A good case could be made for Cardrona being New Zealand’s ‘best all round ski field’. The resort seems to have something for everyone, from beginners to seasoned pros. Although noticeably flatter than Treble Cone, Cardrona still offers up 600 vertical meters of terrain to play with. In addition to this it has by far New Zealand’s most extensive terrain park.
Snow and Weather rating:❆❆❆❆
The weather at Cardrona, like the rest of the resorts in Otago, is pretty reliable. Generally the season will get started in late June, after a series of big pre-winter storms. July and August are cold but settled and then often September brings spring snow storms. Cardrona only gets an annual snowfall of 2.9 metres, but like other Otago fields it is in tussock country so it doesn’t take much snow to get going. Cardrona also has a significant amount of snow making.
Cardrona is set out over three south-east facing basins, and the terrain is predominantly open and not particularly steep. Although it is possible to find a few steeper lines around the middle basin area. If you like groomers, Cardrona also offers up some long fast laps down from the top of the White Star Express to the Valley View Chair.
Cardrona claims to have the most extensive terrain park in the southern hemisphere. Freestyle snowboarding and skiing are well catered for with 2 half pipes and 4 terrain parks. There is a good mix of features from baby boxes through to a 100ft big air jumps. With such a large focus on park it is not surprising that Cardrona is the summer training ground for some of the world’s best freestyle skiers and snowboarders. By riding the White Star Express you can enjoy watching the pros. The only downside of the terrain parks is that they can get crowded, especially on weekends.
There are 2 express quad chairs and 2 fixed-grip quad chairlifts, 3 surface conveyor learners lifts and 1 platter lift that services the halfpipes and big air jump. The combined vertical drop of the lifts is 600 metres. While the lift system at Cardrona is extensive, due to the resort’s popularity it is not uncommon to see line ups on some chairs, even mid week.
Cardrona is 35 minutes in good conditions from Wanaka and 60 minutes from Queenstown. The access road to Cardies, although not sealed, is very mellow. A good idea to beat the crowds and save a bit of driving is to pre purchase your lift tickets and park at the bottom of the Valley View Chair.
Like all skiing in the southern lakes, Caradona is expensive at $103.00 a day, however there are often deals on offer if you want to ski more than a day. The one pass which you can use between Cardrona and Treble Cone is a good option. Cardrona also normally discounts it’s passes in the spring months of September and October.
Cardrona offer on mountain accommodation in the form of Alpine Apartments. These range in size from studio through to a four bedroom.
Bottom line overall stoke:❆❆❆❆½
Cardrona is a crowd pleaser with something for everyone, however if you want longer steeper runs you are better off heading to Treble Cone.
Stats and Facts:
Base Area Elevation: 1670m
Highest Lifted Point: 1860m
Vertical Rise: 600m
Operating hours: 9am – 4pm daily (10am – 4pm daily during summer season)
Winter Season: 11th June – 9th October 2016