We live for Spring here in the Wakatipu Basin. Don’t get me wrong, obviously we’re pretty mad about the Winter season itself, but for some reason Spring has a vibe to it unlike the rest of the busier seasons – let me explain why you might think about a visit in September through November as a worthwhile option!
Skiing/Boarding: Our snow-sliding season officially comes to an end at the end of September into October (depending on the resort), and those searching specifically for powder and colder temperatures will generally come in July and August. But there’s a lot of reasons to hit the ski fields in these later months. Firstly, the mountains are normally at their peak snow-fall accumulation by the start of September, so coverage will generally be at it’s best. We quite often get late season dumps – we had 60cm in late September in one storm last year – so don’t necessarily think you’re all done surfing pow just because you came later on.
Next, unlike the rest of the peak seasons, Spring-time sees a drop in tourist numbers, meaning the ski-fields (and town in general) are all yours for the taking. You don’t need to be up at the crack of dawn to get that seat on the bus/carpark up top, take your time and slow down. We’ve well and truly passed the shortest day of the year by now, so the days are gradually getting longer and warmer. This means the snow is soft and slushy in the afternoons, it’s suns out/guns out on the runs as you comfortably ride in a t-shirt, and the outside decks are packed with people enjoying that apres ski life. See the definition of happiness as people sink cold brews while they soak up the warm sun, high-fiving their friends as they reminisce on those last slash-filled runs.
Finally, if you’ve never ridden in Spring snow then in my opinion you’re missing out. Purists who only ride in the very best of conditions might complain, but those in the know relish these conditions. Technically ‘purists’ should never be trusted anyway – these people only ride in the very best of conditions (those couple of days a season), and make excuses for the other 95% of the season about why they don’t or can’t ride. I don’t know about you, but I’m here for 100% of the season, so why be negative about the 95% when the 5% is a vague chance at best?
Conditions will be fast and firm first thing in the morning for those speedsters who like to break the sound barrier, and spring-pow by midday. Ride like a god in the park and piste, slashing lines like there’s 30cm of fresh (and who knows, there might actually be!), and crush those new tricks in the park you’ve wanted to learn, because now the snow is soft and forgiving, and the lift lines are non-existent. The resorts tend to put on Spring-time events to get involved in too, so the stoke is at an all time high. I mean, the more I write about it, the more I’m hanging for it and wish it was September already!
Once the season ends, that doesn’t mean the fun has to. Spring is cheaper for basically everything for starters – you’ll find deals on everything from accommodation to car rentals (and everything in between), so watch your dollar go further and maximise your holiday. Hike’s have started to defrost and trails are empty, mountain-biking is gearing up for the Summer and trails have been buffed and cleaned in preparation for the rubber onslaught, and the flowers are starting to wake up in the gardens (so bring your anti-histamines if you suffer from hayfever!). Those long sunny days can be jam-packed with everything you wanted to do, and you can finish it with a cold bevvy in the sun on the beach, because why the hell not?
So don’t listen to people who think they know best because they visited in peak season – listen to those of us who live here year round, and can let you in on our best-kept secret. Spring is King!