October School Holidays - What to Bring
Spring has it all - sunny days, snowstorms, slush and powder. If you're visiting in the October school holidays, you'll need to be ready!
The October school holidays are an awesome time to visit Cardrona. Spring is a great time for kids to learn to ski or snowboard, with consistent warm days and soft snow (don't forget to book them into their lessons!). All that being said, each year we do have some pretty big snowfalls in September and October, so the key to skiing and snowboarding with your kids in spring is to be prepared for a range of weather conditions.
To help you get ready, we've put together a list of things to bring on your family ski holiday this spring - items that you might not have thought you'd need for a ski trip. Some of the items on this list have been recommended by locals who've been skiing and snowboarding with their kids in spring for years!
for your faces
One of spring's biggest perks is longer sunshine hours, so first on every spring ski trip gear list should be sunscreen and SPF lip balm. Remember to reapply throughout the day to avoid pink faces and panda eyes when you get home!
We also recommend a slightly thinner face/neck warmer for spring - thin merino does the trick really well. Merino neck warmers will keep any wind off small (and big) faces, are super breathable, and can also be doubled as a face covering should you need it under Covid-19 alert levels.
The thing with spring is that we never reeeeally know what we're going to get weather-wise. At Cardrona, we've had some of our biggest snowfalls in September and October! These October holidays, the best recommendation we can make for spring skiing and snowboarding is to bring plenty of layers; on warm days a mid-layer on top will usually be fine, but you'll want an outer waterproof layer on cold and snowy days.
Check out this video... it was filmed in the middle of September!
Layers aren't just great on your tops and bottoms - they're also worth thinking about for your hands. A good pair of waterproof gloves and mittens are key for cold and snowy days, and especially for little ones you can't go wrong with a pair of glove liners to boost warmth on those really chilly days. If it's hot out there (and you're not planning on falling over too much), you can rock just the inners and save your hands from getting warm and sweaty.
for the car
Let's keep it real - at most South Island ski areas, including Cardrona, the carparks aren't sealed. In spring, when it's warmer, that means a trudge through the mud to and from your car at the start and end of your day.
The other thing that spring brings is slush, and that often means (especially for kids) some very soggy pant legs and gloves by the time the day is over.
We reckon one of the best investments you can make for your trusty snow trip steed is a couple of plastic tubs in the boot for wet and muddy gear. It'll keep the dirt and damp away from the inside of your car, and when you get home you can just pull out the whole tub and bring gear inside to be dried, and washed if it needs to.
If you're flying in to Queenstown and picking up a rental car, you can grab a couple of those tubs at the Warehouse or Kmart on your way out of town for just a couple of dollars each.
for your feet
We wouldn't be real Kiwis if we didn't recommend a good pair of gumboots for your feet, even if you're just walking around the car to get your ski or snowboard boots from the back of the car.
To stay fuelled up
For little legs, skiing in spring can be hot, tiring work. A quick win for many parents is carrying a small backpack with muesli bars, tissues and a drink bottle to keep kids happy and full of energy on the go. We have water stations around the mountain (Base Bar, Base Cafe and Captain's) where you can top up your drink bottles. If you'd rather not ski or snowboard with a bag, look into getting a collapsible drink bottle - they compact up really small and fit into a jacket pocket well.
We can't wait to welcome you and your family to Cardrona for the October school holidays - hopefully these few little tips will help make your family ski holiday in spring a little easier. Have we missed your favourite top tip? Let us know in the comments below!