Today marks the first day that the Aussie / NZ bubble is open.
Thank god it’s happening before winter. After last season with our Victorian resorts shut, our NSW resorts capped, and a downright garbage snowfall. Plus with no Japow this summer, we’re all overly amped to headback into the mountains and get some solid riding under our belts this season…there’s some lost time that needs to be made up for.
And what better way to get some international travel than heading to what Travis Rice calls little Alaska.
Here’s a few tips to get you pumped and primed for a NZ Winter adventure.
If you’re looking for less crowds, NZ is for sure the best option.
Even with the bubble opening. Most won’t be willing to take the risk. So, with a little risk could be massive reward as NZ can provide the best conditions and terrain. Less people, more turns…
The airlines are going to try to incentivise travel. So, you will be able to snag a deal. Check out Qantas and Air NZ and look to fly no early than mid-July and no later than mid- September.
The best riding is on the South Island (wich also happens to be one of the most beautiful places on Earth). If you can swing it, book a flight into Queenstown Airport. The next best option would be to fly into a major city in the South Island (Christchurch or Dunedin), and rent a car or van from there.
Resorts to Hit?
You can hit the big boys or the club fields.
To start, you’ll want to make your way to Queenstown and Wanaka. These two towns are only about an hour apart by car and both have beautiful alpine lakes surrounded by snowcapped mountains in the winter. Queenstown is a bit more developed and has more of a party scene, and Wanaka is more laid back with a traditional snow town feel. We recommend spending a couple nights in either place if you can swing it.
It’s debatable, but if you ask any local they’ll probably send you straight to Treble Cone. Treble Cone is known for getting the best and most snow in the region and has the best expert terrain. But all the options are solid.
The Club Fields
Once you have your legs back after some resort riding, it’s time to pack up the car and make your way to the Canterbury club fields.These bare bones areas are scattered around the northern part of the South Island and are a truly unique experience. You won’t find any fancy frills at these club fields and most of them don’t even have chair lifts, but what you will find is a way to the top of the mountain, amazing uncrowded terrain, and the real soul of skiing. They generally use a system of rope tows and a ‘nutcracker’ harness to get you to the top. It takes a bit of getting used to, but it becomes quite fun once you get the hang of it.
If you want to tie in some après. Visit at the same time as the Snow Machine Festival happening in September. They have an insane line up of artists and some solid packages on offer
Backcountry riding in New Zealand beats what’s on offer in Australia. If you’re inspired after watching Natural Selection, a heli riding experience might help you channel your inner Zoi Sadowski-Synnott. You saved all your boozing money over COVID right? Neither did we, but still there are a bunch of options going around.
Pass to Buy
We think the Mountain Collective is good option. It allows you to enjoy the best of both Australia (Thredbo & Mt Buller) and NZ. As it covers some of the best resorts in both countries.
Check it out, with the Mountain Collective Pass, you’d get 2 days of riding ready to go when you get to NZ. They can be used at Coronet Peak, The Remarkables or Mt Hutt, plus then 50% off for any additional day after that. You’ll then need to get some day passes at the other resorts. But don’t worry, you won’t be paying $170 a day like in Aus.
Click here for more details on the 2021/22 Mountain Collective Pass