New Zealand

A Rookie’s Guide To Planning Your First Queenstown Ski Trip

By Jess Willemse

Thinks To Do Queenstown Skiing Urban List

Snow lovers assemble, we’ve curated your perfect Queenstown ski day. Within easy reach you’ll find luxurious resorts, pristine winter powder, killer views, mulled wine and indulgent eats. Yes this place exists and yes it’s only a few hours away by plane. 

Pack your winter gear and get amped because here’s everything you need to check off on your first Queenstown ski trip. 

Getting There 

Start your Kiwi snow holiday onboard with Air New Zealand, who will get you and your gear to the adventure capital with ease.

Where To Stay 

Queenstown’s highest altitude boutique hotel is an idyllic base for any ski-cation. When you walk into Kāmana Lakehouse you’ll feel one thing—at home. That is, if your home was architecturally designed, had dreamy views of the Remarkables, a mouth-watering on-site restaurant and friendly, expert staff. Having undergone an extensive renovation, the hotel showcases elegant, custom design features and thoughtful amenities throughout. Our favourite part? It’s a tie between the ‘Gram worthy ski-locker and the floor-to-ceiling views from their on-site restaurant, Nest Bar & Kitchen

Thinks To Do Queenstown Skiing Urban List

Ready, Set, Ski 

7:30am | Rise And Shine 

To make the most of your day on the snow, get going early. If mornings aren’t your thing, use breakfast at Nest as your motivation. Tuck into a hearty number like Mexican-style eggs or the drool-worthy buckwheat and banana pancakes, which will easily keep you going until lunch. 

9am | Set Off 

Forget Uber, Kāmana offers an on-call transfer service into QT central. They’ll drop you at The Snow Centre, where you’ll board the bus to Coronet Peak. Once up the mountain (about a twenty minute drive) you’ll be ready to gear up with equipment, boots, helmets and waterproof layers—just make sure to bring your own gloves and goggles. 

Tip: Make your snow day easy and breezy by sorting your MyPass card the day before—just pop into the snow centre and they’ll load your swipe card up with the essentials including transfers, gear, lessons and lift passes. 

10:20am | Learn With Mates

If you’re new to skiing and have dreams of owning the slope—same. We think the best intro to the snow is with a group lesson because everyone is in the same boat. You’ll be matched with people of a similar ability, so there will be a pal to laugh with when you bail (ski lingo for falling over). A group lesson is an affordable way to nail the basics like walking uphill, turning and stopping (read: pizza shape), and within the hour you’ll have aced a few small downhill runs, ready for the ultimate afternoon of skiing. 

12pm | Refuel At Lunch 

For a quick refuel between lessons, head to Coronet Peak Café where you can down a burger, fries and caffeine before heading back out on the slopes. Should you want to indulge in the ultimate après-ski moment, hit up Heidi’s Hut who offer Northern Italian-inspired fare (think pizza, pasta and carbs galore) as well as a mandatory glass of mulled wine. 

1pm | Own The Slope With A Private Lesson 

Get closer to your ski goals with a private afternoon lesson. For three hours you’ll have one-on-one time with your instructor and receive personalised advice on how to move your body, take control of your run and generally gain more confidence. You’ll likely advance to the gentle trails of ‘Little Easy’, which offers a lengthy run with varying terrain—meaning you can practice your new ski skills for longer. We’re confident that by the end of day one, you’ll be breezing down the slopes no problem. 

Thinks To Do Queenstown Skiing Urban List5pm | Aperitivo Hour 

Once you’ve ditched the gear and freshened up, the next priority is obviously a post-ski tipple. Should you be after chilled vibes and stunning views, our pick for a cosy aperitivo hour goes to Nest Bar & Kitchen. Settle yourself into a velvet lounge seat next to one of several fireplaces and peruse the menu for your poison of choice. Their expert team have carefully curated a drinks list to delight your taste buds and surprise your senses. We’re particularly taken by the extensive gin and tonic selection, starring local New Zealand gins and premium tonics. 

Our pick goes to the Reid & Reid Barrel Aged Gin with orange and cinnamon, boasting a subtle spiced oak flavour. If you’re after a show-stopper, promptly order a smoky old fashioned starring 10YO Laphroaig whisky. Get your ‘Gram ready—the cocktail literally arrives smoking beneath a glass dome. Nest have also nailed their Central Otago wine offering as well as local craft beer on tap, so there’s something for everyone. 

7pm | Devour A Delicious Feast 

You don’t need to travel far for a mouth-watering meal because unsurprisingly, Nest do it all. Sidle up to the dining room and select a seat overlooking Lake Wakatipu at sunset. The succinct menu is anything but simple, boasting a curated collection of flavourful Mediterranean-inspired fare. Divided into six sections including street food, small bites and mains, we suggest rallying your crew to share because you’ll want to taste everything. 

Kick off with the calamari and saffron sliders featuring a charcoal bao bun, the flavourful fish tacos and the crowd-pleasing potato and chorizo croquettes. For mains, pair the melt-in-your-mouth slow cooked merino lamb with the roasted kumara and sweet potato—it’s a match made in heaven. See your meal out with a sweet number like the sticky date pudding with sea salt caramel and orange ice cream, or the deconstructed apple pie with flavours of caramel, hazelnut and cinnamon.  

10pm | Turn In Or Head Out 

Time to pick your own adventure people—if you’re falling asleep in your food coma, head to your luxurious room at Kāmana and hit the hay. If you’re up to experience the adventure capital’s never-ending nightlife, start by discovering the best bars in Queenstown.  

Editor's Note: The author of this article was hosted by 100% Pure New Zealand in Queenstown.

Image credit: Kāmana Lakehouse, Nest Bar & Kitchen

Editor's note: Urban List editors independently select and write about stuff we love and think you'll like too. Urban List has affiliate partnerships, so we get revenue from your purchase.

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