The upside of the winter chill arriving is that the southern mountains are ready for ski and snowboard action. Typically, the ski season runs from early June until October.

Coronet Peak, Queenstown's closest ski area, is poised to have the lifts running from June 7.

Nearby ski areas are planning their opening days in subsequent weeks.

What is it? Cardrona Alpine Resort is a ski field in a scenic setting on the Crown Range Rd, which connects Wanaka and Queenstown. The field offers good skiing for beginners, intermediates and families.


Where? Forty-five minutes from Queenstown and 15 minutes from Wanaka.

What's new? It is building a fourth terrain park for freestyle skiers and riders. It will include a triple jump line with jumps ranging from 5m to 10m, with some additional rails and boxes. It's designed for intermediate freestylers.

Treble Cone
What is it? This ski field offers long slopes, plenty of off-piste terrain for advanced skiers and stunning views.

Where? 35 minutes from Wanaka.

What's new? The Jazz Kids Fun Trail Extension is being added to, with small children's jumps to make the experience longer for kids. There are also two new grooming machines to keep the snow in tip-top condition.

Coronet Peak
What is it? This field is a favourite with locals and visitors of all abilities. It's the closest mountain to Queenstown. The terrain caters for all skill levels - it has some challenging high points and rolling trails for seasoned skiers, and a dedicated learner area for those finding their snow feet. It's the only ski area offering night skiing on Fridays and Saturdays from early July until mid-September. Also it's the only ski area to offer first tracks from 8am before the official opening at 9am.

Where? Twenty minutes from Queenstown.

What's new? Eighty lights are being added this season for night skiing.

A new park-after-dark freestyle run is being added with boxes, rails and an airbag that will cater for skiers/riders who like freestyling.

The Remarkables
What is it? The Remarkables is one of New Zealand's most impressive ski fields. It has varied terrain suitable for all levels, with plenty of wide, gentle slopes for beginners. The Remarkables also has some daunting black diamond runs for the experts.

Where is it? Forty minutes from Queenstown.

What's new? Major works for this season include a brand new six-seater Curvey Basin 1.2km lift that will open up new terrain and spectacular views.

Snow Farm
What is it? New Zealand's premier cross-country ski field, with more than 40km of groomed cross-country trails, snow shoeing, sledding and dog sled tours — you'll be struggling to fit it all into the day.

Where is it? Forty five minutes from Queenstown and 15 minutes from Wanaka.