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8 Tips for your Family Ski Holiday from Local Wānaka Parents

We asked a couple of local experts, Jay Smith and Leigh Fountain, to help with some top tips for a day skiing or snowboarding in NZ with your kids.

Watch their video guides and read 8 tips and tricks below!

Check out Jay's Rad Dad Guide to Cardrona here:

And Leigh's Rad Mum Ski Guide here: 

8 Family ski holiday tips and tricks

  1. Check our Snow Report first thing in the morning, it’s updated at 6.30 am daily. It’s a useful tool that tells you what weather, snow conditions, carpark status and lift pass availability are like that day. This is helpful for deciding how to pack the right number of layers, knowing how busy the mountain will be, and preparing your kids for what the day holds.
  2. Book your pass online and ahead of time to avoid any disappointmentThere are limited day and multi-day passes for the mountains, so our top recommendation is to check the snow report to see what pass availability looks like before you head up the mountain. Periods like our “blackout” period, the Aus and NZ school holidays, June 26 - July 14, will be busier and will sell out.
  3. Before you leave, check, and check again that you have everything! Start with your kids and work your way from their heads down – from helmets and goggles right to their socks and ski boots. Don’t forget to repeat the process for yourself too! If you forget something, it’s not the end of the world either. You can pick up most things either in the on-mountain retail shop or borrow them from rentals.
  4. The last thing to grab before you head out the door in the morning – snacks. Snacks for the journey, snacks for their pockets during lessons or on the chairlift, and snacks for the drive home again. Snacks on the mountain keep things going…
  5. Cardrona offers parking solutions for families too. If you’re a single parent, we offer single-parent parks which are closer to the base buildings to make life easy. Carrying gear (and kids) from the car is so much easier. If your car does include a couple of adults, use the drop-off zone instead. You can drive right up to the base buildings, drop off the kids with the other adults and all the gear, and then park at a lower carpark, and then walk or catch the shuttle back to base.
  6. If you can, drop the kids off at lessons or Ski Kindy for a few hours or the whole day. Lessons are an investment into your long-term family ski experience. Your kids will learn in a safe, fun environment, they’ll grow their confidence, and arguably the best part - you don’t have to teach them!
  7. When you’re skiing/snowboarding together, plan your attack at the start of each run and lock in a meeting place just in case. Use the trail maps dotted around the slopes as a guide if you’re unfamiliar with the ski area. Don’t forget to take plenty of water and hot chocolate breaks to get their energy levels back up.
  8. At the end of the day, it pays to have a large plastic tub for the back of the car – you can throw all your wet/grubby gear into one place and save the car from bearing the brunt of it. Then check the weather forecast for the next day and get ready to do it all again tomorrow!

Get more tips for your family ski holiday here!