Ski New Zealand like a pro – the best advanced runs near Queenstown

Russ Henshaw in action. Photo by Red Bull

Hunting for the steep and deep? Bored by anything that’s not a black or a double-black run? Lucky for you, New Zealand has some amazing terrain on offer that’s often ridden by the best skiers and snowboarders in the world.

Here’s our guide to the best advanced runs near Queenstown, from Treble Cone to heli-skiing and everything in between. Pack your Go Pro and your powder skis, and get ready to ski like a pro.

Treble Cone

Play like the pros do at Treble Cone

Treble Cone is located about 1.5 hour’s drive from Queenstown and also happens to be the largest ski area on the South Island, with 700m of vertical on offer. While there’s beginner and intermediate terrain on offer, powder hunters will want to warm up in the Saddle Basin and Summit Slopes – an advanced skiing area that offers up great snow alongside some drops and natural half-pipes.

Then head to the expert-only zone, Motatapu Chutes, for the real goodness. While the chutes are within the patrolled area of Treble Cone, it’s still a backcountry experience. This is the playground of international freeskiers, including Freeride World Tour legend Sam Smoothy. They all come for the cliffs, the great lines and the powder.

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The epic views from Treble Cone don’t hurt either – hike up to the summit to look over the mountains from the back side, or get up early enough to enjoy watching the sunrise over the lake.

The Remarkables

skiing, remarkables, New Zealand
Getting steep and deep at The Remarkables.

Just a 40 minute drive from Queenstown, The Remarkables offer up an incredible range of terrain, even for expert skiers. Take the Shadow Basin chair and the short hike to get on up to the finger chutes of Escalator and Elevator.

You can also try some backcountry skiing on in-bounds terrain on the Homeward trails. You’ll end up beyond the reach of the lifts, but don’t worry about hiking back to the resort – you can easily catch the bus from the access road and back to the main ski area.

Cardrona

Throwing it down at Cardrona

Two words for you: Olympic Superpipe. Some of the world’s best riders have trained here over the years, including Torah Bright, Chloe Kim, Scotty James, Kiwi freeskiers Janina Kuzma and Nico Porteous, plus snowboarding’s biggest name – Shaun White, of course. It’s no ordinary halfpipe either. The 22ft walls make it the same size as the superpipes ridden by the pros in the Winter Olympics and the X Games.

If you’re not feeling brave enough to try the Superpipe, Cardrona also has a halfpipe with 12ft walls, located right beside the Superpipe – so you can get comfortable on this pipe while also checking out what the pros might be doing on the big boy.

More of an expert ski jumper? Cardrona has you covered with the Cardrona Big Air – an mammoth jump with a 85ft table, offering up some serious air time, and all above the base area, making it an excellent spectator sport.

Be sure to arrive in time for the Jossi Wells Invitational Big Air spring competition if you want to see some potential record-breaking tricks getting thrown down. A 50 minute drive from Queenstown, it’s an easy day trip to make.

Coronet Peak

Night skiing at Coronet Peak

Riding up the chairlift to the top of Coronet Peak, you might just see skiers and snowboarders heading over to the back bowls. If that’s not enough to get your juices flowing then hit the hard packed gates where the US Ski Team train.

At just 20 minutes from Queenstown, Coronet Peak also offers up night skiing, which can be a whole lot of fun after a day exploring Queenstown’s adventure activities on offer (bungy and jet boating, anyone?).

Southern Lakes Heli

heli skiing, New Zealand, southern lakes
Heli skiing with Southern Lakes Heli Ski, New Zealand

Southern Lakes Heli Ski have the highest heli skiing available in the Southern Lakes region, and with access to over 600 runs spread over 11 mountain ranges, you’ll be able to hit up terrain that’s worthy of any ski movie.

This includes epic powder, open bowls, chutes, drops and natural half pipes, and runs that can have anywhere from 600m to 1000m of vertical in one hit.

Apres like a pro at the Winter Festival for hard core party goers

Queenstown’s all about the vibes – as a city full of great food, fantastic pubs, bars and clubs, and views that make it one of the most beautiful spots in the world, it has a lot going for it.

Try and time your visit with the Queenstown Winter Festival, which has a line-up of sport events featuring some of the best pro riders, alongside some genuinely brave souls. In this year’s line-up, put the Brecon Street Rail Showdown in your calendar, right alongside The Hits 90.4 Birdman, where people launch themselves with enthusiasm right into Lake Wakatipu. Now that’s brave!

What’s your favourite advanced run in New Zealand?

This post was originally published on Destination Queenstown – click here to read more.

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