For some, a tropical getaway beckons as the cold winter days approach, but for others, the frosty air is laced with a sense of anticipation – the excitement of wrapping up warm, heading to snow-capped peaks, and soaking up beautiful mountainous scenery with skis or snowboard in hand. But before you get there, there’s a lot of planning – it’s not your average throw-everything-in-a-suitcase type of holiday – there are lift passes, ski field transport, and peak seasons to consider. To help you put your snowy getaway plan into action, we’ve got seven foolproof tips to ensure it’s the ski trip of a lifetime. Here’s how:


1. Daytripper or snow pro?
The very first decision you need to make is whether you’re keen on an up-at-the-crack-of-dawn day trip to the snow or poised for a longer stay. There are plenty of factors to consider when making this decision, like your annual leave allowance, available budget, and travel companions, and plenty of pros and cons to each option. A day trip will be much more affordable, but isn’t often suitable with young kids in tow. A longer stay gives you the opportunity to immerse yourself in true mountain life – from dining to nightlife and off-piste activities. Consider what works for your situation and proceed to tip two.


2. Timing is everything
This rule applies to just about every holiday you plan, but especially for a ski trip! Abundant snow is (obviously) a key ingredient to the ski trip of a lifetime, so research the best time to head to the mountains. In Australia, June to August is generally considered peak season, while in New Zealand, this runs from June to October. Outside of this, research school holiday periods (which differ across Australia and New Zealand). If you can travel outside these, you’ll avoid inflated pricing, busy slopes, and limited accommodation availability. Unfortunately, weather patterns are changeable even during the peak snow season, so keep a close eye on snowfall updates leading up to your getaway.


3. Pick your playground

Bourke St at Mt Buller after a snow storm

Choosing the right ski resort has a huge impact on how much you (and your family) enjoy your alpine escapade, so allow plenty of time to decide on what crucial boxes you need to tick. For example, some fields are better for beginners, and some are more suited to skiers than snowboarders; others are family-friendly with kids’ lessons and even kids’ clubs; some are well-equipped, whereas others may require you to have all your own gear.


  • If you’re looking to go big, head to Australia’s largest ski resort, Perisher; if a vibrant après ski scene alongside powdery pistes is your thing, head to Thredbo, and for a taste of that enviable ski-in ski-out life, you can’t go past Falls Creek. Other notable mentions include Mount Hotham’s unique blend of challenging terrain and panoramic views and Mount Buller’s is easily accessible with family-friendly slopes like the magic carpet run.


  • Across the ditch, our top picks (and worth the flight time if you’re not a local) are The Remarkables for its powdery snow alongside an unforgettable backdrop, closely followed by the South Island’s largest ski area, Treble Cone. The uber beginner-friendly Coronet Peak (which also offers bucket-list-worthy night skiing) is very worthy of a mention, as are the wide-open slopes and world-class facilities of Cardrona and Mt Hutt’s award-winning fields featuring ‘monster snowfalls’, spectacular views, and a true alpine experience


4. Slope-side stays

Ski Resort Cardrona, New Zealand
During peak season, accommodation near ski resorts can fill up quickly, leaving you with limited choices and less-than-ideal lodgings. If you’re booking well in advance, you’ll find a wide variety of accommodation types depending on the ski resort. Some will be equipped with everything from luxury resorts to chalets and hostels, whereas many smaller ski fields will only have basic lodges. It’s also important to note if the accommodation is ski-in, ski-out or if you’ll need transfers to the slopes and restaurants – this is an extra cost to factor in.


5. Getting around
If your accommodation isn’t ski-in ski-out, ensure you carefully consider your transport options before you arrive. While driving in the mountains is scenic and beautiful, it can also be an adventure on its own. If you plan to self-drive, check whether you’ll need to hire a four-wheel drive or equip your car with chains and get clued up on the basics of driving in the snow. If you prefer to let others take the wheel, research the local transport options. Most bigger ski resorts have shuttles or buses operating airport and ski-field transfers.


6. Check off the essentials

Ski with mask and pole, chairlift on background

To get the most out of your time in the snow, sort out as many essentials as possible, like lift passes, restaurant reservations, ski gear, and insurance before you arrive. This will save you money, time, and hassles once you set foot in the snow. Research things like mountain passes and packages to suit, multi-day gear hire options, check you’re equipped with things like thermal clothing and sunscreen, make lunch and dinner bookings, and don’t forget to lock in the travel insurance. While skiing is a fun holiday, it comes with a unique set of risks – it pays to have a safety net if you need it.


7. Explore beyond the slopes

onsen hot pool in south island

If you’re planning a longer stay, make the most of the surrounding area and venture beyond the slopes. Often, there are nearby national parks to explore, quaint ski villages to visit, and in the case of New Zealand’s southern ski fields, the nearby adventure capital of Queenstown to add a whole extra dimension to your holiday. It’s here you can seek out an adrenaline hit with a bungee, swing, catapult, or zipride, unwind and soak in the seriously gram-worthy Onsen Hot Pools, or indulge in fine food and drink until your heart’s content.


Just add snow-capped peaks (and sunshine)
While we can’t guarantee several centimetres of fresh powder or endless bluebird days, following these tips, you’re well-positioned to enjoy the trip of a lifetime. So, get ready to soak up the beautiful scenery, get your body moving and your heart pumping, and, of course, don’t forget to keep safe while travelling. If your snowy getaway leaves you craving more of that fresh alpine air, reach out to the local First National Real Estate. They’ll guide you through the options and could even wind-up handing over your key to happiness in the highlands!


The following advice is of a general nature only and intended as a broad guide. The advice should not be regarded as legal, financial, or real estate advice. You should make your own inquiries and obtain independent professional advice tailored to your specific circumstances before making any legal, financial, or real estate decisions. Click here for full Terms of Use.