Local facilities 5
(i.e. Restaurants, hire shops)
Slope conditions 3
Lift system 4
Skiing / boarding experience
Apres ski 5
Queenstown. The ideal destination for your NZ snow experience. Located on the shores of Lake Wakatipu, It has an international airport and lots of accomodation options for everyone. Whether you're looking for 5 star hotels, fine dining and quiet cocktail bars or if you're after backpacker hostels, burgers and a rowdy night out, there's something for you! Rental and retail stores aplenty, countless off-snow activities and all in a beautiful setting that has been used as a backdrop for countless movies. Perfect!
Coronet Peak is located around 20 minutes from the middle of Queenstown. You can make the journey by car or by the NZSKI bus, which leaves from the station building in town every 20 mins or so from 8am. Easy trip up a sealed access road.
The new base building was constructed for the 2008 season and has everything you could want. Fully stocked rental shop, retail shop, lockers, cafe, restaurant and an amazing snowsports school.
Once you get out of the base building and onto the snow, you can take a right turn and head to the Meadows express chairlift which accesses the beginner terrain, or take the Coronet express which takes you to the top. From up here you can also ski to the bottom of the other 2 lifts- the Greengates express chairlift and the T-bar.
I find the most fun terrain can be accessed from the top of the Coronet express. On a good snow day this is still my most favourite mountain in the world! the M1 trail winds around to the bottom and as the season goes on, the same natural "side hits" always develop. It's always good to do an M1 hit lap!! As far as challenging, fun terrain goes, check out exchange drop- this is pretty much a natural terrain park where all the natural hits have their own names. Go ask a local where "Oh Jesus" is and hit it at speed. I dare you! Maybe warm up on "Baby Jesus" first actually...
Like I said, a super fun mountain on a good snow day! But let's be honest- those days are few and far between in New Zealand, so to help you out with that Coronet has the biggest snow making system in the southern hemishpere. The guns pump out loads of the white stuff overnight so there's always good turns to be had on the groomers first thing.
Coronet also operates "first tracks" where you can pay extra to ski from 8am, so only people that have paid for this pass get the freshies for the first hour. Also running, during peak season, is night ski where the mountain is lit up by floodlights every Friday and Saturday night until 9pm.
The resort also offers a beginner/intermediate terrain park with small-medium kickers and boxes/rails. During night ski there is an airbag to practice your tricks on, although you have to pay a couple of $'s to use this.
Top tip: Go and get a coffee at Heidi's Hut! But only go down there if you're comfortable using a T-bar lift, as it's the only way out!