A Guide to Skiing the Remarkables 2020
A Truely World Class Ski Field
It is hard to describe The Remarkables in just one sentence as an opening line. This is because it is just not one type of mountain - in fact, if anything The Remarkables has something for everyone and more! Fun, Adventurous, Challenging, Family.... A park with massive jumps to rival anything in the world, wonderful learners areas and intermediate cruising slopes perfect for the family, and an off-piste playground with chutes enough to challenge any expert skier or boarder.
2020 has seen some exciting changes on The Remarkables. And with our currently closed international borders it means that there is terrain for everyone to play on...Here is our run down on getting to grips with the Remarkables.
Well the main talking point is the new Sugar Bowl Lift. Not yet open, but soon to be! The poor technician sent to splice the rope had to go thru managed isolation after being granted special permission to enter the country with the current Covid - 19 restrictions. It's safety testing time now with a view to be open in just a few weeks For those who know the mountain, the new lift will change the way we access these runs from the top of Sugar with a much quicker relay time! Bring it on!
The entrance to the Remarkables is on State Highway 6A as if you were leaving Queenstown heading South to Invercargil. From Frankton cross over the “new bridge” towards Kelvin Heights and keep left. It will take approximately 30-40 minutes to drive from the apartments to the top of the ski area.
Some consider the road a bit treacherous but in reality NZSki (the skifield owners) have invested heavily in recent years in sealing the majority of it and providing barriers where there is steep drop offs. If you are not keen on driving then there are a load of bus options in town - some departing directly opposite you apartments. Just ask us for assistance.
Our biggest piece of advice is get to the Remarkables early. There is not enough parking spots close to the ski field so it is strictly a first come first serve (unless you have a Tesla as there is a charging unit right at the very front within a few metres of the front door). Once you arrive the options are to use the drop-off zone to dump the gear and the kids or simply park straight away and wait for the handy free shuttles that will take you right to the door.
Regardless of whether you took the bus of drove yourself you will enter through the basement of the main building and you will find instantly everything you might need - a shop on the left for forgotten gloves and helmet, a full rental area on the right to get you everything you don’t have, and ski school sign up right there too.
Head upstairs to massive airport like area complete with cafe offering a choice of hot chips and sandwiches, good coffee, a la carte breakfasts and at lunch time a restaurant quality option also.
Getting kitted up in the cafe over a coffee it is hard not to get excited. The skiing is literally right out the front door. The learners area is right in front of you with a number of easy “magic carpets” to get your started
A learners and intermediate Paradise:
The Remarkables has an incredible amount of easy terrain for learners and progressing intermediates. It is the ideal mountain for families. If you are beyond the magic carpet then head to the Alta Chair just beyond the learners area. This provides a number of slightly more challenging runs to get your feet. From there ski left to the Sugar Bowl chair. Not only is this home to some longer easy runs it is also the base for the huge park. Big jumps attract freestyle skiers and boarders from all over the world. To the far right of this is the Burton Park - a steeper run full of natural and manmade features. Great for just skiing off piste on a powder day for advanced skiers also.
Beginners and intermediate skiers make their way down the long cruising Casterways run. For the more advanced there are numerous variations to challenge you and keep it interesting.
The ‘main’ chair is Curvy basin - a new high speed 6 seater. This provides two main longer intermediate runs bringing you all the way back to the base building - for coffee or lunch! Curvy Basin also accesses a number of easier off piste areas skiing down to Lake Alta (that is the big white flat area you can see out to the right as you travel up the chairlift).
An advanced and off piste playground:
Once you have mastered Curvy Basin next stop is the Shadow Chair out to the right hand side of the mountain. This is a playground of advanced runs and off piste. For those that are prepared to hike a little the Shadow basin boasts some of the best chute skiing anywhere in the Southern Hemisphere. Hike up on skiers right and choose between a number of Chutes taking you back down toward Lake Alta with names like Escalator and Elevator.
For the family a hike directly behind the top of the Shadow chairlift is definitely worth it to get unparalleled views over Lake Wakatipu and back towards Queenstown.
On skiers left is the almost famous Homeward Run. A large basin of often untracked snow leading you all the way back down to the road where a free shuttle runs you back up to the skifield building. Do this run a few times and the legs will be well and truly burning.
The Remarkables ski resort should be on everyones Queenstown ski itinerary. It is the perfect place for families to get going and for the advanced skier a bit of effort is rewarded with incredible off piste skiing. The new base building (2015) is a joy with a variety of food and always lots of room to sit and relax. We give the Remarkables a huge tick of approval!