does new zealand have good snowboarding?

Does New Zealand Have Good Snowboarding?

by Fraser

New Zealand.

Home to the All Blacks, incredible scenery and sheep… lots of sheep.

But what about winter sports? Does New Zealand have good snowboarding?

New Zealand has excellent snowboarding. In fact, New Zealand is the most popular Southern Hemisphere snowboarding destination. The spectacular scenery and varied terrain attracts riders from all around the world. 

Here’s a super short summary of snowboarding in New Zealand (and why it’s actually pretty damn good).

The Basics

First, let’s talk basics.

New Zealand has two main islands, the North Island and the South Island. Both have ski resorts with varying degrees of difficulty, terrain and facilities.

The South Island is generally considered to have better skiing and snowboarding, with more developed resorts and larger mountains. But don’t write off the North just yet… there are a couple of unique and trip-worthy resorts there too.

The Resorts

South Island

Home to perhaps the most popular ski town in New Zealand, Queenstown.

Located on the South Island, Queenstown is known for its stunning alpine scenery, great nightlife and world-class skiing and snowboarding.

There are four main ski areas:

  • Coronet Peak
  • The Remarkables
  • Cardrona
  • Treble Cone.

I discussed each of these in detail when outlining the best places to snowboard in New Zealand. Well worth a read!

North Island

Less popular and therefore less crowded, the North Island is home to several unique ski areas. 

The volcanic resorts of Turoa and Whakapapa are my particular favorites. I discussed these in more detail in my previous article about snowboarding in New Zealand’s North Island

The Pros and Cons of Snowboarding In New Zealand

Here’s a quick look at the positives and negatives.

Pros
  • Incredible scenery
  • Varied terrain, including some pretty gnarly backcountry spots.
  • Fewer crowds, especially compared to some of the American resorts these days.
  • Great for adrenaline junkies... New Zealand allows heli-skiing! You can also skydive and bungee jump near several of the ski areas. 
  • Vibrant towns and nightlife.
  • Friendly locals. Kiwis (New Zealanders) are known for their friendly and welcoming nature.
Cons
  • Expensive. Although sadly, this is the case in most destinations. 
  • Indecisive weather. New Zealand's weather can be super unpredictable, with sunny skies in the morning and sideways blizzards by the afternoon.
  • Limited facilities. 
  • Minimal on-mountain accommodation
  • A short season, typically only running from June to October

Summary

So, does New Zealand have good snowboarding?

The answer is a resounding yes!

With world-class terrain, insane alpine scenery, and a bit of culture thrown in, New Zealand is a great destination for snowboarders.  

Can it match the vast mountain expanses of Whistler or the European Alps? Of course not. 

But it’s still an incredible way to get your snowboard fix in the “summer months”. 

But what do you think? Let me know in the comments.

Happy riding!

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