

Could be looking at 7 or 8 days skiing, spread between different areas. Is there any kind of area ski pass for Queenstown? Or will we need do get separate tickets?

Might also look at a heli day as never done it before...
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 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
@mountainaddict, congratulations! Stoked! Big kudos for gritting the teeth, counting to 3 and booking the big bird down under! There must be a faint genetic connection to James Cook in every Brit who makes the effort, it's a helluva flight but you'll be grinning like a sH emoji at the joy of winter in July snowHead

I like the staging of your trip, like a good meal out, starting in Singapore with a few cocktails (although a couple 32C 100% humidity days will have you hankering for a bit more of the subzero crystalline H2O than what's in your Singapore Sling), Canberra as the gateway to Perisher/Thredbo the appetiser (potato & leek soup is a good analogy to Aussie snow Toofy Grin Toofy Grin )... then on to the snowy peaks of NZ, the main course NehNeh try to get a window seat for the flight into Queenstown, this is what you have to look forward to...
http://youtube.com/v/7mxmFCw-Dig Very Happy Very Happy

You will not regret a heli-ski, it is an unforgettable experience. The operators around Queenstown are top notch and the mountains get bigger and the snow deeper the further back you get towards the main divide. Untracked powder as deep as you want it. And the scenery is unmatched from above. If you bring a surf board and wetsuit, they can even fly right over to the west coast and you can ski the morning, surf the afternoon...

Definitely keep us posted as you firm up an itinerary, we'll be happy to help any way we can.

Happy planning!! Very Happy
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
@mountainaddict, best bet for a ski pass in Queenstown is to get in on the early bird deals on www.nzski.com - Mid October through to about end of January - this year was $450 for all three of their hills season pass (Coronet, Remarkables in Queenstown and Mt Hutt in Canterbury). That breaks even in about 4 days v buying day passes.

Another good option is to hire a car from Juicy rentals, they usually do a deal where they give you a free day pass for Treble Cone for each rental day - car hire is a lot less than the day pass which is daylight robbery at $135.....Makes sense to hire the car and park it round the corner and leave it if you plan to ski TC.

I was in Wanaka this weekend, went to Cardrona Saturday. Wind closed it on Sunday. Would have made more sense to take a surfboard given how slushy the snow was. Absolutely had to be back in Christchurch by today, with 40cm forecast for last night and today. Tomorrow (Tuesday) will be great down that way.

Definitely do a heli day - awesome fun Happy


I've heard good things about Harris Mountain.
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
Thirty plus cm's by 06.00 this morning and then another 6hrs heavy snow fall. About 15cm's down at my house which is 800m lower than the lowest lifts. Reports of as much as 75cm's at the top of some of the areas. Snowing lightly on the mountains again this evening so tomorrow should be great for those that are not working.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Thanks for the responses, words of advice and hints & tips - all greatly appreciated. Very Happy

That season pass suggestion could well be a go-er!

That video is fantastic - but, sadly, we'll land at Q'town in the dark...(mid evening) rolling eyes

Will keep you posted re our arrangements.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
After the nice fall last week the weather has reverted to spring with some lovely warm temperatures down in the valleys. The new snow has all been tracked out so ungroomed is now pretty lumpy and needs to be broken down a bit more. Groomed is pretty nice but softens for the afternoons.

The remarkable from before the new snow

The park from the top of the Curvy Basin chair.




Double Cone from the Sugar bowl.




Lake Hayes




Coronet Peak

Quiet times on the Hurdle



Nearly enough snow now.



Top of the area from Rocky Gully.

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