New Plymouth Live Cam

Located beside the breakwater across from the clubrooms


Hosted by:
  • New Plymouth Sport Fishing Underwater Club
  • Ocean View Parade - New Plymouth
  • 4310 New Zealand
  • 06 758 3901
  • [email protected]

Ski New Zealand

New Zealand's ski industry has come a long way in the past 10 years and now offers an extensive range of ski fields some of which offer world class facilities to match the undeniable world class skiing. Indeed the skiing is so good here that professionals from the northern hemisphere choose New Zealand as their preferred training ground for the off-season. What better tribute could you get than that?

New Zealand boasts no less than 12 commercial ski areas which are complemented by a dozen or more club fields all of which offer different facilities, terrain and atmosphere. The ski season generally starts in early to mid June although some fields have been known to open as early as mid May. Most seasons conclude during October but, with the unusual weather patterns of recent years, skiers have been able to cruise right on through to Christmas and the New Year!

North Island Skiing

Don't be fooled! The South Island, while certainly offering awesome skiing opportunities, is not the only part of New Zealand in which you can ski. The North Island offers superb skiing possibilities and should not be overlooked in any enthusiastic haste to get South.

The main focus of attention for skiing in the north is the mighty Mount Ruapehu smack in the middle of the island just south of Lake Taupo. On the face of it you would be better advised to steer clear from skiing the slopes of an active volcano but this advice would rob you of the opportunity to experience some of the most unique skiing our country has to offer. Where else can you ski from the crater lake of an active volcano and choose from runs ranging from wide open pistes to some of the most challenging, black diamond runs anywhere.

Ruapehu is home to the two largest and most developed ski fields in the country; Whakapapa on the north face and Turoa on the south. Both fields offer international class facilities and easy access on sealed roads. An added advantage is the ability to choose between the fields each day depending on the weather or your desire to ski different terrain. Even though the fields are on the same mountain the weather at each can be significantly different. It is often the case that one will stay open when the other is closed. Basing yourself either at National Park (for Whakapapa) or Ohakune (for Turoa), it is only a short 3/4 hour drive to the opposite side should the field closest to you be closed.

Whakapapa's facilities are the envy of every other ski field in the country and have become the benchmark against which other's are measured. This isn't to say that the skiing here is any better than elsewhere in the country although it does take a lot of beating. Learners are well catered for at Happy Valley, Whakapapa's stand alone beginners area, with a platter lift, six rope tows and sheltered gentle terrain. Intermediate skiers can enjoy over 30 groomed trails and for experts there are the famous steep chutes and couloirs that have led to Whakapapa's fame as a `skiers mountain'.

Turoa has developed rapidly over the past few years and offers a similar level of facilities to those at Whakapapa. It features the biggest vertical drop of any of New Zealand's commercial ski areas while maintaining excellent learners facilities and a wide range of tuition and coaching options. At both of these fields the only limits are your imagination as there is a huge variety of terrain to choose from. Ski seasons can run from early June until mid November with some of the best skiing being in November, and each year more lifts are being installed, opening up new terrain and increasing the playgrounds which attract skiers from around the world.

South Island

It is here that New Zealand's international class as a ski destination originates and it is here that you will undoubtedly experience skier's heaven. With the stunning Southern Alps running virtually the entire length of the South Island the skiing possibilities are limitless. Add to this the opportunities to ski areas previously inaccessible until the advent of helicopters and you have the recipe for an extraordinary ski experience.

The South Island also boasts the largest number of club fields which should not be overlooked by the demanding skier who is always in search of something a little different. While not offering the same standards of facilities as the larger, commercial fields, these fields do offer some of the best skiing around although it may be a little harder to get to. This extra effort can be what makes the skiing that much more rewarding.

At the top of the island is the Rainbow Valley Ski area which offers ideal terrain and facilities for first time and intermediate skiers as well as families. Situated near St Anaud, Rainbow Valley is about one and ahalf hours from Nelson or Blenheim with an easy (and quite specatular!) access road. On the Ski area itself there are magnificent views of Lake Rotoiti, Nelson Lakes National Park and Tasman Bay.

Mount Hutt Ski area has developed the enviable reputation of being the first field to open each season. Within easy reach of Christchurch it has become a favourite destination for local skiers as well as hosting a number of international ski events each season attracting top class skiers from all over the world. Dotted around the Canterbury region are a number of club fields all worthy of mention and all offering something different in the way of ski terrain, facilities and atmosphere. All provide a non stop supply of friendliness and often uncrowded skiing on pristine slopes. Ask for information on these fields from the Visitoršs Centre in Christchurch.

Further south to the Southern Lakes region, lie four world class ski fields all within easy reach of either Queenstown or Wanaka. This is the cradle of winter based activities in New Zealand and you will never have time to be bored since there is always something going on. Coronet Peak and The Remarkables offer extensive skiing within a short drive from Queenstown. Also on offer from Queenstown is the internationally renowned Harris Mountain Heli-skiing which is a definite treat for the serious skier.

The advantage of a stay in Queenstown is the lively night life with the huge number of bars, restaurants and night clubs which buzz throughout the year and impart a distinctive vibrancy during the winter months. Add to this the range of accommodation possibilities and the ease with which you can get to the slopes and Queenstown becomes a Mecca for skiers of all abilities. Watch out for the annual Queenstown Winter Festival (July) which is a great week to be in Queenstown - make sure you book ahead!

Wanaka is base for both Cardrona and Treble Cone skifields. Treble Cone is about a 30 minute drive from the township of Wanaka and has developed a reputation as an advanced skiers domain although a lot of effort has been put in over recent years to develop more terrain suitable to beginners and intermediate skiers. A new `Go Slow' zone and the TC Cat club for children are examples of this. The 660m of vertical skiing over convoluted and changing terrain remains Treble Cone's greatest attribute and the regular north west snow throughout winter makes for awesome `powder days'. Both the Norwegian Alpine ski team and the New Zealand freestyle team use Treble Cone as a base for training.

In 1994 New Zealand's second halfpipe was put in place at Treble Cone to cater for the growing number of snowboarders. The current lift system of a double chair and two T-bars is soon to be upgraded to a 6 person high speed detachable operating from the base area. The manufacturer, Austrian based Doppelmayr Lift Company wish to showcase this new technology at Treble Cone where it will be the first of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere. Treble Cone is also the only ski area in the country to offer the acclaimed Skiers Edge course.

Due to its northerly aspect Treble Cone has an abundance of sunshine so it would pay to take a suitable sunblock as well as camera to capture the stunning lake views that have become its signature.

Cardrona, also around a 30 minute drive from Wanaka is known as the family ski field and offers three distinct ski areas each with it's own degree of difficulty, providing something for everyone. There are several purpose built beginner runs which lead onto wide rolling trails for intermediates. Experts may wish to check out the Arcadia Chutes, where the New Zealand Extreme Skiing competition is held each year.

The resort is quite spread out with only 390m of vertical drop yet it runs several kilometres long. It's south east aspect means it can be a little cold early in the season, by New Zealand standards, but the very dry snow conditions earn it unstinting praise from visitors, particularly North Americans. Three chairlifts, two quads and a double ferry skiers around the three basins which make up Cardrona ensure minimal queues.

Again a lot of emphasis has been placed on snowboarding and Cardrona offers more in the way of specific runs for `shredders' than most fields. New Zealand's first half pipe was built here in 1990 and the New Zealand Snowboard National Championships have been held at Cardrona for the past four years.

Unique to Cardrona are `on mountain' luxury apartments, the only accommodation situated on the slopes of any ski area in New Zealand. An additional restaurant, purpose built on mountain creche and a medical centre are some of the new features of the resort.

The accommodation in Wanaka is as varied as the skiing. The Edgewater Resort hotel is in a prime spot spreading down to the lakefront, the ducks frequently making house calls! There are a large number of two and three star motels and motor inns scattered through the town and increasingly popular are homestays and lodges.

As you can see the skiing in New Zealand is extensive and, if that is what you've come to New Zealand to do, you can rest assured knowing you've chosen from amongst some of the best ski opportunities on offer, anywhere!