What to pack for the Queenstown slopes
The coldest months in Queenstown are June through August when the temperature ranges between 8°C and -2°C. Quality warm, light layers are key to staying warm in town and on the slopes during the winter season.
New Zealand merino or thermals made with recycled materials are an essential base to keep you dry and toasty. Be sure to pack a beanie, gloves, woolly socks, and a snug scarf for those nippy, night-time wanders to your après ski bar of choice.
Although there’s snow on the slopes, it’s rare for central Queenstown to be covered in snow, so you can layer up in a waterproof, windproof jacket, gloves, scarf and sturdy boots and walk, cycle, and explore Queenstown's local trails as you would any other time of year. It’s not unusual to have clear, blue-sky days. You may even be tempted to lose a layer at midday!
By all means, bring your ski gear. Most of us have our favourite goggles, helmet, and comfy pants, but know you can hire or buy everything you need for the slopes here in Queenstown.
The Remarkables ski area
Find freedom in packing less
Packing light will help save you a fright at the airline check-in counter and eliminate the stress of hauling around a lot of luggage. Consider, do you need new gear, or can you hire it from Queenstown snow gear shops or borrow it from a mate?
If buying’s on the cards, can you buy secondhand, buy local, or invest in quality outdoor brands with sustainable credentials? We’ve got a list of great ski shops in Queenstown for you later in this guide. Consider natural, regenerative fabrics like New Zealand merino or regenerative cotton from progressive brands like Patagonia. As your granny always said, and she knew a thing or two, buy the best quality you can afford because it’ll last you longer.
Lastly, remember your reusables. A water bottle, a reusable coffee cup, a container for takeaway food, some reusable cutlery, and a lightweight fold-down shopping bag or two will come in handy for on-mountain snacks or carrying those bottles of Central Otago pinot noir home.
Where to rent or buy ski gear in Queenstown
There’s no shortage of great gear shops in Queenstown, all staffed by keen skiers and boarders who’ll give you advice and share their stories. Here’s our top pick of local Queenstown snow gear shops to arrange all the gear you need before you head to the slopes.
Browns Ski Shop
Browns Ski Shop was set up in the eighties by Queenstown lads Nigel and Derek Brown. The two international ski racers attracted a crew of snowboarders and skiers who live to ride and gear other riders up for the slopes. They stock some of the best skiwear from around the world, and because they also hire gear, you can even try the latest skis before you buy.
Snow gear rental and retail and bike rental in a one-stop shop, Alta will see you sorted for all your Queenstown winter adventures. Their ski rental brands include Salomon, Fischer, Ride, and K2 and they sell a great range of boards, boots, and helmets.
Hire your gear, get your boots fitted, tune your skis, buy your lift pass, and organise your mountain transport and lessons at this one-stop ski shop in Queenstown. The Outside Sports team have a huge range of gear to rent or buy for skier and boarders of all ages, abilities, and styles including carving, freeride, powder, telemarking, and freestyle.
The team at indie snow, surf, and skate shop NZShred love any adventure you can do on a board. Established in 1985, they were the first dedicated snowboard store in NZ, and their excellent winter demo programme means you can try new boards out before you buy.
The backcountry ski and ski touring experts at Small Planet can set you up with a pristine Queenstown ski experience far off the beaten track, as well as all the gear you need for your adventure. No ordinary gear store, Small Planet is by way of being a Queenstown institution. Drop in after 4pm to meet local skiers swapping stories of what’s happening on the peaks.
Small Planet outdoor gear hire
Renting your ski gear
You can rent gear on the mountain at all four Queenstown ski fields, Coronet Peak, the Remarkables, Cardrona, and Treble Cone to save the hassle of carrying your gear up and down each day. However stock is limited.
When organising your ski gear, it pays to book in advance, especially in peak school holiday periods, so you might consider renting gear in town. Browns Ski Shop, Alta, Outside Sports and Small Planet all offer ski and snowboard rentals, but there are also several specialist shops in Queenstown.
Great for experienced skiers and boarders and newbies alike, Snowbiz allows you to rent brand new skis and snowboards, with a choice of sport or performance models, and the option of rocker and twin-tip technology. Gear is well maintained and they offer a range of all-inclusive mountain packages, with transport leaving from right outside the door.
Ski and snowboard rental specialists, Snow Rental is all about choice, value, flexibility, quality and service. Three levels of equipment hire cater for all budgets and abilities, and you can also organise transport and lift passes when you hire
Green Toad Snowboard & Ski Shop
Gear hire only, Green Toad is the place to go if you’re skiing on a budget. With low prices and a friendly vibe they’re great for newbies giving skiing a go, families, and students.
The luxe approach to ski gear hire, Snopro will send a ski concierge to your accommodation to fit your rental gear. They’ll even come to tune your gear if it needs it after a day on the slopes and they pick everything up when you’re done leaving you more time for après ski.
Gear fitting with Snow Pro
Plan your Queenstown winter adventure
Our Guide to the 2023 Ski Season is packed with the latest ski mountain updates and après and accommodation ideas to help you get the most out of your ski trip to Queenstown.
As you explore Queenstown this winter, share your adventures with us on Instagram and #QueenstownLive.