How To Do a Ski Season in New Zealand Right

Guy LaDouche |
'Treble Cone, Wanaka NZ' Photo: Darren Teasdale
Treble Cone, Wanaka NZ Photo: Darren Teasdale

So you wanna take a short ski trip down to New Zealand during the summer? That’s cool… You wanna spend the summer doing an entire ski season down in New Zealand? Now we’re talking.

Maybe you’ve done a few northern hemisphere winters already and you’re looking to keep that healthy addiction going… or maybe you’re having a quarter life crisis and hate that dead-end job that you go into every day… or maybe you went to Stanfud and you have a nice trust fund that let’s you f*¢k off and do whatever you want. Regardless of your reasons, you can’t go wrong with a ski season in New Zealand.

New Zealand's Southern Alps
New Zealand’s Southern Alps

If you’re on the fence, I’ll share with you a little quote that really pushed me over the edge. There was this dude who was the world’s richest apple farmer. He sadly died in in 2011 and his wisdom was being shared all over the internet.

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

– Steve Jobs

The ski season generally runs from mid-late June to October, so get that 2-week notice ready.

#camperlife Photo: Yimmers
#camperlife Photo: Yimmers

If you would like to work and support yourself while in New Zealand (trust fund babies can scroll down to the next section), you should apply for a Working Holiday Visa. The rules vary slightly by country, but you can generally get a 12 month visa to work and travel around New Zealand if you are 30 or younger. There is a huge lack of awareness of this great opportunity in America, which is a big shame. This is ideal for getting a ski town job and shredding your brains out in one of the most beautiful places on earth.

If you can afford to take few months without working and just want to ski everyday, a visitor/tourist visa should do the trick. Again, depending on your home country, the rules will vary slightly.

The Pinnacles on Mt. Ruapehu on New Zealand's North Island
The Pinnacles on Mt. Ruapehu on New Zealand’s North Island

Once you get the visa sorted, you have to decide where to go. Most of the skiing is on the South Island, (with Treble Cone being the biggest) although there is some phenomenal skiing on the North Island. Mt. Ruapehu on the Central North Island has 2 commercial ski fields with some great terrain, but the weather can be quite brutal and there’s not much else to do up there. The South Island has an adventure hub in Queenstown and Wanaka with 4 commercial ski areas in close proximity. If you were to spend an entire season in one place, this would be my top choice. There are also small club fields on the South Island which are a can’t miss experience if you are on a New Zealand Ski trip. Here are 2 reports to give you a little tease of what the club fields have to offer:

Temple Basin, NZ Conditions Report: Powder & Backflips

Craigieburn, New Zealand – The Club Field Experience

If you rush, you can still make it out this summer. If not, you’ve got plenty of time to plan for next summer. Just remember…

“If you don’t do it this year, you’ll be one year older when you do.” 

-Warren Miller

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