What do I need to know before going to the snow?

Never seen snow before or been dreaming about learning to ski or a snowboard? Our Top Tips for your first day on the snow... ORGANISE EVERYTHING IN ADVANCE TO HAVE STRESS FREE DAY AND MAXMISE THE WINDOW… BE ORGANISED BEFORE YOU ARRIVE.

National Park Villages, blog post, What do I need to know before going to the snow?, Never seen snow before - Kids in the snow

What do I need to know before going to the snow?

Never seen snow before or been dreaming about learning to ski or a snowboard? Our Top  Tips for your first day on the snow...


 To have stress free day and maxmise the window… be organised before you arrive. If you're staying in either National Park Village or Whakapapa Village you can either jump online or pop into one of the ski shops to organise passes, transport, rental equipment, clothing & lessons for the whole family - it means you can skip the Ticket Office on the mountain & get on the snow faster!

Don't forget to add prearrange gloves, helmet, beanie, goggles, socks, safety gear and ski/snowboarding boots before gathering up your ski equipment or snowboard. Apply sunscreen, smear on some lip balm, slip your lift pass and a muesli bar in your pocket and you're good to go.

Getting here!

Getting to Mt Ruapehu- is easier than you think. Mt Ruapehu is an easy drive from main centres of Auckland and Wellington, and most other North Island cities and towns. Whakapapa Village is an easy 10min drive to the snow line and National Park Village is an easy 20min drive to the mountain. We know that driving in alpine conditions can be a little intimidating if you've never done it before – we do have transport options available from National Park Village “ Park and Ride” or from your Accommodation. Book on line here www.nationalparkvillage.co.nz As you could imagine mother nature plays a big part. If you do drive yourself, our snowy months are July and August these months are good months to carry car chains. There is no hire chain company in our villages we suggest borrowing, buy your own or purchase chains at one of our Village shops. The ski field offers up to date information from 7am if your car requires chains, AWD or 4WD for the day.  From there, our awesome carpark crew & the mountain hosts can point you in the direction of the Ticket Office, rentals and the Snow Sports School & cafes once you have arrived.


With facilities like our Happy Valley at Whakapapa Ski Field our Charlie in the chocolate factory glass elevator takes you down to the beginner’s plaza area. Depending on the conditions, there can be snow surrounding the plaza area and the drive up along the roadside, which you are welcome to play on in a safe manner, there is no cost to access this area. Happy valley has dedicated Custom sledding lanes . Hire sleds and access lanes in one-hour blocks super fun for the whole family. Booking in advance is highly recommended. to book www.mtruapehu.com At Whakapapa, you will need a valid pass to access any lift facilities and be either skiing, snowboarding or sledding to go onto the slopes. We do not allow foot traffic on the trails for safety reasons, unless supervising young children in Happy Valley, with an accompanying adult pass.

One of the best things about learning to snowboard or ski at Whakapapa is that you can visit the top of the mountain on your first day! On Whakapapa, ride the Sky Waka gondola to 2020m, with expansive views out across the Central North Island, and beyond, all year round. There is a snow experience zone at the top of the Sky Waka gondola, which you can access with a sightseeing pass, once you are at the top grab a bite to eat or just relax and watch the world go by.

Happy Valley- First time on snow?

Happy Valley offers a great introduction to the sport and are the most cost-effective way to learn how to ski or snowboard. There is a First Timer lesson package includes Beginners’ Area lift passes, rental equipment and lessons. First Timer packages are for people who have NEVER EVER been on snow before. If you do not need a lesson or its not in your budget then try one of the ski rentals shops in the village, deck your self out with a ski or board hire package and head on up and test out your skills. To research rentals click here . www.nationalpark.co.nz

Happy Valley consist of Learner Conveyor tunnels, a Beginners’ Area close to our Base, gentle learner runs, and of course our amazing Snow Sports School, there’s no better place to learn to ski or snowboard! If you're a first time skier or snowboarder, take a lesson with our highly-qualified Snow Sports School. We highly recommend our First Timer lessons & packages for both kids & adults. You can bundle your group lessons, rental equipment, as well as any clothing or safety equipment in your First Timer Package, making it 1 easy step before you learn to ski or snowboard at Cardrona!

If group lessons aren't your thing, you can also book a private lesson for your first time on skis or a snowboard. Email [email protected] or talk to the team at our Queenstown or Wanaka offices to book a private lesson in advance.

What to Wear on the day.

Layers are perfect for a day on the maunga, the weather is very changeable and can be sunshine one moment and snowing the next. We suggest wearing a thermal base layer, a warm, waterproof jacket and waterproof pants. Jeans are not suitable for a day on the slopes and will become uncomfortable quickly. We also recommend suitable sturdy waterproof footwear.

Can kids wear gumboots to snow?

If you are planning to let your toddler walk in the snow then they will need appropriate boots. Gumboots are waterproof but offer very little warmth. They also have a large opening at the top that can easily let snow into the boot, soaking socks. Packing back up cloths for small people is recommend as young ones do not like to roll around in the snow. Hire a one piece for under 5s is a perfect solution to keep them dry and warm too pull it up over there every day wear and off they can go..

What clothes are best for snow? So the ideal clothes for snowy weather would be sweaters or hoodies as mid-layers. This layer will go over your thermals and work to keep the heat in. Fleece or down would be great mid-layer fabrics depending on your preference and activity. Wool can also work here on a sweater.

 Do you need special shoes to walk on snow?

Wear shoes or boots that provide traction on snow and ice.
Wear flat-soled shoes. Avoid shoes with heels. Products are available with abrasive soles or cleats that provide special traction for walking on snow and ice

Where to Stay

National Park Village is a small town enjoying close proximity to both Whakapapa Ski Area and the start of the Tongariro Alpine Crossing. The village has the most breathtaking panoramic view of the volcanoes: Mt Tongariro, Mt Ngauruhoe and Mt Ruapehu. With the village being just a 15 minute drive to Whakapapa Ski Area, The Sky waka Gondola and Happy Valley Beginners Ski Area.

The village offers a vast selection of accommodation options to suit all pockets and there are several choices of cafes and bars for your après-ski time. A Ski shop and rentals, 4Square and Fuel Service Centre cater for all your needs. An evening walk around the village is a great way to get between your restaurant and accommodation and showcases one of NZs most incredible night skies and will leave you wondering why you have never seen so many stars before.

Raurimu Village is the site of the famous Raurimu Spiral, and is located just 6km north of National Park Village. The village offers additional accommodation options such as charming rural cottages, boutique accommodations in private bushlands and large AirBNB houses

Whakapapa Village is at the base of Mt Ruapehu and just a 10 minute drive to Whakapapa Ski Area. As you arrive at the village you are welcomed by the view of the majestic Tongariro Chateau with Mt Ruapehu its backdrop. Boasting several eating and accommodation options, the start of several shorter walks and the Department of Conservation Visitor and Information Centre, Whakapapa Village is also a great location for a quick visit or longer stay.

Ski, Play, Explore, Eat/Drink, Sleep… Our villages have everything you’ll need for a winter getaway and adventure – Find it all at: www.nationalpark.co.nz

Article has been published in the https://skiandsnow.co.nz/




Posted in Latest News on 17 June, 2024