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5 Best Southern Hemisphere Ski Resorts

Argentina Chile New Zealand Queenstown Insider Guides
by Matador Creators Jan 7, 2009
Having such a good ski season this winter you want to extend it this summer? Here’s where to go once the Northern Hemi snow starts melting.

1. Cardrona, New Zealand

In the centre of New Zealand’s South Island lies Cardrona . This large centre for ski and snowboarding is suitable for beginners and intermediates, but there’s not as much to do for advanced riders.

A day lift pass for an adult starts from NZ $81 – this year there’s a new express chair lift. They’ve recently installed a huge half-pipe with 22 foot walls and there’s also a whole range of facilities available.

Time off the piste

If you’re a skater, take a short trip down the road to Wanaka where there is a good skate park. Also worth checking out is Puzzle World, a good time-wasting activity involving mazes and games if the runs are closed when you’re there.

2. Queenstown, New Zealand

Queenstown is about an hour’s drive from Cardrona and is home to the major ski centres of Coronet Peak and The Remarkables.

Coronet Peak has a paved road right to the top of the ski area, so there’s no need to feel so scared of careering off the edge of a mountain. It’s possible can go night boarding there thanks to floodlights along the runs, live music, etc.

If you’re thinking of going up to the Treble Cone, be sure to check out the six-seater ski lift! The Remarkables has some good black runs for advanced riders where ski insurance would come in very handy, but it also boasts lots of mellow undulating routes for beginners and a decent sized park.

Time off the piste

Queenstown in general is much more of a party town than neighbouring Cardrona, with thousands of tourists looking for all sorts of extreme activities. It’s good fun to go for a night out, but not great if you’re thinking of spending the entire season there. If you’re stuck there without snow, be sure to check out Frisbee Golf and the indoor ice-bar.

3. Falls Creek, Australia

Falls Creek is one of the best ski resorts in all of Australia. It’s located in the state of Victoria, about half way between Melbourne and Canberra. You can ski here each year from the start of June until roughly the first week in October.

There are nearly 100 runs for downhill skiers, ranging from beginner to expert terrain. There are also 21 cross-country trails and over 65 kilometres of groomed trail network. A lift pass will cost you from AUS $74 per day, but great savings can be made if you buy a ticket for longer periods.

Time off the piste

In the summer, Falls Creek is an ideal place to escape the traditional Australian beach holiday and take a break in the mountains. With stunning scenery, fishing, walking and mountain bike trails and an abundance of high-quality accommodation, it’s the perfect relaxing antidote to hard work.

Bariloche, Argentina

The ski resort at Bariloche is a taste of the alps in the heart of South America. With huge quantities of lush snow, first-class facilities and a warm welcome, this resort has a truly European flavour.

Beginners, intermediates and experts alike have plenty of terrain options at Bariloche, including 62 miles of groomed runs. It’s so big, there are 39 ski lifts!

Time off the piste

Although Bariloche is a Patagonian city, the culture and vibe outside the ski area is closer to that of Buenos Aires. Bars stay open super late, and clubs go all night.

Portillo, Chile

Chile is famous for the Andean Cordillera running down its eastern border with Argentina. Portillo is a 2 hour drive from the capital, Santiago. As a ski area, Portillo dates back to the 1940s, and while the facilities and accommodation have modernized, the vibe and is still tranquilo.

The management purposely limit the numbers of skiers allowed on the slopes in any one day, so it’s never crowded. Thursday is race day at Portillo. Whatever your skill level, you’re encouraged to take part in a whole variety of downhill races. There are prizes awarded in the evenings.

Time off the piste

The apres ski is just as good as the ski at Portillo. There are as many staff there as there are guests. Be sure to take advantage of the amazing gastronomy on offer. Also, take time on Friday night to check out the beautiful torch-lit parade performed weekly by the students of the ski school.

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