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You never forget your first time on snow. Whether clicking into skis or a snowboard, the freedom of gliding on middle earth is highly addictive and if you're going to experience skiing for the first time New Zealand's South Island is where you want to do it. With so many package deals that include accommodation, lift passes, lessons and ski hire all you have to do is show up.
To prepare for a ski holiday, read over our handy guide.
Qualified instructors at each of the South Island’s resorts offer both group and private lessons. These guys know their mountain and will instil a confidence in your skiing and snowboarding ability to allow you to naturally progress without peer pressure.
Treble Cone have a two hour lesson, lift pass and rental for NZ$99 with group lessons capped at 8 for adults and 5 for kids. Cardrona offer learn to ski camps for kids including all day lessons and lunch.
There’s also good news for first time skiing and snowboarding grommets as kids under 6 ski for free at The Remarkables and Coronet Peak and kids under 10 ski for free at Mt Hutt.
There are ski shops in Queenstown, Wanaka and Methven that rent out all the equipment you need including boots, boards, skis, clothing and helmets. Many allow you to book ahead and will deliver your gear to your door or if you prefer to get your equipment on the mountain then all the resorts have ski hire too.
Do bring your own goggles and gloves as these are generally not available for hire due to health reasons. Make sure your goggles have a low light lens for snowy days and a UV lens for sunny days to allow you to see where you are skiing.
Not sure what to wear? Layers are best. A base layer, mid layer and outer layer or shell are good options as you can dress up or down depending on the temperature. Thermals are a must if you feel the cold and neck warmers to protect against the wind.
Don’t forget sunscreen, it is a must. The UV rays reflected off the snow are almost three times as strong as those reflected at the beach.
Spend some time getting fit to ski before you arrive (six weeks prior to your trip is usually a good time to start) and get the local massage day spas on speed dial to help relieve any stiff muscles when you come off the hill.
Staying hydrated will help your body cope better with the new muscles you are working and give you more stamina at a higher altitude so drink plenty of water and start your day with slow release energy food like oats.
It will help to fill your pockets with nuts and dark chocolate too for when you need a boost. Whitaker’s chocolate is a local New Zealand favourite with bars perfectly sized for your pocket.
The most important thing to remember is when you’re tired, stop. Fatigue can hit after just a few hours of skiing or snowboarding. When that happened then it’s time to go in off the slopes and grab a hot chocolate.