Rearing to go for the winter season and wanting the down-low on what pow or pistes for your Queenstown and Wanaka ski holiday?
First up - Cardrona Alpine Resort. Beginner, freestyle pro or park lover, there’s good reason why Cardrona is known as a great all-rounder resort.
Terrain: 25% beginner, 25% intermediate, 30% advanced, 20% expert
Altitude: 1670m – 1860m
Average annual snowfall: 2.9m
With stunning views, renowned terrain park and plenty of space for beginners, it’s the perfect place to get your ski or snowboard game into shape.
The Cardrona ski area is set above the tree line and spread over three basins. Its southerly aspect keeps the snow light and powdery for longer, while a varied natural terrain including steep chutes and cliff-jumps means plenty to explore.
For those taking their first steps (or turns) into the wonderful world of sking and boarding Cardrona is an ideal place to start. One of the best beginners' areas around, a dedicated space with wide, gentle slopes will get you going in no time. Magic carpets mean you can get up the slope without the extra learning curve of a chair lift to start with. Even better once you’re ready to start exploring more of the mountain you’ll find there’s usually at least one beginner level piste accessible from each chairlift.
If you’re already at the intermediate stage then the wide, open slopes will get you cruising along nicely. You’ll also be able to find some fantastic longer runs and a large number of pistes that are ideal for intermediate level.
Terrain park and pipes
Freestyle riders looking for big air and a resort where they can pass hours in the park need look no further. One of the southern-hemisphere’s best park terrains, it’s where the New Zealand Park Team call home and also host to numerous international freestyle events each season.
The four parks – of varying levels, two half-pipes, (one Olympic size) big air and border cross will definitely make sure you don’t get bored. Those who have their A-game ready will want to hit the Big Bucks park, XL size with jumps of 50-70ft. If you’re keen on playing around in the park minus the XL size, the three other parks have you covered with a whole lot of fun rails, jibs and boxes plus smaller jumps.
Advanced - Expert
Pow-seeking boarder or skier and more interested in exploring the back-country? Though Cardrona may not be as well known for its advanced level terrain or deep powder you’ll still find a whole lot of fun off-piste to explore. Top picks for expert level riders looking for some decent off-piste: Arcadia Chutes, you’ll find steep lines and terrain littered with large rocks. Tulip Chutes and the off-piste from the Captain’s Express chairlift are great if you’re looking for varied slopes and can have some nice pockets of powder if you hit them at the right time.