WHICH NEW ZEALAND MOUNTAIN IS RIGHT FOR YOU?
Three mountains, three personalities, which one is for you?
Not many ski nations can boast three mountains for the price of one but that’s what you get on New Zealand’s South Island with the NZ Ski pass for Mt Hutt, The Remarkables and Coronet Peak. The best news is, it’s possible to ski all three on the one road trip, starting in Christchurch or Queenstown then finishing at the other. Plus the drive from Mt Hutt to Queenstown is considered to be one of the most spectacular scenic drives in the world so you won’t miss a day’s skiing, you’ll gain an experience and a thousand photos.
If you are shorter on time and can’t decide which of the three resorts is for you? Never fear, they each have a distinctive personality that we’ve outlined below, so you can swipe right on the one for you for a match made in ski altitude heaven.
This is the local’s mountain, not just any locals either, the locals here like their cars European, their wine from Otago and their skiing to be fast. With a mere twenty minute drive from downtown Queenstown to The Peak Club (the private members club for cashed up locals who like valet parking) and a daily first tracks program they can get all three. Coronet is the Bond of the mountain trio, all 007 in the back chutes, and Miss Moneypenny on the rolling groomers.
It’s no surprise that Coronet Peak’s 280 hectares is the choice of the world’s best ski racing teams who descend upon these slopes to train every southern winter. The lake and mountain views from the ski field are as spectacular as they come, there’s a ski in ski out night time bar under the lights three times a week and the mountain even has a mascot dog with its own Instagram account, Oscar, Oscar of Arrowtown.
Think of the Remarks (as the locals call it) as an introvert extravert forty minutes from Queenstown. At first glance you’ll be lured in by the pizzazz of the architecturally inspired base lodge that’s all glass and schist and concrete and altitude bling. But once you step onto the chairlift and head skywards the true inner beauty of this alpine peak will be revealed. There’s Alta Lake hiding under the ice and snow surrounded by finger chutes to test the metal. There’s the roll over runs of Sugar Bowl and the terrain parks beneath the rocky spires and Gallipoli Chutes for those who quietly and methodically hike and skin to get to.
Over the back you’ll find the Shadow Basin, all peaceful and still with blue and black terrain. Make it to the top and take the short walk to the lookout and you’ll find the heart of The Remarks, a vista that extends across Lake Wakatipu and beyond. Then take the Homeward Bound (off piste) down to the road and jump on the shuttle back up. Trust us, it’s the quieter ones that always have more than meets the eye.
You know that older cousin you only see at Christmas, the one who sweeps in all bolshie and playful, makes you laugh and long for a bigger life? That’s Mt Hutt, the distant cousin twice removed that packs a punch that nestles in your gut and lingers there till next time.
Mt Hutt is 365 acres of playful terrain and the lure of some of the biggest snowfall in the land. Experts head straight to the double black diamonds of the South Face in the hope of catching their cousin’s eye. If that doesn’t work they work their way into the Rakaia Chutes. Intermediates and first timers hang in the main basin and cruise the groomed runs that are packed hard and fast for maximum fun with some side terrain park action for beginners to experts.
All this joy and excitement happens under a big South Island sky with views out across the Canterbury plains to the east and west coasts on a clear day. Mt Hutt is like that, all big hearted and open, ready to prank you with no notice to have you laughing at yourself and the joy of it all. Hey, cuz?