Monday, August 31, 2009
Spend Spring skiing in the south
The snow may have melted away in Australia, but there has never been a better time for Australians to hit the slopes.
Those in the know are making a beeline for the heart of the South Island, Canterbury, which has more ski-fields than any other region in New Zealand, making it the favoured destination for skiers and snowboarders of all abilities.
The best winter snow season in more than a decade has left Canterbury's ski areas blanketed in snow, with "powder-perfect'' conditions for both skiers and snowboarders alike.
Couple those conditions with low-cost airfares, discounted accommodation, and a favourable exchange rate and it's not hard to see why thousands of Australians are heading across the Tasman this year to slide down a mountain.
"We're blessed to have 16 ski areas, including Mt Hutt, the biggest in Australasia, all on Christchurch's doorstep so whether you are novice or a budding Olympian you are guaranteed to enjoy your stay in the snow,'' says Christchurch & Canterbury Tourism chief executive Christine Prince.
"Traditionally a lot of Australians have gone to Queenstown for their skiing holiday but frankly it's getting a bit crowded down there and we have more flights.
"More people are realising that in terms of variety and ease of access you can't beat the Canterbury ski areas. The nearest field is only an hour away, there are lots of daily flights straight into Christchurch airport and the facilities are world-class,'' says Christine Prince.
"It's not by chance that many of the world's top skiers and snowboarders train at our fields – they come because we offer some of the best condtions in the Southern Hemisphere.''
And with plans to develop the region's second biggest ski-field, Porters, by building European-style accommodation for up to 3000 people at the foot of the mountain and expanding the 700-hectare ski area into the adjoining Crystal Valley, Canterbury is poised to become an even more appealing winter destination.
"This development is just going to increase our fantastic facilities and make Canterbury an even more desirable winter get-away for snow-starved Australians who want some fun in the snow and the chance for an alpine adventure,'' Christine Prince says.
Australians keen to hit the slopes this spring will find information about Canterbury's skifields, accommodation deals and other attractions in the Canterbury region at www.christchurchnz.com.