Frequently Asked Questions
How do I get from the airport to Queenstown?
The most economical service by far is to jump on the local bus (as long as your accommodation is then easily accessible). It costs only $2 a ride, as long as you purchase your Orbus Card for $5. Multiple people can share an Orbus card. Otherwise, for a door to door service, the cheapest is provided Super Shuttle. There are group per person rates. All vehicles have trailers so skis or boards are not an issue. You can make a booking online at www.supershuttle.co.nz
Taxi's also operate from the airport, and cost approx $50. Local number is (03) 442 6666.
What can I do if my ski boots hurt?
Ski boots can make or break your ski holiday - that's a fact!
Don't ruin your ski time by trying to put up with it, come and see us in Shotover Street, we have some of the most experienced boot fitters and best equipment in the country! There are a myriad of minute adjustments that we can make to the inner or even the shell of the boot itself to increase your comfort. We also believe that custom made footbeds are an absolute must!
Getting a comfortable fit from your boots can be a lot easier if you help your feet with a few simple steps.
The first thing to look at is your socks. You are best to wear one good quality, thin pair of socks. This allows for a good, exact fit inside the boot. When your feet slop around inside your boots, you lose serious ski performance inhibiting your ability to turn, and requiring much more effort. Your ski boots should feel like a firm handshake on your feet and lower legs. Sounds obvious, but be sure that there are no wrinkles in your socks – that can be a real killer for your feet and shins.
If you are still uncomfortable or your feet are slopping around, it’s time to look at your equipment.
If you are travelling by air, due to luggage restrictions, it may be more convenient for you to rent boots in Queenstown. Choose a rental shop like Browns Ski Shop which carries several well known brands of boots to see which brand suits your foot shape best, and gives you the level of performance that you need. One boot type definitely doesn’t suit all feet.
If you are thinking of buying boots, always work with a specialty boot fitter. This is one piece of gear that needs to be a collaborative effort between the boot fitter and you, if you want happy feet and great skiing.
What do I need to pre-book before I get to Queenstown?
It can be a good idea to pre-book your equipment if you need to rent, particularly if you want to try a specific ski. You can do so on our booking page. However, don't worry if you would prefer not to, as we never run out of gear, even during the school holidays. You don't need to pre-book lift passes or ski school, other than private lessons and child care/lessons for the littlies. You can also organise mountain transportation when you get to town. There really is very little that you need to book in advance.
I'm a beginner - which ski area should I go to learn?
All of the ski areas have facilities for beginners, but probably the most beginner friendly areas are Cardrona and the Remarkables. Both ski fields have good sized beginner dedicated areas and beginner lifts. Once you have mastered controlled stopping and turning, the progression to bigger slopes is nice and gentle and fairly non-threatening. This is important because it allows your technique to develop without being in a situation where survival becomes the dominant factor! The beginner areas at the Remarkables face the sun throughout the day so despite the extra altitude, they can be warmer than other areas.
What's the difference between 'Executive' and 'Mid-Range' rental equipment at Browns Ski Shop?
About 90% of our Executive fleet is new every season. The types of skis in this category are all high performance skis. Mid-Range skis are renewed every three seasons. Skis in this category are suitable for people requiring less ski performance i.e. beginners and basic intermediates.
Is there anything I need to know if I am renting a car?
Don't forget if you are renting a vehicle to ask for it to be "skierised". This means that you want chains and a roof rack.
What if I want to snowboard and ski during my holiday?
If you rent equipment from Browns Ski Shop you can change from skis to a board (and back again) whenever you like during the rental period at no extra charge.
Do I need snow chains?
Whether you have a rental or your own car, it is ESSENTIAL TO CARRY CHAINS pretty much all season long.
Don't under estimate how quickly and dramatically the weather can change in the mountains. DO put the chains on when you are directed to do so, in the interest of everyone’s safety! This includes if you have a 4WD. Cost for rental depends on the particular chains needed for the size of the wheels. Greentoad and Quest in town both rent chains.
If you are hiring a car in Queenstown, rental cars should all have chains. Double check that the chains are in the boot when you pick it up. Otherwise insist that they provide you with chains. This is called "skierizing" your rental and should be part of your rental automatically.
How do I enter the ski area with my lift pass?
Lift passes have gone high tech throughout the Southern Lakes
Remarkables and Coronet Peak
Mypass is the NZSKI electronic RFID card. You simply put it in a pocket at a suitable height, and you can scan yourself through the lift gates. You can also load money on to the Mypass, to use to buy food and drink up the mountain, to save bringing any cash or cards.
Cardrona and Treble Cone
Both of the 'Wanaka' Ski fields also use RFID cards. If you are heading to Cardrona by car, if you buy your passes at their shop in Queenstown, you can then park in the lower car park at the bottom of Valley View Quad and save yourself a few km's of driving.
Beginner Passes (only)
A beginner pass generally gives you access to the surface lifts e.g. rope tows and magic carpets, but excludes chair lifts. Naturally this is significantly cheaper which is great because you don't have to buy an All Mountain pass that you are not going to need on day one.
I suffer from bad circulation and feel the cold - what should I do?
Multiple thin or medium weight layers of clothing are warmer than one big thick garment as warm air is trapped and acts as an effective insulator. Look for products that include Possum fur as Opossums and Polar Bears are the only two animals in the world whose fur is hollow and has a layer of air inside, preventing it from freezing! A cuddly fleece neck warmer also keeps you nice and warm. Mittens are warmer than gloves as your fingers are together and can heat each other. You can purchase single use glove and toe warmers which are activated when the particles inside are shaken, and then give off heat. You can also buy rechargeable boot heaters which you might just decide, if you suffer from cold feet, was the best purchase you ever made!
Do I need goggles if I already have sunglasses?
Goggles are a fairly vital piece of equipment that should be carried in the mountains. The weather can change very quickly and sunglasses just don't cut it as far as protecting your eyes and face from harsh conditions. Goggles cover more of your face and seal around your eyes to keep out wind and snow. Amber or rose coloured lenses are designed for low light conditions therefore making it easier to see when conditions are not great. Some goggles come with interchangeable lenses for different lighting conditions.
How do I get to The Remarkables and Coronet Peak?
The Snowline Express transport from The Station leaves every 20 minutes departing from 8am until 11.30 for Remarkables and noon for Coronet Peak.
Alternatively there is a hotel pick-up service, which costs a little more, and needs to be pre-booked. Your seat is guaranteed. Buses often go to multiple hotels, especially at the end of the day, so sit back and have a wee snooze after your days exertions and don't necessarily expect an express type service.
Night Skiing return transport leaves from The Station only from 4pm to 7pm.
I suffer from bad circulation and feel the cold - what should I do?
Multiple thin or medium weight layers of clothing are warmer than one big thick garment as warm air is trapped and acts as an effective insulator. Look for products that include Possum fur as Opossums and Polar Bears are the only two animals in the world whose fur is hollow and has a layer of air inside, preventing it from freezing! A cuddly fleece neck warmer also keeps you nice and warm. Mittens are warmer than gloves as your fingers are together and can heat each other. You can purchase single use glove and toe warmers, which are activated when the particles inside are shaken, and then give off heat. You can also buy rechargeable boot heaters which you might just decide, if you suffer from cold feet, was the best purchase you ever made!
How do I care for my leather gloves?
Basically leather gloves should be treated the same as a pair of leather shoes. They need to be protected before use by conditioning with a product such as Hestra Leather Balm. When they get wet they should be dried slowly in a warm place, never directly on a hot radiator or heater. Re-proof and condition often.
Is there anything I need to know about group lessons?
You don't need to pre-book adult or child group lessons at any of the ski areas. Group lessons pretty much start at around 10.30 and at 2pm at all of the ski areas. During quieter times, you might end up with very few people in your group, but on the flip side, during peak season the group sizes can grow, and if you want to accelerate your learning, a private lesson might be worth considering.
Group lessons for the littlies (5 yrs and under) are best booked in advance by calling or emailing the ski area. This is because there are limited places available due to a strict control on the number of children to staff and specialist facilities. Obviously there is very high demand in School Holiday times, so if you think your family holiday will work better with the kids in Snowsports School, then book ahead!
Is there any advice for first time skiers or boarders?
See previous section regarding Beginner Combo's - highly recommended, and available at all mountains.
What do I wear?
Dress warmly in layers. It’s easy to take off a layer if you are hot, but remember that conditions can change quickly in the mountains, and you may also need extra layers to keep warm particularly if the wind is blowing. Ski areas generally have day storage facilities so you can leave a bag with extra layers safely with no hassle.
The first layer should be a thermal layer and this is crucial to the performance of your ski/snowboard outerwear as it will keep you warm and dry by drawing perspiration away from the skin allowing it to escape through the breathable fabric of your outerwear. A cotton tee shirt for instance does not work this way, so you may find you get quite chilled by the moisture held in the fabric next to your skin. You should have both a thermal vest (or undergarment) and also thermal long johns.
The next layer should be a mid-layer of fleece or wool. You may wish to take an extra mid-warmth layer for really cold days. Finish off the layers with an insulated jacket, pants, gloves, socks, a helmet and goggles. It is really important to keep your head warm - most heat loss is via the head. A 'Buff' or thin cap can be worn under the helmet for extra warmth - beanies should not be worn under helmets for safety reasons. If you suffer from the cold you can also use glove warmers and toe warmers (also known by some as 'Atomic teabags').
In warmer conditions (e.g. spring skiing at the end of the season) a light base layer top, a shell jacket, pants, socks and gloves should be sufficient. It is still advisable to always wear a helmet. If it has vents, you can open these to help cool off.
Is there a way to carpool?
Check out www.snowpool.org.nz and see if you fancy joining up with other people who want to car pool. This site is a contact point for all the major NZ ski fields. Car Poolers in Queenstown get better parking spots than single occupancy drivers.
The car pool pick up on the way to Coronet Peak is just past Strike Bowl. For Remarkables the pick up point is the bottom of the access road.
How far is it from Queenstown to Treble Cone, and Cardrona?
Cardrona is about 75 minutes by car from Queenstown via the Crown Range. Treble Cone is a little further, a little short of 2 hours.
Always carry chains as conditions change quickly in the mountains and you may need them to get down the ski area roads even if you did not need them to go up! Never ignore signs or ski area staff who tell you that you should fit chains, even if you have 4WD, particularly if you are not used to driving in snowy and/or icy conditions.
My ski jacket needs cleaning - what is the best method?
Always read (and follow) the laundering instructions before cleaning. Generally the most effective way to clean your outerwear is in a washing machine on cold wash with non-biological washing powder or a product such as Nikwax TX.direct which also re-proofs the garment. After a quick spin (unless advised against this by the washing instructions), line dry or dry on a hanger in a warm room. Handy tip - down filled jackets can generally be dried in the drier - put a tennis ball in the drier with the jacket as this aids the process by "fluffing" up the feathers.
What are the advantages of private lessons?
Getting accelerated learning and lift queue priority is always good and in the busy times, can be a real boon. Most ski areas recommend booking ahead. Prices vary a little between mountains and the time of day that you take the lesson.
If you do take private lessons with a friend/friends, it’s important that both/all of you are a fairly similar level i.e. you ski at a similar pace and on similar terrain, even if your respective styles vary. Generally speaking, 5/6 people is the maximum number for multi person privates.
Did you know that you can also "request" a particular Instructor, so if you know someone or someone has been recommended to you, you can ask for that person?
Which Ski Areas are particularly 'family friendly'?
The Remarkables and Cardrona get the 'family friendly' big tick! Both ski areas are well suited to families. The Remarks has a great tubing run which is a lot of fun for the whole family, and Cardrona has probably the most comprehensive kids ski school and child minding for kids from as young as 3 months old.
I'm a non-skier, what can I do on the mountain while the rest of the family is skiing/riding?
Most ski areas have great slope viewing areas where you can hang out with a coffee and a good book. The Remarkables often has live music, DJ's and entertainment throughout the season and they also have a great tubing park. Warm waterproof footwear (not ski boots) is a good idea for your comfort. You can rent apres ski boots if you are planning on playing around in the snow.