By Grace Purvis.
Sliding down snowy slopes is on many people’s bucket lists, and what is not to love?
Days spent skiing or snowboarding, riding on chairs lifts or ice skating on naturally made ice rinks and coming home and cuddling up next to a warm fire while sipping hot chocolate sounds like a dream, right?
Unfortunately living in Australia somewhat limits the range, freedom, variety and time to embark on and enjoy a ski season domestically.
There are gems here, though: Thredbo and Perisher in New South Wales, and Mount Buller, Mount Hotham and Falls Creek Ski Resort in Victoria were rated in the top 5 best places to ski in Australia on TripAdvisor.
But the ski seasons are short and sweet with snow conditions only being at its peak from June to October at best.
This could be the reason that Whistler in Canada is now being called “Whistralia” from the number of Australians that have flooded the country and the ski fields.
But our Canada lies just across the ditch in the underrated hidden treasures of New Zealand.
New Zealand is all about nature, with some of the most stunning scenery in the world and is gloriously under crowded having a population of about four million.
With postcard landscapes at every ski turn, alpine peaks, azure lakes and resort towns jam packed with Kiwi hospitality, the destination is several kinds of wonderful and is often more affordable than staying on shore.
The South Island of New Zealand offers breath taking snow conditions with Queenstown offering four main commercial ski resorts.
The Remarkables, Coronet Peak, Cardrona and Treble Cone offer something for everyone from Olympic-sized super pipes to cruisy runs with spectacular views.
Being only a three-hour flight from the east coast of Australia and flights being offered for around $150 one way from Brisbane International Airport through Webjet, the way there is completely easy and affordable.
By comparison, a holiday in Mount Hotham with a flight flying out from Brisbane or the Sunshine Coast airports would costs about the same amount, with flights starting from around $179 one way.
Along with being a new country, new environment and new adventure to experience, New Zealand also has a range of snow conditions, lakes, mountains and hikes.
A local resident who recently worked for six months as a lift operator at New Zealand’s Coronet Peak, Amy Potts, says she loved every minute of her adventure and every great experience outweighed the bad.
“I worked five days a week but they were pretty reasonable with giving you days off if you wanted to organise to go out of town,” Potts says.
“Honestly it was extremely physical work, so much shovelling and raking… Most days you would be working from sunrise to sunset.
“Coronet Peak also does “night ski”, so some nights I’d be working in negative degree temperatures but people were still keen to get in the snow so we worked.”
Potts says that even though the work was hard, the perks that came with it were
extremely worth it.
“The social aspects were massive. After almost every shift everyone would head to “Harry’s” to have a beer and play pool,” Potts says.
“On the weekends, we would head up to different mountains, some were free because of where we worked and others were heavily discounted, which was a massive perk of the job.”
Potts encouraged anyone thinking about embarking on a snowy New Zealand adventure to do it.
“It’s such a beautiful place to live: the scenery was always surreal to look around at, it was one thing I never got over,” Potts says.