The Queenstown skiing season runs from mid-June to mid-October each year. Each of the four Queenstown ski fields announces its projected opening and closing dates in advance. However, these may vary based on snow conditions.
As you plan your Queenstown ski holiday, choose travel dates based on what you want from your experience and which dates your preferred ski field will be open.
In general, Cardrona Alpine Resort is the most reliable ski field in terms of honouring its opening and closing dates. This is because the ski field has sheltered slopes, a high elevation, and extensive snowmaking capabilities.
However, flexible lift passes mean you can ski at a different resort if one of the ski fields isn’t open when you visit.
Read on for a breakdown of the Queenstown skiing season month by month.
Some skiers avoid June ski holidays because the ski fields don’t always open on schedule. However, skiing in June is rewarding for many reasons.
Firstly, Queenstown’s Winterfest draws visitors from around the world for a week of festive seasonal events. Enjoy a packed schedule of events on-mountain and off, from free live entertainment to hilarious challenges. Add to this an enticing array of food and beverage stands and festive lights around the city, and you have Queenstown’s favourite annual event.
Secondly, June is the tail end of New Zealand’s only off season, which means rock-bottom accommodation prices.
And thirdly, crowds don’t descend onto the ski fields until the start of the school holidays. This means you can enjoy a few weeks of wide-open runs and short lines at check-in.
July is by far the most popular month of the Queenstown skiing season, because this is when both New Zealand and Australia’s school holidays fall. Snow conditions improve as the month goes on.
If you decide to travel in July, be sure to book your ski holiday far in advance. Family accommodation in Queenstown often fills up as early as January. If you wait until the last minute, you will end up paying inflated prices–if you can find somewhere to stay at all.
If you can travel outside the school holidays, August is the obvious choice for your Queenstown ski holiday. With the most reliable snow cover of the season, August brings warmer days and lessening crowds.
August is your best chance of scoring a few powder days. However, conditions vary from year to year, so there’s no reason to postpone your ski holiday if you can’t travel in August.
September brings warmer weather, spring snow conditions, and deep discounts. September ski deals typically offer free days of skiing with multi-day passes, so this is the perfect time to visit if you want to save big.
In addition, most of the ski crowds have cleared away by September, which means you can enjoy uncrowded runs.
Keep in mind that warmer weather means snow tends to melt during the day and re-freeze at night. In other words, a later start could help you avoid the worst of the ice.
One or two Queenstown ski fields generally remain open in October. Cardrona Alpine Resort typically closes in mid-October, while the other Queenstown ski fields vary their closing dates each year.
Some Kiwi families take advantage of the October ski holidays to fit in a few days of skiing, but the ski fields rarely see families from overseas this late in the season. The snow is soft, the weather is warm, and some of the lower runs might be closed.
Typically the snow is best in August. However, the best time to ski in New Zealand depends on what you want from your ski holiday. September brings deep discounts, while June is when Queenstown’s Winterfest happens each year.
Typically snow does not fall as low as the town centre in Queenstown. However, the town may receive a small dusting of snow once or twice per winter.
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