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Queenstown For First-Time Skiers & Snowboarders

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Queenstown For First-Time Skiers & Snowboarders

Learn to Ski or Snowboard in Queenstown

Location: Cardrona , Coronet Peak , Queenstown , The Remarkables , Treble Cone , New Zealand
Queenstown in New Zealand is such an exciting place to visit and is a great place for people who want to try skiing or snowboarding for the very first time. Use this simple 3-step-process to book your fabulous Queenstown adventure....

Guide for Queenstown First-Timers

This Queenstown first-timers guide is for those interested in visiting Queenstown who want to try skiing or snowboarding for the first time, or for those who are beginners and haven't skied for some time.

The best time to visit is between mid June and late September. Being a beginner, it won't matter if you aren't there for the peak season when there are a lot more visitors, so you will find accommodation to be cheaper from mid-June to mid-July and all of September.

New Zealand caters very well to first-timers/beginners and the easiest & most economical way to book a holiday is using this 3-step process:

STEP 1 - Flights - check pricing and availability of flights into Queenstown International Airport (ZQN) using either Skyscanner or Google Flights. 

STEP 2 - Accommodation - use the Powderhounds accommodation system to search for and book your accommodation. Ideally do the research on both flights and accommodation simultaneously so the availability & dates line up before hitting the "book" button.

STEP 3 - Book a beginners package - these packages include daily mountain transport from Queenstown, ski/snowboard/clothing hire, lift tickets & lessons, so this saves a lot of hassle trying to organise each component individually (however it is also easy to do this yourself using the information below in this guide).

It really is as simple as 1....2.....3......

Further Information 

Getting Around

Given that you are a first-timer/beginner, you probably haven't driven in the snow before. If that is the case, New Zealand is probably not the best place to learn to drive in the snow because some of the roads are very windy and can be muddy and slippery and require you to put snow chains on the tyres in some conditions.

Queenstown has an incredible network of transport options to get you to/from the airport and then to/from the ski area of choice each day.

However if you do want to hire a car, book car hire here>>

Getting to/from the Airport

Getting between the airport and accommodation is simple and if you have quite a bit of luggage it is definitely worth pre-booking your preferred option, otherwise there are a variety of on-demand taxis and private transport options available.  

Getting to/from the Ski Areas

Things can get pretty busy during the ski season so it is advisable to book your mountain shuttles in advance. Be sure to check the pick-up locations before booking to make sure they pick up close to your accommodation.

See more information about Queenstown transport options here>>


On a tight budget - if you are on a tight budget, Queenstown has some of the best hostels/backpackers/lodges and inexpensive motel-style lodgings you will find anywhere.

On a moderate budget - if you have a little more money in the kitty to spend on accommodation, the options are huge with fabulous apartments, hotels, motels, holiday houses/chalets & bed and breakfasts.

Budget is no option - no problem; Queenstown has some of the most exclusive 5-star accommodation options.

See all Queenstown accommodation here and after entering your dates THEN filter the results by the accommodation types & other filters to find your perfect accommodation.

Where To Ski

As a first-timer staying in Queenstown, we would recommend you invest in some lessons and ski at either (or both) The Remarkables and Coronet Peak, which are located nearest to Queenstown and cater very well for first-timers & beginners.

If you are staying in Queenstown for an extended period and your lessons take your skiing or snowboarding skills to the next level, day trips to Treble Cone and Cardrona are an option with shuttle buses running between those ski areas and Queenstown daily. The multi-day beginners packages mentioned above provide flexibility to try different resorts.

Hiring Ski or Snowboard Gear

Like accommodation, Queenstown has a good range of ski & snowboard hire outlets where you can hire skis & snowboards as well as ski clothing, snow boots and more.

If you are a first-timer or beginner there is no point hiring premium ski & snowboard gear as you really won't notice the performance difference i.e. performance gear only improves your skiing & riding when you learn to ski & ride.

See options for hiring ski & snowboard gear here >>

Arranging Lessons

The ski areas have their own ski schools offering both PRIVATE & GROUP lessons.

The difference between the 2 types of lessons are:

PRIVATE - you have your own personal instructor for just you or you and your small group (usually up to 5). You pay a flat hourly rate which works out to be more expensive particularly if you are just one or two persons. However you will progress far more quickly in a private lesson due to the personal attention you receive.

GROUP - you pay a per person rate for yourself no matter how many people are in the lesson (groups can be larger than private lessons, sometimes up to 8) and you are placed in a group of people of similar ability. This can sometimes be the short-comings of group lessons in trying to match people accurately as some people progress far more quickly than others or there may be some disparity from the beginning. But if you are on a budget, group lessons are definitely the go.

See options for Coronet Peak ski & snowboard lessons here or Remarkables ski & snowboard lessons here >>

Restaurants & Bars

Queenstown is a mecca for a variety of restaurants from cheap eats to some of the most exquisite restaurants you will find anywhere (and everything in between). So be sure to have some budget to indulge in a night or two out!!

Likewise there are plenty of bars and boutique breweries in Queenstown, but the cost of alcohol in NZ is quire expensive so keep that in mind. The legal age for drinking & purchasing alcohol in NZ is 18.

See more information about restaurants & bars here>>

Other Activities

Queenstown is known as the "adventure capital of the world"! If you have the time between skiing or snowboarding days and some dollars still in the kitty, a couple of the must-do's include the Shotover Jetboat and the Earnslaw Walter Peak Tour.

See more information and a variety of Queenstown Activities here >>