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First Timers

Lake Wanaka has six ski fields in close proximity and has a great selection of mountains and beginners slopes to choose from.

Skiing first timers, Lake Wanaka
07, May 2010
As a complete beginner you may be 40 years or 10 years old, but one thing is certain, you are going to have a great time, and you'll wish you had started earlier! What are the basics, what will you need?



A lift pass
To access the lifts on the mountain, though to begin with you may only need access to the beginner slopes. You can buy a OnePassNZ which gives you access to all four Wanaka ski fileds - these can be brought on the mountain or at the Lake Wanaka i-SITE Visitor Centre.

Look for the multi-day passes and the different learner packages that Cardrona, Treble Cone and Snow Farm offer.

Skis, boots, poles, or snowboard and boots. You can rent these on or off the mountains. Ski and snowboard gear is now better than ever before. Skis are lightweight, shaped, and flexible, boots are softer and much more comfortable. Spend some time getting the right boots fitted. Note that boots can be more comfortable during the day if you start with them a bit looser and tighten up as the day goes on. See our gear pages.

Warm winter layers, wind and waterproof shell, gloves, hat and glasses or goggles, suntan lotion. Think about adding or taking off articles depending upon outside temperature and your level of exertion. The innermost layer should be light thermal underwear, either light or medium weight. Always have a very warm thermal jacket on hand as well as a rain and wind proof parka, either in a daypack or back at the car park. Remember that kids get a lot colder up the mountain than adults. Avoid double pairs of socks, which tend to chafe and bulk, though sometimes one pair of thick socks and one very thin pair works well. The mountain resorts do hire clothing if you need it.

Okay, maybe you can muck around in the snow for a day first, but you won't get very far. Take the plunge and check in for some group or individual lessons to get you started. Lessons are for everyone.
You may be an absolute beginner, an intermediate skier who can't quite handle those black runs, or an experienced rider who needs to gain confidence in off-piste powder conditions. Maybe you are a skier who wants to give snowboarding a go? Well lesson #1 is "lessons DO make a difference."

Look for the multi-day passes and the different learner packages that Cardrona, Treble Cone and Snow Farm offer.

Many people self-drive their rental car up the mountain (30-40mins drive from Wanaka), but there are also excellent twice daily shuttle services that will pick up from and drop off to your accommodation. See our Transport pages.

See our suggestions on the accommodation pages of this website. Backpacker hostels and holiday park cabins and campgrounds offer great value for students. Families may prefer to opt for hotels, motels or apartments and those looking for something more individual should turn to our luxury lodges accommodation pages.

Special Deals
As first timers to snow sports we encourage you to take either of the resorts First Time packages. These packages are great value and set you up with everything you need to ensure you get the best experience possible, equipment, lesson and learner lift pass which accesses the learners slopes of the mountains. Also check out the holiday packages offered by Wanaka agents many of which include flights, accommodation, lift passes and equipment hire.

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