Cardrona - on the piste
Cardrona Alpine Resort
30 minutes drive from Wanaka lies the fun and friendly Cardrona Alpine Resort. The resort is relatively small with three main chairlifts; MacDougall’s Quad, Whitestar Express Quad and Captain’s Express Quad. There is also a Poma on the beginners area and a couple of magic carpets. The ski area offers something for all, from Skiers favorite Arcadia Chutes (Black) to the easy and picturesque Skyline (Green). For snowboarders the outstanding terrain park is the main attraction and warrants hosting many events such as the Burton Open 2009 and the Winter Games 2009.
For absolute beginners we recommend starting in the Beginners Area found just through the courtyard behind the ticketing office. Here you will find magic carpets and a poma lift serving a gentle green slope, perfect for mastering your first turns.
Once your confident you can turn and stop, the next route is on the MacDougall Quad Chair which brings you to the meandering Skyline (Green) and Westons Gap (Green). This chairlift is fairly slow most speed demons skip the MacDougalls Quad and head straight down to Whitestar via the All Nations blue.
For intermediates and those looking for a bit of free riding adventure head over to Captains Basin. From the top of MacDougalls or Whitestar Chair-lifts take either the easy route via a lane called Shauns Way (Green) or drop down through Scum Valley (Blue). Both routes will take you to the bottom of Captains Express Quad. Spot your lines on the way up the chair lift and session the valley a few times before heading to Captains Café for some pizza and hot wine.
If your looking for some back country routes or some powder no ones hit yet the best advice is to speak to the lifties. For some tricky black chute runs check out Arcadia Chutes accessed from the top of Whitestar Quad. Also from the top of Captains Quad stay to the left and traverse round to Secret Chute and Tulips both tricky black runs.
Alongside Snowpark NZ, Cardrona is by far the most popular resort for boarders who love to ride park. When there’s fresh snow the mountain has some interesting freeriding however it is popular and likely to be tracked out within one or two days. The park offers a way to pick your line, practice a trick over and over and progress your riding standard.
Cardrona boasts a fantastic well maintained snow park that draws in crowds of park rats throughout the season to practice and show off their riding skills. Start learning to slide rails in the box park next to MacDougalls Quad. Step up to the Playzone trail and you face an array of different boxes and rails to slide on. The Heavymetal trail contains some hefty kickers and more challenging rails for advanced level riders. There are three different pipes including a super pipe for hosting world-class events and a boarder cross trail.
The risk of avalanche is fairly low with controlled bombing in place to ensure public safety on the slopes. As with any backcountry skiing the appropriate knowledge and equipment is required.
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