Air New Zealand promoting service to the South Island ski resorts

Air New Zealand has teamed up with online content creator Diaries Downunder to launch a campaign promoting its direct trans-Tasman services to the South Island ski fields.
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The campaign “Meanwhile in… New Zealand” will showcase what is happening “now” on the South Island slopes, along with the kind of colorful characters you’re likely to encounter while coming down a mountain – in the tongue in cheek style of the popular “meanwhile in…” internet memes.

The first in the series of videos, featuring a trio of posers in matching woollen skivvies and pom-pom beanies heli-dropped onto Central Otago’s Isobel Glacier, can be viewed here

Destination Queenstown CEO Graham Budd says with snow falling and more forecast for the coming week, the timing of the campaign is perfect.

“All ski resorts will be open and ready this week to welcome Australian skiers, boarders and holiday makers – so now is the time to book your seat for an unbeatable winter experience in Queenstown.”

unnamed (3)The airline has also launched a social media campaign today offering customers who hit the South Island slopes this winter the opportunity to win back the cost of their airfares by hashtagging their experiences #meanwhileinnz.

Air New Zealand General Manager Australia Leanne Geraghty says while Australia has also had its share of snow dumps this winter, there’s one thing New Zealand slopes offer that you can’t experience here.

unnamed (4)“Queenstown has some of the world’s best heli-ski routes and terrains making for a unique and memorable ski experience. Air New Zealand and our alliance partner Virgin Australia currently fly at least daily from Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne to the Queenstown ski region, making it possible to check out the heli conditions today and hit the slopes tomorrow.

“New Zealand has historically had a ski season that goes all the way to late September so Australians can continue booking right through spring.”

Air New Zealand, along with alliance partner Virgin Australia will operate an additional 40,000 seats into Queenstown over the peak winter period compared with the same period last year.


American Airlines announces flights to Vail for next ski season

American Airlines has just released a new flight schedule between Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and Vail/Eagle County Airport (EGE) for the 2014-2015 ski season, making it easier than ever  to ski or ride Vail and Beaver Creek with seamless connections.

Vail/Eagle County Airport is located only 45km from Beaver Creek and 56km from Vail, with door-to-door transfers to your lodging in Vail or Beaver Creek available in private, chauffeured four-wheel drive vehicles and shuttles with Colorado Mountain Express.

Daily non-stop flights between Los Angeles and Vail/Eagle County Airport will operate from Friday, Dec. 19, 2014 through Sunday, April 5, 2015, maximizing accessibility to Vail and Beaver Creek over the Christmas/New Year break, January school holiday period  as well as the March Easter break.

The new flight will depart Los Angeles International Airport at 8:45 a.m. With a 12:05 p.m. arrival to Vail/Eagle County Airport, skiers can now ski on the same day they arrive. On the day of departure, snowboarders can maximize their holiday with a full ski day, departing Vail/Eagle County Airport at 6:45 p.m., arriving in Los Angeles at 8 p.m.

For those choosing to complement their ski holiday with a visit to other U.S. destinations, American Airlines also offers daily, non-stop flights from Thursday, Dec. 18, 2014 through Sunday, April 5, 2015 between Vail/Eagle County Airport and New York Kennedy, Miami, Dallas/Ft. Worth and Chicago Airports.

Snoworks still has room on August ski trips to Chile

At Snoworks they have a dream, to ski exotic destinations with richly varied cultures. In 2002, they  headed for South America and over the last 12 years have created and fine-tuned one of the most diverse ski adventures you will find anywhere in the world.

Ski Chile is a no holds-barred ski extravaganza combining amazing skiing experiences, spectacular southern-hemisphere winter scenery with extraordinary local culture – skiing Chilean ski resorts in the Lakes and Volcano District and staying in some extraordinary places.

Skiing Level
Ski South America is designed for competent off-piste skiers. (Snoworks Levels 5 & 6). Although we also can take adventurous levels 4 skiers with limited off-piste experience. If you’re an adventurous level 4 please enquire as to whether your skiing level is at the minimum level for the trip.

We’ve created an itinerary to cater for a difference in skill level and aspirations. At each destination you have the option of skiing off-piste accessed by mechanical uplift wherever possible, as well as the option of skinning, climbing and skiing from the summit of 5 volcanoes.

(For fit adventurous level 4’s there may be the option of joining the trip. Please contact our office to chat further.)

Australian ski resorts report almost five feet of new snow

Patrick Thorne files this great report with

Australian ski areas – which started their season badly on June 7th with almost no snow following a record warm May, are celebrating snowfalls of up to almost five feet (1.4m in fact) during the last four days.

The snow has now stopped leaving resorts well-covered ahead of the weekend and the country’s school holiday period.

“We expect to have over 40 lifts operating for the weekend across the four resorts areas of Perisher, Smiggin Holes, Blue Cow and Guthega,” said Samantha Hales, Communications and Media Manager at Australia’s biggest resort which now has a 102.1 cm base,

“There is a lot of work to do to get the resort open after a big storm as we need to get out there and groom out the wind drift, build lift tracks and ensure the resorts is safe for guests.”

Meanwhile at Mt Hotham called the snowfall ‘Snowmageddon 1.0’ and are expecting ‘Snowmageddon 2.0’ to follow bon later this weekend,

“Snowmageddon 1.0  started last Monday and brought the snowfall we have all been waiting for. Within 3 days we had over 70cm of snow, got 6 lifts going and are looking forward to the best school holiday skiing and riding in years.  Another front is coming in on Saturday and we will be hitting the 1-meter mark by Saturday night/Sunday morning,” said a statement from the resort, which currently has seven  lifts running.

Check it out at SNOW.

Charlotte Pass great for back-country skiing and families in Australia

Flip Byrnes finishes his tour of New South Wales ski resorts in Australian Traveller:

Charlotte Pass: Snowbound Wonderland

Best for: Back-country bandits and families.

In a nutshell: You never forget your first love, and for many of us, that’s Charlotte Pass. Nestled against the flanks of Australia’s largest mountain, Mt Kosciuszko,Charlotte’s is a 45-minute over-snow cat ride from Perisher, and a universe away. There are no cars, no roads, just a handful of lodges dotted around the magnificent, refurbished 1930s Kosciusko Chalet.

Back country enthusiasts are drawn by easy access to off-piste terrain and families love skiing the intimate five lifts over 50 hectares. In a week, you’ll know every lift operator’s name, and like us, return thirty years later with your own generation of future pro skiers.

Underrated run: A little hike goes a long way. Hike to Kangaroo Ridge Cornice or Guthrie’s Chutes for some adrenalin-inducing action.

Best spot for an après: Sink into a leather couch fire-side at Adam’s Cocktail Lounge in The Kosciuszko Chalet, or sink beers while sinking balls in a game of pool in The Cellar.

Local tip: Day trips to Charlotte’s are available from Perisher ($97 for adults and $60 for children). There are two return over-snow transport packages with either a lift pass and hot lunch, or a two-and-a-half hour snow shoe tour with picnic lunch.

More info:

Family will love the Selwyn Snowfields in New South Wales

Australian Traveller’s Flip Byrnes continues his guide to ski resorts in New South Wales:

Selwyn Snowfields: Family Nirvana

Best for: Snow newbies who don’t want to burn gold bars trying a new sport.

In a nutshell: It’s small; with 10 lifts and 45 hectares of terrain. But that’s what renders it perfect for people who fall over when not even moving on skis. There’s nowhere to get lost, help is always at hand and the family that skis together, stays together.

It’s also great value at $82 an adult and $45 a child for a peak season day pass, and if you’re breeding future free-riders who just want park-play, a terrain park ticket accessing the two parks is a cheap-as-chips $25 per person.

It’s a day resort, meaning there’s no on-snow accommodation, but the Snowy Mountains Holiday Centre can arrange packages and hotels around Adaminaby (

Underrated run: First timers can score a great initial impression of powder skiing down The Meadows on snowfall days, running from Emu’s Chase straight to the Race Course T-bar.

Best spot for an après: The Swinging T-bar on the mezzanine is the best place (okay, the only place) to kick back with a cup of barista perfection. Alternatively, Wild Brumby Schnapps (with locally-made schnapps) overlooks the slopes. Put your feet up and enjoy the sweeping views (

What’s new? Public barbecues were added this summer, near the Toboggan Slope – ready for winter picnics. The snow-making capacity has also been increased with snow guns being mounted on lift towers.

Local tip: Seeking a calorie injection? The Bake House in Adaminaby has a mouth-watering range of Danish pastries to refuel weary ski legs (02 6454 2092).

More info:

Ski all day, party all night at Thredbo in New South Wales

 Here’s another good description by Flip Byrnes in Australian Traveller:

Thredbo: Split personality

Best for: Skiing all day, partying (in ski boots) all night.

In a nutshell: In an admittedly unusual analogy, Thredbo is like a mullet: all business in the front and party in the back. Located in a valley, one side is the slopeside; deep and steep with 14 lifts in over 480 hectares; while the other is the village, where lodges cling to the switchback road, and over 30 bars and restaurants see the schnapps flow like water.

But that’s where the analogy ends, for this resort is as chic and stylish as the Sydneysiders who go there. Outside ofVictoria, this is the only resort boasting a true in-resort village, and there’s nothing like staying where you’re playing. The perennial party lasting from June to September is a winner for big kids; Thredboland and the Mission Inflatable pool obstacle course a hit for little kids. And the terrain is full of nooks, crannies and natural features to explore.

Underrated run: Point your ski tips towards Golf Course Bowl for fresh snow. If not adverse to earning turns, Thredbo’s Dead Horse Gap is back-country intermediate and advanced bliss. Access is from the top of Karel’s T-bar, requiring a car convoy to return to Thredbo.

Best spot for an après: The Bistro is the obvious choice (02 6459 4200), but follow the ski instructors to the Black Bear Inn for schnapps in a Bavarian atmosphere. ( Or head down during ‘Cliquot in the Snow’, a week-long party, 29 July–4th August.

Local tip: Pay the National Park’s fee at the park entry gate. It results in 90% of the cost going towards the parks – as opposed to 30% if bought elsewhere.

More info:

Freestyle paradise found at Perisher in New South Wales, Australia

I’ve never been skiing in Australia, but I knew they get snow. So I’m checking out stories by Aussie writers to learn more. Here’s a good description by Flip Byrnes in Australian Traveller:

If you haven’t been to the New South Wales ski fields lately, prepare yourself for a surprise because they have been evolving. Flip Byrnes finds out which one is best for you.

Perisher: Freestyle Paradise

Best for: Everyone – with room to move.

In a nutshell: Perisher is bigger than Ben Hur and bigger IS better. The linked areas of Guthega, Blue Cow, Perisher and Smiggins Hole create 1245 hectares of riding accessed by 47 lifts. With statistics like these, it’s no wonder winter Olympic athletes call Perisher home (gold medallist Torah Bright and former world snowboarding champions Holly Crawford and Nate Johnstone are Perisher alumni), while the five terrain parks, Rider X course and Superpipe draw freestylers from around the globe.

But even if throwing down corkscrew 580s isn’t your thing, the many pockets of the resort offer something for all, from the beginner’s Magic Carpet at Perisher to double black Devil’s Playground at Blue Cow. Perisher misses the magic of the village atmosphere of Thredbo or Victorian resorts, but if it’s downhill you want, it’s downhill they’ve got.

Underrated run: Anywhere in Guthega, the over-looked, far-flung corner of the resort. The sheltered, tree-lined runs are tranquil even on the busiest days, and on a powder day, this is the place to be. Refuel at the Burning Log Restaurant (02 6459 4692) with Main Range views.

Best spot for an après: By the fireplace at the Perisher Valley Hotel (with free wi-fi).

Local tip: The Station in nearby Jindabyne offers killer lift, accommodation and meal packages. ( Pause pre-ski at Sundance Bakehouse in Jindabyne (02 6456 2951) – all goods are baked on premises and they open from 6:00am.

More info:

Argentina’s Los Lenas the most challenging ski resort in South America has some great summary of skiing in Argentina. Here’s another resort there:  

Las Leñas, Argentina

A thousand kilometres north of Bariloche, in the western reaches of Mendoza province, the also large Las Leñas, dating from 1983, can at times be the most challenging ski resort in South America.

But that depends on the weather and whether a particular lift is open or closed. Provided there’s stable snow and not too much wind to open the avalanche-prone Marte chair, then expert skiers and snowboarders are in for a real treat.

The lift provides the only mechanised access to some extraordinary off-piste, with plunging powder bowls and narrow couloirs.  The area is dotted with cliffs and, again, exposed to the possibility of avalanches, so it’s the kind of place where a local guide is absolutely essential.

When the Marte chair is closed, Las Leñas amounts to an enjoyable but perhaps slightly bland Andean resort – a treeless wilderness a 90-minute flight from Buenos Aires to Malargue, followed by an hourlong bus ride; there are no cities or towns in the area but some robust nightlife nonetheless.

All the accommodation here is in hotels and lodges within a short distance of a lift. The Hotel Virgo & Spa is the most comfortable place to stay, with an in-house cinema and a kids club.

Skiing in Argentina can be a sweet experience in San Carlos de Bariloche

Hey, you don’t have to wait until fall to go skiing. Just jump on a jet and head to the southern hemisphere, where winter is just beginning and the ski resorts are opening for their season.

Here’s some good information from

The South America skiing season in Argentina and Chile runs from June through October, with skiing for all levels, modern lifts, some great off-piste skiing, quirky resorts and eclectic hotels. Stir in a day or two of wine-tasting at one of the outstanding wineries close to Santiago, or an evening beef-eating and tango in Buenos Aries, and you have the perfecto South America ski holiday!

L2F Jun Argentina skiing Bariloche WikipediaBariloche, Argentina

Argentina has more than a dozen snow resorts scattered around the Andes, with resorts near Mendoza, the Lake District and Patagonia in the south, and Ushuaia further south. But Bariloche (top and right) is the biggest and best known in the country, and indeed, the most prominent on the continent.

Down in Patagonia, some 17 to 20 hours by road and a 2-hour flight from Buenos Aires, San Carlos de Bariloche is a pretty, Teutonic-flavoured city not far from the Chilean border. The main ski station here, Cerro Catedral, has a modern system of 39 lifts, mainly intermediate slopes, lots of off-piste, and a vertical drop of 1,070 m (3,512 ft.).

Bariloche also happens to be Argentina’s chocolate capital (because of all its German and Austrian immigrants) and I’d highly recommend a visit to the Fenoglio Museum of Chocolate and a sweet browse along the chocolate shops of Calle Mitre, the main drag. You can stay at the Knapp Hotel, which is right by the lifts and has an in-house chocolate shop.