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New Zealand is an outstanding destination for skiers and snowboarders. A good snow base and warmer temperatures make spring skiing a big draw. There are commercial and club fields offering downhill skiing and snowboarding, cross-country skiing and terrain parks. Larger fields offer dedicated areas for learners, while extreme skiers and snowboarders will enjoy heli-skiing in remote locations.
The majority of New Zealand’s ski areas are located in the South Island, but there are a couple in North Island’s Ruapehu region and one in Taranaki. Renting or purchasing quality equipment is easy in cities and ski resorts, although most ski areas also rent gear on the mountain. The main ski areas are on Mount Ruapehu in the North Island and in Canterbury, Mackenzie, Wanaka and Queenstown in the South Island – all of which become busy ski resorts during the winter months. Options are available to suit snow enthusiasts of every skill level; go gently with ski school lessons and well-groomed runs at major commercial ski areas, or go wild with exciting off-piste options or a heli-skiing trip to untamed snow country.
Go to www.metservice.co.nz and click on the ‘Mountains & Parks – Ski Fields’ link for tailored reports on New Zealand ski areas, entered daily by the ski areas during the season. The MetService offers a mobile service for daily or one-off alerts and mountain condition reports sent directly to your mobile. On the About page, click ‘SMS Texting’ and ‘TXT4SNOW’ for more details. If you don’t have the internet, phone MetPhone Mountain & Ski Info for mountain forecasts (from 7am) and AA highway reports. Calls to these services incur a per-minute charge. MetPhone Mountain & Ski Info phone numbers: Central North Island 0900 999 15; Nelson Lakes 0900 999 02; Canterbury 0900 999 26; Southern Lakes 0900 999 81.
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