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Best Time to Ski in New Zealand

Simply put, the best time to ski anywhere in the world is winter. This is when mountain regions are blanketed in fresh, fluffy snow and cold weather conditions are at their peak for skiing adventures galore. The unique thing about skiing in New Zealand of course is that it is in the Southern Hemisphere, so the ski season in New Zealand occurs when it is summer in the Northern Hemisphere, and vice versa.


Skiing in New Zealand offers a brilliant opportunity to escape from the summer heat in other parts of the world and get your skiing fix whilst the rest of the Northern Hemisphere hits the beach. Real powder heads enjoy the ski season in Europe from December to March, and then take advantage of the chance of year-round ski fun by hitting the New Zealand slopes between June and October. Why let the ski season end when you can hop around the world chasing the white stuff all year long!?

When is the Skiing Season in New Zealand?

If you like your backcountry skiing with Instagram-breaking views, look no further than New Zealand. With its diverse landscapes,  breathtaking scenery and awesome snow conditions, New Zealand offers a unique and unforgettable skiing experience for skiers of all levels.

New Zealand’s ski season typically runs from June to September, with the peak season being July and August. These months usually offer the best snow conditions with regular snowfalls and mountain temperatures between 0 and -5 degrees. Picture yourself carving down the powder slopes through untouched terrain with the crisp air whistling past you and the backdrop that can only be described as a transcendent moment in your lifetime. This is skiing in New Zealand!

mabey ski heli-skiing adventure to new zealand, helicopter flying above skiers

Regional Variations

From the snow-capped peaks of the Southern Alps to the volcanic slopes of Mount Ruapehu, New Zealand’s ski resorts cater to skiers and snowboarders of all levels. The season in New Zealand is slightly shorter than elsewhere but don’t be fooled – dramatic vistas, fabulous food and friendly locals mean New Zealand’s ski trips are a match for anywhere in the Northern Hemisphere.

Due to the sheer size of the country and its diverse geography, New Zealand’s weather patterns can vary significantly from region to region. The weather can be unpredictable, with rapid changes in temperature and conditions -locals joke that they can often experience four different seasons in one day! Whether you choose to ski in the North Island or the South Island, timing your trip to coincide with the best conditions is key. 

  • The North Island generally has a milder climate compared to the South Island and generally experiences warmer temperatures and more rainfall throughout the year. The North Island is home to the famous Mount Ruapehu, the largest ski area in New Zealand. The ski season here typically runs from June to October, with the peak conditions usually occurring in August and September. During this time, the mountain receives ample snowfall, creating skiing opportunities aplenty.
  • The South Island is known for its dramatic landscapes, including the majestic Southern Alps which is a skier’s paradise during July and August. It has a cooler climate overall, with colder winters and more snowfall in the mountainous regions. The South Island is renowned for its breathtaking alpine scenery and world-class ski resorts. The ski season here typically runs from June to September, with July and August being the prime months for skiing.

New Zealand Ski Seasons In a Nutshell

Depending on the region and weather conditions, snow in New Zealand can fall as early as April and as late as November. Even when it is shoulder season in a particular region, the best ski resorts have snowmakers to ensure that ski enthusiasts can still get their powder fix when the weather warms up. However, even snowmakers can’t keep up with really warm temperatures, so keeping an eye on the local forecasts is key when planning your next New Zealand ski trip.

Early Ski Season

The North Island ski season starts and finishes a little later than that of the South Island, with early ski season starting around June on North Island and July on the South. This does vary from resort to resort so please check local forecasts before you book.

Peak Ski Season

The peak ski season in New Zealand typically runs from June to October. During these months, the ski resorts are bustling with eager skiers and snowboarders from all around the world. The snow conditions are optimal, with fresh powder covering the slopes, making it a dream come true for winter sports enthusiasts.

Best Powder Months

Unlike Australia, there is plenty of steep vertical to play in New Zealand with when the snow comes. And although not famed for its powder skiing, New Zealand gets its fair share of snow! If you’re hoping to score some white gold, July and August are a good time to visit the ski fields in New Zealand. The slopes are well-groomed and the snow is light and fluffy, allowing you to effortlessly glide your way down the mountain. It’s like floating on clouds!

End of Ski Season

Whilst the end of New Zealand’s ski season occurs around September and October, depending on which region you choose there are still plenty of opportunities to find good snowy peaks and decent snowfall.

Mabey Ski Heli-skiing in Harris Mountains New Zealand towards lake.

Top New Zealand Ski Resorts


With its spectacular lakeside alpine setting and two ski resorts in close proximity, Queenstown sits on the south-west of the South Island. Queenstown’s ski season runs from June to September, but we’d recommend visiting in August for more reliable snow.


Wanaka town itself has a cosmopolitan flair but a chilled-out vibe and a good selection of restaurants, cafes and bars. Wanaka’s heli-skiing terrain is extensive and offers views over endless snowcapped peaks, glacial blue lakes, and lush green countryside below – it really is an entirely different ski experience to anywhere else in the world! Wanaka’s ski season runs from June to September, but August is best for most reliable snow.

If you’re looking for a selection of private helicopter experiences led by a team of experienced guides, Mabey Ski offers a heli-ski adventure you won’t forget!


This New Zealand ski resort is home to the Southern Hemisphere’s only Olympic halfpipe and is a popular option for skiers staying in Queenstown or Wanaka. It is perfect for beginners or intermediate skiers due to the wide-open groomers and perfect beginner terrain.

If there is a resort in New Zealand that appeals to practically everyone, then Cardrona is it. From the first-time skier to speed demon and everyone in between, there’s something to make every skier feel like they’re at home in this progressive and comfortable mountain playground.

Treble Cone

The South Island’s largest ski and snowboard resort is Treble Cone. boasting the longest vertical rise in the Queenstown region, Treble Cone is best for experienced skiers due to its difficult terrain, steep chutes and off-piste opportunities by the bucket load. The peak season at Treble Cone is from June to October, with July and August being the best months for skiing.

Some days, as you glide down the long groomers and easily accessed off-piste terrain at Treble Cone, you’d be forgiven for feeling like you’re skiing on a sunny island above the clouds when the valley fog rolls in and obscures the landscape below.

The Remarkables

Just 45 minutes from central Queenstown is The Remarkables, a high-altitude ski resort with north-facing slopes which makes for sunny ski fields boasting great conditions and brilliant snowfall all throughout the winter season.

Nestled in the famous mountain range of the same name, The Remarkables resort is made for family, fun, and freestyle, with a ski field that’s as rewarding for experienced powder hounds as it is welcoming for beginners.

Treble Cone, Lake Wanaka


Beyond the exhilarating skiing and snowboarding opportunities available, New Zealand is a stunning country to visit all year round. If it’s snow you’re after, visiting New Zealand during the ski season will offer plenty of world-class skiing for skiers of all levels. Challenge, adventure, and natural beauty will make a ski trip to New Zealand an experience that will stay with you for a lifetime.

Been dreaming of a ski trip of a lifetime but don’t know how to make it happen? Drop us a line today – impossible is our speciality.