Skiing New Zealand vs Japan: Where is skiing in NZ and in Japan? What months can you go? How much does it cost?

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Skiing New Zealand vs Japan: Where is skiing in NZ and in Japan? What months can you go? How much does it cost?

If you are planning your next ski vacation but you want to try somewhere different from Europe or America, you may wish to explore skiing in either N

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If you are planning your next ski vacation but you want to try somewhere different from Europe or America, you may wish to explore skiing in either New Zealand or Japan. But, which of the two is better? And what are the best months to visit? 

In this article, we’ll pair the two off, including the best locations, the ideal time of year, and how much you can expect to pay for a typical ski holiday in New Zealand and Japan. Here’s what you need to know…

Where is skiing in New Zealand?

skiing in New Zealand

As for skiing in New Zealand, you can ski on both the North and the South Island (with each season kicking off and ending at different times – which we will cover shortly). 

The South Island has three of the main skiing regions and provides high-quality ski schools (perfect for beginners), luxury accommodation nearby, and excellent transport infrastructure from door to the slope. Not only that, but the value for money is rather excellent with great deals covering all of the essentials, whether you are an avid and experience skier or you are completely new to the sport. 

As for the North Island, you can visit Ski at Mt Ruapehu, which is New Zealand’s largest commercial ski field! 

The top 10 best spots for skiing in New Zealand are:

  • Cardrona (South Island).
  • Treble Cone (South Island).
  • Remarkables (South Island).
  • Coronet Peak (South Island).
  • Mount Hutt (South Island).
  • Craigieburn Valley (South Island).
  • Mount Olympus (South Island).
  • Broken River (South Island).
  • Whakapapa (North Island).
  • Turoa (North Island). 

Where is skiing in Japan?

skiing in Japan Shiga Koen

As for skiing in Japan, you will be positively spoiled for choice. In fact, there are over 500 different ski resorts, each scattered all over Japan’s islands. 

Here are 10 of the best ski resorts in Japan:

  • Shiga Koen (in Nagano).
  • Hakuba Valley (in Nagano).
  • Madarao Mountain Resort (in Nagano).
  • Niseko (in Hokkaido). 
  • Furano (in Hokkaido).
  • Yuzawa (in Niigata).
  • Naeba (in Niigata).
  • Myoko Kogen (in Niigata).
  • Zao Onsen (in Yamagata).
  • Kurobushi Kogen (in Yamagata).

Most ski resorts in Japan have a pretty good balance between beginner courses and off-piste slopes that are perfect for the experienced and adventurous type. 

If you are looking for a mixture of awesome skiing, flawless powder, luxury accommodation, top-class cuisine, and a gorgeous cultural tapestry for which Japan is world-renowned, you cannot go wrong with any ski resorts in Japan by Active Life, such as Madarao, in Nagano, for example. 

What months can you go skiing in New Zealand?

So, when is the best time for skiing in New Zealand? What months can you go? 

  • The South Island ski season kicks off from mid to late June, and finishes in October. 
  • The North Island’s ski season starts and finishes a little bit later. 
  • If you are a fan of wet snow conditions in Spring, September is the best time to get yourself booked in (the slopes are also less crowded at this time of year). 
  • If you are looking for the cheapest packages, June is the best time of year to visit. 

What months can you go skiing in Japan?

And what about Japan? What months are best for skiing here? The snow begins to fall in Japan during mid-November in Hokkaido (the North island), with resorts opening as early as the third week into November. 

  • The best time to visit for deep and luscious powder is typically considered as being late December, January, and February (it’s also a great time for festivals).
  • If you want the best deals, you should visit from mid-December, through to March and April. 

How much does it cost to go skiing in New Zealand?

So, what is the average cost to go skiing in New Zealand? 

Typically, you’ll be looking at around $139 to $150 NZD for a single-day lift pass. If you are after a multi-day pass you can get big discounts, typically looking at around $100 NZD per day. 

For children under the age of 7, skiing is free. The average single day pass for a child is $79 NZD. 

As for ski packages, a rough approximation would be $2,000 NZD for 1 week of skiing including accommodation and transportation. 

How much does it cost to go skiing in Japan?

And what is the average cost to go skiing in Japan? 

On average, for a single-day ticket, you’ll be looking at around 4,000 and 5,000 Yen ($46 to $57 NZD). 

For a full five days of skiing, including accommodation, transportation, you’ll be looking at around $1,300 USD (or $2,200 NZD). 

Which is better for skiing: Japan or New Zealand? 

Which is better for skiing: Japan or New Zealand

If you can’t decide which to go for between New Zealand and Japan, think carefully about the kind of ski experience you’d like. 

Japan has some of the finest powder in the world and is home to over 500 ski resorts. New Zealand on the other hand has over 20, which means you are very limited in terms of resort and accommodation. 

Japan is cheaper on average, for individual ski passes, food, and accommodation. However, flying to Japan may be more expensive than flying to New Zealand. 

As for the distance from the airport to the various ski slopes, New Zealand is far closer, at an average of 30-minutes until you can hit the slopes. Japan, on the other hand, takes an average of 1 or 2 hours to reach your destination, depending on which resort you are going to. 

Because Japan has more ski resorts, there are plenty of options for packages that suit beginners and experts alike. Not only that, but if you’d prefer a quiet ski trip with few tourists, Japan has far more options for you to choose from. 

If you want to ski from mid-June through to mid-October, New Zealand is great. 

If you want to ski from mid-December to mid-April, Japan will be better. 

Simply do your research, weigh up the pros and cons, see what kind of deals you can secure, and then decide from there. 

We hope you’ve found this article helpful and wish you all the best on your powder-hound adventures!