A Brave Ski Mom Interview with Maryann, a brave ski mom of three living in Hong Kong.
Coronet Peak, New Zealand!
Why Coronet Peak?
We choose where we ski based on the time of year we are traveling. Coronet is our top choice for skiing during the months of July and August. We are usually able to get away for 2-3 weeks in the summer holidays making this a lovely long ski trip!
In addition, Coronet has a FANTASTIC ski & snowboard school with instructors from all over the world. For the past few years the snow has been consistently good. Not too many years ago, Coronet put in decent snow guns. Before that, the resort was nicknamed concrete mountain, and let’s just say it was interesting to ski on!
Coronet is not a large mountain, by any stretch of the imagination. But our family really enjoys skiing here.
What makes Coronet good for family skiing?
I would have to say that the best amenity is the Coronet ski/board school. The instructors have to truly love their jobs. These are instructors that want to be on the snow all year around. I don’t think we’ve come across such great instructors anywhere else, especially with regard to the children’s’ instructors!
My kids beg for lessons. They have so much fun in ski school that unlike other resorts where you feel like you are just one of the masses, or that it’s a money-making machine for the mountain, they love going to ski school.
We have been to resorts where after the first lesson my daughter says “Save your money mum. Ski school here isn’t worth it. We should ski with you instead” and my boys have point-blank refused to go back to ski school. This does not happen at Coronet Peak.
What would you improve at Coronet Peak to make it even better for family skiing?
Normally the on-mountain food is not an issue but last season, the snow came late and many on the catering staff couldn’t wait for the snow with no income. This meant fewer options and not many decent healthy food choices were available. But Coronet does have loads of picnic tables if you want to bring your own food.
Are there any “secrets” are you willing to share about Coronet?
Kids 6 & under ski FREE. And, in the other resort across the town (The Remarkables), kids 10 and under ski FREE!
What advice would you give other families before they come to Coronet Peak?
Coronet has a free valet service if you rent your equipment from them. While the resort rentals might cost a bit more, if you have little kids that can’t carry their own equipment it is worth the extra cost. This is especially true as sometimes you may end up parking quite a ways from the chairlifts.
If your kids are intermediate skiers that are fine on the blue runs, try to park in carpark number 2. You can ski to the car when its time to head home. Some families even ski to the car for lunch as its right next to a chairlift!
Where do you like to eat?
Heidi’s Hut. You have to be a decent skier/boarder to get back out when you are done as it’s not the easiest t-bar ride back up, especially on a board, but the pizza is excellent!
What about lodging?
Coronet Peak is not ski-in/ski-out. So usually, we rent a little cottage near Arrowtown, about 25 minutes away. The cottage is on a golf course so the kids have a great time playing outside too.
What makes Coronet unique?
Coronet Peak is actually a very small mountain but has such varied terrain that we don’t get bored. Also I love the fact that when the kids are in ski school we can spot them every now and then through the day. But it’s the ski/board school that we truly love!
What is your favorite memory of Coronet Peak?
Three great memories are: watching my kids go from pizza skiers to little rippers; the absolutely massive grins they have when I see them for lunch and they have lots to tell me about their day so far; and watching my son (6 at the time) tackle crazy cliff jumps with a crazy instructor.
But my favorite memory is riding a chair with some ski patrollers. They were describing a pair of boys that they thought were just awesome skiers. Based on the color of the gear I suspected that they might be talking about my kids. We spotted them and I asked the patrol guy if those were the kids they were talking about. Yup. It was them. One patroller went on and on about what great kids they were. He told us that some of the patrollers that were on snowboards were inspired to get back on skis as those two boys made it look like such fun. They then wondered out loud how old those kids were. I will never forget the look of astonishment on their faces when I said “5” and told them I was their mother!
When did your family start skiing?
My daughter first tried skiing when she was 3 in Winter Park, Colorado. She didn’t get back on the snow until she was 8.5 years old. My boys were 3 at the time. They all loved it so much that they have begged to go skiing every year since then!
Do you have any tips to share with other parents?
We always tuck a little chocolate into their pockets in case they start getting tired part way through a ski lesson.
Good quality gear is really important as they need to stay warm and dry to be willing to stay out in the cold and so that they can focus on having fun.
Do you have a favorite family skiing memory?
I learned to ski when I was 36. The first time I was confident enough, and the kids were all good enough, to ski as a family was great fun! We have made lots of great memories since then, but one of the best is skiing with another family and having a massive snowball fight partway down a run when the faster skiers in the group decided to ambush the slower ones!
What do you enjoy most about family skiing?
Watching the kids develop as athletes. I learned to be a reasonable skier in a few seasons but my kids are not reasonable — they are all awesome! They passed me a few years ago and all three ski and ride. They ski at the highest level in New Zealand (level 6). They even love the double black diamonds that I’m not comfortable with. All the kids are great snowboarders even though they learned at different times.
The Brave Ski Mom adds…
Thank you Maryann! Skiing in July and August in New Zealand sounds like a great way to spend a summer holiday.
Coronet Peak is located 20 minutes from Queenstown on New Zealand’s South Island. With First Tracks and Night Skiing, Coronet Peak has the longest daily opening hours of any resort in New Zealand. And, as Maryann mentioned, kids under the age of 6 ski free!
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