New Zealand skiing with kids

Why New Zealand is a great place for skiing with kids 

The beauty of a NZ snow holiday in the Queenstown region is variety. You can ski or snowboard different snowfields every day and there’s plenty of off-piste action and entertainment to fill up any days when the weather’s dodgy or your legs just need a day off the slopes.

Increasing competition for the snow dollar means that individual ski-fields often partner with other resorts with offers that save time and money and make life easier for their patrons. From combining skiing with sight-seeing to cash-free mountain MyPass, here’s our crash-course in making the most of your winter week in New Zealand on and off the slopes. 


Coronet Peak and The Remarkables are sister resorts, and their parent company goes to great lengths to facilitate skiers and boarders moving easily between the two.

All your mountain details, including equipment rental sizes and settings and lesson history are stored on a MyPass card, used by both resorts (and also by Mt Hutt in Canterbury). These personalized cards store your lift pass, lesson history and equipment rental details, allowing you to move between the two resorts seamlessly. You can rent gear at The Remarkables, but return it to Coronet Peak (or vice versa).


The MyPass card above also doubles as the Queenstown Superpass, giving you access not only to the slopes at Coronet Peak and The Remarkables but off-mountain activities too.

Essentially you charge up your MyPass card with mountain dollars, to pay for on-mountain purchases such as lift tickets, equipment rental and lessons as well as food and drink. If you want a day off the slopes, you can exchange the equivalent of a day’s skiing (valued at $78 for 2015) for credit towards an activity such as bungy jumping with AJ Hackett, a scenic flight to Milford Sound, a ride on the Shotover or Dart River jet boats or even a day wine tasting with Queenstown Wine Trail. The Queenstown Superpass can also be used in selected retail stores. It’s non-transferable and conditions do apply.


Wanaka’s snow playgrounds, Cardrona and Treble Cone, have for several years offered a combined pass that gives access to both resorts. An updated version of the pass will be introduced for the 2015 season with Flexi passes available for three or five days. You can choose on a daily basis which ski area to visit and the pass does not need to be used on consecutive days.


If you need to rent equipment and have lessons while you’re on the slopes, consider a package deal. Every resort offers them and they always work out cheaper than purchasing each item separately. 


Skiing and snowboarding are ideal family holidays but buying multiple lift passes can get expensive. Which makes the Kids Ski Free policy (for children six and under) at Coronet Peak and Remarkables enticing. Over at Mt Hutt in the Canterbury region children 10 and under ski free making a family ski holiday even more affordable.


Coronet Peak is only 20 minutes from Queenstown and has the longest opening hours of any resort in New Zealand, meaning you can really get your money’s worth.

Head to the mountain by 8am for First Tracks, skiing or boarding on freshly groomed or freshly fallen snow. On Friday and Saturday nights from July until mid-September there’s night skiing from 4pm to 9pm, featuring the the Park after Dark and Air Bag.


The New Zealand season normally runs from early June to mid October, with spring skiing and snowboarding offering almost empty mountains, crisp sunny days, but still good snow. If you avoid the New Zealand school holidays you might just find that your child’s group lesson ends up being a private one.


While your raison d’etre might be to hit the slopes, there are dozens of other must-do activities in and around Queenstown and Wanaka. The only problem you’ll have is fitting them all in.

Take the Skyline gondola to Bob’s Peak, and ride the thrilling Skyline Luge. Speed through narrow canyons on the exhilarating Shotover Jet. Explore the vibrant café and restaurant scene in Queenstown and step back in time at the well-preserved mining village of Arrowtown. Drive across the Crown Range to Wanaka, situated on its own picturesque lake, and explore the many wineries around Bannockburn and Cromwell which have given Central Otago such a glorious reputation.

For more information on skiing and snowboarding holidays in New Zealand, visit New Zealand Ski.