Snowboarders prepare to learn the ropes at the Remarkables, Queenstown, New Zealand. The NZ ski season generally runs from June to October.
Snowboarders prepare to learn the ropes at the Remarkables, Queenstown, New Zealand. The NZ ski season generally runs from June to October. CHRIS MCLENNAN

TRAVEL: It’s time to think about hitting the ski slopes

SKIING down the slopes of Perisher or Cardrona is probably the last thing on your mind after a weekend of heavy rain. However if you are thinking about doing a trip to the snow fields this year, be it either in Australia or New Zealand, then I would seriously do something about it.

The snow companies have released all their deals for this snow season with many hotels already booked out over some snow season periods. So whether you are an enthusiast who loves their annual trip or a first timer, now is the time to take advantage of the snow co's and their deals. Even if you haven't been to the snow before and would love to try something new, it's a good time to start the planning process. We have a stock of ski brochures which you are more than welcome to take home.

If you don't have a passport and would prefer to stay in Australia for your skiing then Thredbo is probably a good place to start. Ski Max are currently offering a package staying at the Thredbo Alpine Apartments from $777pp for five nights*, in a quad share two-bedroom apartment with a five-day ski pass. Conditions do apply which you can see below.

A New Zealand ski package to Queenstown with Ski Max starts from $$999** per person staying at the Copthorne Lakefront Hotel. This 'first timer' package includes a bonus offer of 1 + all you need to learn to ski or snowboard. The five nights' accommodation is twin share in a Superior Room at Copthorne Lakefront Hotel with a three-day Learn to Ski package including group lessons, ski/board rentals, clothing/helmet rentals and transfers to and from the mountain. You can also add nights on if you wanted to extend your holiday. Conditions also apply to this offer.

Of course you would also have to add airfares to New Zealand but with Qantas, Virgin, Jetstar and Air New Zealand all competing against each other, you can often get quite reasonable price to fly across the ditch.

Back at home, the main Australian snow fields are Perisher and Thredbo in New South Wales and Mt Buller, Mt Hotham and Falls Creek in Victoria.

Perisher is Australia's biggest ski resort and is located well above the snow line. You are able to ski right from your front door. The ski facilities cater for the beginner right up to the accomplished. Families are well catered for with Kids Clubs there to help keep the children occupied snow based activities while mum and dad brush up on their slope skills.

In New Zealand the main snow fields are Queenstown, Wanaka and Mt Ruapehu. The most popular with Australians would be Queenstown.

Queenstown is located on the South Island of New Zealand at the base of the mountains. It serves as a great central point where you can then move out from there to explore the multitude of ski fields, Coronet Peak, The Remarkables, Cardrona and Treble Cone and then return to your hotel at the end of the day. Queenstown also has other attractions nearby so if five or six days of skiing is a bit too much, you can take in a cruise on Lake Wakatipu or a jet boat ride, play a game of golf or if you are really after an adrenalin rush, a bungy jump.

Whichever you decide on you are going to have an experience that will stay with you always.

* Offer is valid for travel arriving Sunday only between June 10-25 and August 28-October 3, 2016. Surcharges may apply for travel during peak periods and school holidays. Prices are subject to change and availability. Book and pay by 31 July 2016.

** This offer is valid for travel June 15 - September 30. Surcharges may apply for travel during peak season and school holidays. You must be able to book and pay by June 30, 2016. All prices and availability are subject to change.



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