A Resort On The Outer Edge in NZ, But It Draws The Crowds
Cardrona is on the outer edge of Queenstown, but it’s not on the outer if you are picking up what I’m putting down.
If you can put up with the commute from Queenstown or Wanaka, this place on its day beats most. But it must be on its day.
It’s a resort that over the years has focused on freestyle. The terrain around is not particularly challenging but come here when the terrain park is firing, and some pros are in town. You will quickly see where you are on the pecking order. The Cardrona Park crew have built a reputation. They have built a variety of terrain park & pipe features for all levels. They focus on the big boys and girls.
Want a breakdown that will either break you down or give you a fuzzy feeling. They love to build an 85ft Big Air & 22ft Superpipe! They have the standard boxes and entry-level freestyle features, but they are here for people to find their limit and progress. No falls no balls!
I’m sorry, but I need to bang on a little further (and I’m not getting paid for this) The Cardrona Parks Crew come from all over the world. They have come from building the Big Air, Slopestyle & Halfpipe courses from local events to the Olympics, yes, the big show!
Al this is possible due to Heath Richmond (Instagram: @heathrichmond) who calls Lake Tahoe home, but his second home is Cardrona and its been that way over the past 15 years.
OK, enough blowing smoke up the ass of the Park Crew, I’ll break down the rest of the mountain.
Cardrona is a typical NZ resort. Limited terrain, not many lifts, no trees and limited accommodation forcing you to say in nearby towns. The ski area is spread across three bowls, and much of the 345 hectares of terrain consists of groomed slopes suitable for beginners (25%) and intermediates (50%).
For the advanced head to the Arcardia Chutes, Tulips area, and the Captain’s area is an off-piste playground. But the place is suited to the intermediates which makes it a good all-rounder.
If you are moved by the steep and deep, then you won't be disappointed with such areas known as Powder Keg and Arcadia Chutes reached off the Whitestar Express Quad.
Cardrona holds a National Extreme Championships. Records have been set by dropping down the 30 metres plus Eagle Rock in Captain's Basin, so if you're feeling like finding your limit this one is for you. If the runs within the boundary don't satisfy you, go heli-boarding in Cardrona's expansive back bowls. Bring your wallet and leave your ego behind.
This is one let down. It’s between Wanaka (34km – 35 minutes away) and Queenstown (58km – 60 minutes away) on the South Island of New Zealand.
Wanaka is for locals and it’s got a chill vide. Queenstown is for tourists, but it has the party. Choose your poison.
The closest airport is Queenstown (50 min drive)
Shuttles to Cardrona ski field are available from the towns of Queenstown and Wanaka.
If you want to brave it. You can hire a car. It’s convenient, but the 10km access road from the valley up to the ski area is unsealed. On a dry day it’s fine. On a pow day, you will feel more comfortable in the superpipe.
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