A ski season in New Zealand

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Martin Astafanos March 3, 2023

What are you going to do when the winter season in Europe and Canada is over and the summer heat hits the mountain, but you’re far from done skiing? That was the question Martin had last spring and he found the answer with Snowminds. Read about how Martin extended his ski season by going to New Zealand.

The choice of doing a season in New Zealand.

I went on my first season in Canada last winter, but by March I could tell I wasn’t going to be done skiing any time soon. So what do you do if you can’t wait until the next season starts in November? You go for a season in the southern hemisphere! There are a few different options for seasons in the southern hemisphere, some better than others! Among the most common are: Argentina, Chile, Australia, and New Zealand. I don’t speak a word of Spanish, so the South American countries were quickly ruled out. The choice was between Australia and New Zealand. My choice fell on New Zealand pretty quickly. I’m not going to judge which country has the best skiing, but can just note that there are a lot of Australian instructors in New Zealand and not many New Zealand instructors in Australia 😊

New Zealand is something special

There are about 10 ski resorts in New Zealand big enough to hire international instructors – and I sent applications to all of them. I got replies from a few and ended up with a job at Mt Hutt. The resort is about an hour’s drive from Christchurch, which is the largest city on the South Island. Mt Hutt is one of the larger resorts in New Zealand and is part of the same group as Coronet Peak and Remarkables (so you ski there for free!). There are about 100 instructors at the ski school and we are a good mix of nationalities. There has been plenty of work over the season and the Christchurch locals are extremely good at booking private lessons!

 

It’s no joke that people call it Mt (s)Hutt. On average we have had one day a week where the mountain was closed due to the weather. It’s mainly the wind that puts a stop to skiing, but big snowfalls can also close the gravel road up the mountain. In general, the weather is more extreme in New Zealand than you will see in Europe and even in Canada. In New Zealand, I have experienced the strongest winds and densest fog in my life. The great thing about the weather in New Zealand is that it is 0% or 100%. It’s either amazing bluebird days or you can’t see the chair in front of you on the lift, there is nothing in between! Fortunately, there are far more good days than bad, and I have a cruel goggle tan to prove it! I learned to love our “close days” where we always found something exciting to occupy our days. Quite often it turned into some amazing hikes in the countryside around the mountain.

Nature is another great reason to go to New Zealand. I can experience snow-capped mountain peaks, waterfalls in the jungle, and cliff-filled coastlines, all within an hour’s drive from my home. It’s not hard to pass the time when you are not skiing. I’ve had a day skiing in the morning and hiking in t-shirts and shorts to waterfalls in the jungle in the afternoon.

You haven’t experienced New Zealand without visiting Clubbies

In addition to the larger commercial resorts, New Zealand is also known for its “club fields”. A club field, or clubbie, is a small resort run primarily by truly dedicated volunteers and locals. They rarely have groomed terrain and they always have very simple rope lifts to get you up at the mountain. You won’t find fancy restaurants or bars, but often just a simple little hut where the view is absolutely stunning. My first clubbie experience was after a big snowfall, about 40 cm, and we were maximum 30 people on the mountain. We were running freshies all day! If you ask me you haven’t been on a season in New Zealand if you don’t take the time to visit a few clubbies!

I’ll be the first to admit that you’ll probably find better snow in Canada and Europe. BUT you can’t ski powder in July in either Canada or Europe! And that is the very essence of why one takes a season in New Zealand. It’s brilliant to be able to ski from June to October if you really can’t get enough.

So why take a season in New Zealand? Great skiing from June to October, unique clubbies, and absolutely stunning scenery!

New Zealand is an adventure like no other!

 

Do you also dream about a ski season in New Zealand, you have the option to do as Martin and head off in June as an experienced ski instructor or you can prepare for the vinter to come by becoming a ski instructor with our 10-week level 1 + 2 course in New Zealand.

 

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