On face value, Treble Cone can often appear small and expensive, however what it offers in terrain is anything but small.
Treble Cone has arguably the best lift accessible terrain out of any field in New Zealand. The field is split between the Home and Saddle Basins. Although the field only has two chairs they open up an impressive 550 ha.
The Home Basin consists of a steep open face with undulating terrain and a number of on and off piste runs. In addition to the main basin there is the smaller Matukituki Basin, skier’s right of the main basin. It offers exceptional views of the lake and surrounding mountains.
The Home Basin skiing is good, but what really brings people to the field is the Saddle Basin.
The Saddle terrain consists of numerous natural pipes and spines, spread over a generally steep gradient. There also seems to be a never ending supply of wind lips and drops to hit.
Obviously on a powder day the Saddle is epic, but given it’s south facing aspect it will often keep snow good for longer.
Treble Cone does have a limp wristed hand shandy of a park, with a couple of small jumps and rails but nothing to get excited about.
On the side of the Saddle Basin are the Motatapu chutes – although these are accessed from the Saddle chair they still require a hike out, back to the lift. The terrain here is gnarly and fun, however being chutes they get skied out quickly. Beyond the chutes you will find TC backcountry, which is really more of the same.
Snow & Weather:❆❆❆❆
The weather at Treble Cone, like the rest of the resorts in the Otago region, is pretty reliable. Generally the season starts late June after a series of big pre winter storms, then for the mid part of the season (July/August) things will be pretty settled, later in September comes a series of big storms. As Treble Cone is further west than the likes of Cardrona, it generally picks up more snow from the strong westerly weather systems.
The lower and eastern facing sections of TC often sports half snow and half tussock. This particular phenomenon has given rise to the fabled sports of tussock skiing, which is predominant in the spring. The tussocky nature of TC’s terrain also means there are less rocks to hit while skiing in marginal conditions.
Lifts and Crowds:❆❆❆❆
Treble Cone has a detachable six seater in the Home Basin and a fixed grip quad in the Saddle. The only time TC really has a crowd problem is on weekend powder days.
Treble Cone is 30 minutes from Wanaka in good conditions. To get to the access road you travel out towards the Matukituki Valley, along the western shore of Lake Wanaka. The access road then goes straight up from the valley floor in a series of steep switchbacks. The road is good, however there is an ominously steep drop off the side for most of the way.
Treble Cone does not offer any on mountain accommodation, with most people staying in the nearby town of Wanaka. Wanaka is set on a picturesque lake, and it offers up all of the delights of a good mountain town, but with a much smaller, more chilled vibe than you will find in Queenstown.
TC is New Zealand’s most expensive ski resort at $108 for a day pass, however it is possible to ski at TC for a lot less. Learn how to ski for less with these top tips.
Over all Stoke Factor:❆❆❆❆½
With the best freeride terrain of the commercial fields, and long fast groomed runs, Treble Cone is worth the visit.