by: Chris Miller - 19th July 2009

  • 4
  • Beginner
  • Intermediate
  • Expert
  • 4All-Mtn. Terrain
  • 4Family Friendly
  • 5Aprés Ski
  • 5Terrain Park
  • Overall Value
Wide open runs, Great snow conditions. Excellent snow parks.
Large lift queues

Full review

We decided to have a skiing / snowboarding holiday in New Zealand and decided on Queenstown as our destination. We flu to Christchurch and drove the 7 long hours across the Southern Alps to reach Queenstown. The drive in its self was a challenge with snow blizzards and black ice on the roads. We had to stop a few times to fit wheel chains to the car, but it added to the adventure. Queenstown itself is an excellent town to stay; our group stayed in the Oak Shores Apartments looking onto Lake Wakatipu and the Remarkables mountain range. Ski resorts in New Zealand are different to the ones in Europe in the way that you have to drive to the ski fields. Cardrona is about 60 – 100 mins drive from Queenstown depending on road conditions. The drive has some spectacular views so remember to bring the camera along! When I arrived at Cardrona ski field, I parked up the car in one of the car parks at the foot of the resort. 4x4 jeeps with trailers were waiting for you to give you a lift to the base station. Basically, you squeeze into the uncovered trailer and get dropped off at the ticketing office (make sure you hold on!!!) The resort has a more European feel to it and also has ski in / out accommodation. It also consists of a café / restaurant, ski hire shop and toilets. Directly in front of you is a slow quad lift to the top of the mountain or you could ski down a short blue slope to a quad express. You also had another Quad express (Captains Quad) which was only accessible from skiing down from the top of the mountain. There is also Captains Café which was a great place to meet and grab some food. It wasn’t as busy as the base station café and offered some nice food. Cardrona has a massive snow park with jumps and a half pipe to keep you occupied. I really enjoyed skiing here. It has terrain for everyone. In my group we had beginners to advanced and we all found runs / jumps to keep us occupied all day. The only major down side to Cardrona was the queues for the chair lifts. On average, we were awiting 15-25 mins to get on. What I liked about Cardrona was the wide open mountain runs and all the natural jumps. I spent all day skiing, finding my own fun. I would advise not to stick to the mapped runs and just do your own thing.
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