Q & A's - Skiing 2022

A Locals Guide to Skiing in Queenstown

Our local ski fields - The Remarkables and Coronet Peak are now open for good times!  And yes, it's the holidays right now, but there is plenty of snow in Queenstown, so come stay and play with us and enjoy the best start to a season we've had in years!

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If you've skied here before you'll know the general information already, so we've created a Q&A blog to help answer some of your unusual questions or questions of general public interest:


What is the cost of a cappuccino in mountain cafes?

Coffee in NZ generally is a little more expensive than in other countries, and then add a bit when on the mountains.  Expect to pay $NZD5+ for a cappuccino.  A large milky coffee is called just a plain 'Latte' and these can cost in excess of $6.50NZD!  Most importantly, budget up to 20 minutes time to have it made (during busy periods).  Don't ask us why, but this is one queue that never seems to shorten! 


How much should I budget for lunch?

The cafes on both mountains have serve-yourself buffet-style restaurants that cater for the more 'fast food' experience - chips, pies, pizza, hotdogs etc.  But they also offer meals such as curry + rice, or pork rolls (our absolute favourite!).  If you add a beverage to your meal, you won't see much change from $30NZD pp.


Which mountain is better for starters

The Remarkables!  The learner's slope is ideal to get your confidence up on, and then the progression to the longer, higher lifts is an easier step up than over at Coronet Peak


Which mountain is more family-friendly

The Remarkables!  For skiing anyway.  Its more open terrain, fun parks designed for children, and a higher percentage of intermediate slopes make it ideal for a fun day out!  However, the facilities and lessons designed by the awesome team in the childcare over at Coronet Peak are really really good.  So if you want to drop and go, then head to CP!

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Is night skiing fun for younger families?

Ok, to answer this question we need to proceed with a bit of caution.  Please remember, this is our personal experience and opinions being expressed, as locals.  Coronet Peak's night skiing, when it was first established was all about bringing the family up and enjoying pizza and pinot on the mountain.  We have seen and attended, many kids' birthday parties under the bright night lights and had enormous amounts of fun.  In more recent years though, the focus has shifted to hosting live bands & DJs which as expected (and targeted), has brought a robust youth crowd that doesn't always respect other skiers and boarders on the mountain especially when alcohol is added into that mix. 

Our suggestion is, absolutely consider taking your young family night skiing - it's a great experience - but choose a day without a live band or a headline DJ, and be prepared to call it quits if it gets too dangerous.  


Which is the closest mountain

Door to door, Coronet Peak is the closest.  From Spinnaker Bay Apartments, we say 'if you have your skis and your passes already organised, then it's 30 - 40 minutes door to the ski lift'!  Holiday times are longer of course!


As a snowboarder, which mountain has more boarder-appropriate terrain?  

Head to The Remarkables.  Not only do they have an awesome terrain park but on a powder day - it's pretty unbeatable!  On piste, generally, there is little traversing, and the added openness means skiers and boarders can co-exist happier than at CP.


Is driving up the mountains safe?

It is important to note that during the winter months NZSki 'owns' the access roads up to their mountains.  That means they come under NZSki management and they have the power to stop you from driving on their roads - remember this if you think to complain about chains on powder days!  

Driving up CP and Remarks is always fun and games, especially if you are not an experienced winter driver.  Both mountains have a very very strict road safety philosophy, which if you have driven in snow in the northern hemisphere can seem enormously frustrating and a little too nanny state, but really it's designed to keep you and others safe on the road. 

The roads are sealed (all on CP and most on Remarks) and in dangerous spots have strong guard rails.  They are groomed well and treated before snowfall or frost with chemicals to stop ice forming.  

On a chain call day, you are required to STOP and fit chains where they indicate.  Don't argue, it will end in tears - probably yours, so we strongly suggest you learn how to fit chains on your rental car before you head up the mountain!


How easy is it to rent equipment up on the mountains?

We have to say, the Rentals Manager on Coronet Peak - Jim, has a well-oiled team with a very quick and easy rental process in place - probably the most organised department on the mountain!.  Allow time though for queues if you are coming during the holidays, weekends or busy periods.   You will have to fill in an automated form on the ipads first, then make your way around the equipment and fitting stations.  If it's busy, there will be queues, so allow time!


is the mountain Equipment good?

Short answer... YES!  It's always well looked after by the rentals team and tuned frequently.  You can rent everything you need from clothes to helmets, wrist guards to skis and boards.  If you are an advanced skier, both mountains have a Performance Rentals department with top-end skis and boards available.


Should I wear a helmet?  

Ok, it is not law to wear a helmet in NZ, but maybe it should be!?  Many many European mountains are introducing the rules of mandatory helmet wearing and for a good reason - as indicated in a report published in the National Library of Medicine in the US, it is estimated that 20% of snowsports injuries are head injuries.  So, for the sake of relinquishing a little ego, pride or fashion sense, rent a helmet and keep your noggin safe! Please!  Incidentally, they come with the NZSki rental package!


Can I transfer the passes between the two mountains

Yes - it's that easy!  You can start your day on Coronet Peak in the morning and transfer to The Remarkables in the afternoon, visa versa, and your if you buy bulk days, they are valid at either of the mountains.


What is the best month for skiing?

The ski season in NZ is short in comparison to the northern hemisphere.  Typically, Queenstown's mountains are opened in the second week of June, and then, if the snow sticks around, they'll close in late September or early October.

Most of the snow arrives from July to mid-Aug. And the snowmaking machines have a better chance of making snow during these colder months to top up the base.  So, our favourite time is late August!  

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Can I take a packed lunch up to the mountain?

Yes, but you can't eat it inside, only outside on the decks


Where is the best place to buy tickets or ski passes?

Online at NZSki.com is certainly the easiest method.  And it will save you time standing in queues.  A locals tip...  Buy everything online, then pop into the NZSki customer services offices in town the day before your first day up the mountain to pick up your passes and complete your profile.  It will save you a lot of time!


Do both mountains have night ski?

Nope, unfortunately, only Coronet Peak.


Which mountain opened first in 2022?

Actually, Coronet Peak opened a little earlier than expected with an early snowfall blanketing the mountain.  The Remarks were only a day or two behind!  Such a great start to 2022!