Closing Day is This Sunday!

We’re about to shut the door on another epic winter season at Cardrona so it’s time to send it off with a bang! Cardrona’s Closing Day is this Sunday (October 5) and is bound to bring plenty of good times as always! 

Closing Day 2014

After opening on schedule this season with limited snowfall things kicked into gear a few weeks later with well received snow falls in July and large dumps in August (which included nearly a metre of snow falling over a week!). August and early September then produced record breaking amazing weather much to the delight of everyone up the hill. An unbelievably long run of consecutive fine days stretched to nearly a month, the final count being 29 days of blue skies! 

closing day 2

Live music from last year’s Closing Day

Cardrona was again host to a range large scale events including The Northface Freeski Open of New Zealand, the FIS Tech Series and the Burton High Fives. While the pros went at it there were plenty more fun events for all types of competitors including the Cardrona Kids Cup, Volcom Peanut Butter Rail Jam, South Island Secondary School Champs, Dynastar Ski Masters and the NZ Youth Series. Still to come is the Mini Pipe Champs on Saturday, while the Cardrona Junior Ski and Snowboard Nationals are currently underway this week. Keep a look out in 2015 for more awesome events at Cardrona including the biannual Winter Games. 

However, every winter must come to an end and this year we’re looking to celebrate another awesome season on Closing Day which will include: live musicians and a DJ, woodfire pizzas in the courtyard, outside bars at Captains and Base Area and of course some final fun laps on the slopes! 

All of us here at Cardrona would like to extend a big THANK YOU to everyone who came up this season. Have a safe and enjoyable summer and we look forward to seeing you all again next year!

Cardrona LOVES YOU!!

closing day 4   closing day 1

Pics: Closing Day 2013

The Burton High Fives Recap

Cardrona was the playground for a decent portion of the world’s best snowboarders last week when the third annual Burton High Fives took place. With two days of events up Cardrona there were some heroics to make the competition one to remember! Cardrona Junior Team Rider Carlos Garcia-Knight made his High Fives debut and not only took 7th place in men’s slopestyle, but was also Team Captain of the winning team which took away $70,000 USD! New Zealand rider Christy Prior was the only kiwi to stand on a podium with 3rd place in the Female’s Slopestyle and claimed the female’s style award! US rider Chloe Kim dominated the ladies halfpipe taking first place, at only 14 years of age she’s looking like one to keep an eye on!


Christy Prior and her team at the MINI off road challenge. Pic: Twitter @ChristyPrior

The Burton High Fives competition format gives the contest a unique feel like no other. Before heading up to Cardrona the athletes had two days of off-mountain, kiwi-inspired challenges. The challenges including MINI off road driving and blind driving challenges in a bid to score points for their team and walk away with a $70,000 USD team award. 

The 22 ft Olympic pipe as well as the World Cup Slopestyle course in Big Bucks Park were in top notch condition for the on-snow action. The Cardrona Parks crew constructed an epic set up for the slopestyle course featuring back-to-back wall ride features, a unique urban inspired street rail setup, a cannon rail and a giant cable reel, all which made creativity mandatory from the riders. Finishing the course was three perfectly shaped jumps.


Carlos Garcia Knight sending it large! Pic: Instagram @carlosgk

Seven New Zealand athletes were in action for the slopestyle finals. Christy Prior, Stefi Luxton, Shelly Gotlieb, Rebecca Torr and Ben Comber along with up and coming Cardrona Junior Riders Carlos Garcia Knight and JJ Rayward all had home ground advantage.  It was a High Fives debut for both Carlos and JJ who both had strong results during the northern hemisphere season and were thrilled to take part and compete at their home resort.

Sochi gold medalist Jamie Anderson set the bar high for the women right from the start and ended up on top, accompanied by Miyabi Onitsuka in second and Christy Prior nabbing third. For the men, Emil Ulsletten from Norway claimed top spot, while Canadian Darcy Sharpe came second and Japanese Yuki Kadono took third. Cardrona rider Carlos Garcia-Knight managed to stomp and impressive run taking 7th and leaving many of worlds best riders, including the likes of Mark McMorris, behind him.


Ben Ferguson ripping throwing down in the Olympic Superpipe. Pic: Phil Erickson

The second competition day was in the 22ft Olympic Pipe which was groomed to perfection. A relatively big crowd of captivated fans witnessed the dominance of 14-year old Chloe Kim in the women’s. She shot straight into first place after her first run, with a massive backside air into a frontside 540, McTwist, and a corked frontside 720 before finishing with a corked cab 720, to earn a score of 92.60. If haven’t heard of this girl yet then now you know! Silver went to Chinese Cai Xuetong followed by Japanese Ooe Hikaru in third. 

It was a historical day on mens side aswell when Zhang Yiwei claimed gold, cementing his spot as the first Chinese male rider to win an international snowboarding competition. Seamus O’Connor from Ireland was second and Aussie Nathan Johnstone took third.


Chloe Kim and Zhang Yiwei took first place spots in the halfpipe. Pic: Phil Erickson

Read more about the High Fives:

Spring at Cardrona Means Skiing Until 5pm!

Spring at Cardrona has been nothing less than EPIC so far and there’s plenty more good times to come! We have experienced a relentless run of beautiful blue skies in the first 10 days of Spring and due to the amazing conditions we have decided to keep lifts operating until 5pm when the weather is fine. Remember your sunblock unless you’re happy to sport a decent goggle tan! 

Apres Ski Evenings at Cardrona NZThe extended opening hours (on fine days) is just one of the many reasons why Spring at Cardrona is amazing. From 3pm on every fine day Cardrona will host ‘Apres Ski Evenings’ in the Base Area which will include music, food and drinks…the perfect way to end the day on a high! The Mezz Cafe is also open during the evenings for a delicious bite to eat before starting the drive down the hill. 

Spring at Cardrona also means more bang for your buck on lift passes! Our Spring Season Passes are still available which offer unlimited skiing and riding until Closing Day on October 5. To add to the spring celebrations, on good weather days a 2 hour lift pass is available for skiing and riding from 3-5pm. These are available to purchase from Guest Services up the mountain and are $32 for Adults, $17 for Children.

Cardrona Retail Store Spring SaleTo add to the spring celebrations, the Cardrona Retail Store is also holding a ‘Spring Sale’ with plenty of discounts including: 

  • 30-50% off Mons Royale clothing
  • 30-40% off Burton & Westbeach Outerwear
  • 30% off all Helmets and Goggles
  • 40% off all DVS shoes
    Get amongst some amazing deals up the hill!  

Spring at Cardrona means more fun, more sun, more laps for your buck, smaller queues, apres ski evenings, retail bargains…the list is endless! Don’t spend all summer wishing you spent more time on the slopes this year, there’s no better time this season to go skiing or riding! Cardrona Loves YOU! 

Gay Ski Week – Fabulous On and Off the Slopes

Gay ski Week

Paul Rust (far left) and friends after a free lesson/tour at Cardrona.

There has been an exciting mix of skiing, snowboarding, partying and heaps of fun with the Queenstown Gay Ski Week on this week! The glamorous extravaganza brought tourists from all around the world to New Zealand’s adventure capital to join in the festivities.

The days were filled with fabulous bluebird skiing at Cardrona while the nights were all about dancing, music and partying. To support Gay Ski Week, Cardrona hosted 2 hour free lessons/tours at 1.30pm every day with a range of different instructors. 

”It has been a truly awesome week of fun,” says Paul Rust on his 7th day of skiing at Cardrona. ”The slopes are in great condition and the sun has been out everyday. We have had instructors skiing with us daily and they have been fantastic!” While many of the attendants were skilled skiers and snowboarders, there were also beginners getting in on the fun. ”The ability level really doesn’t matter, from first timers to advanced, everybody was here to enjoy the mountain, the company and to have a wonderful time” says Cardrona snowboard instructor Damion Lee. “I have worked during Gay Ski Week a few times and it is always great! The people attending have the perfect attitude of taking everything out of the mountain as well as the lively Queenstown night life! 

While most of the event’s participants spent the whole week in Queenstown, some just popped over for a quick visit to see what all the fuss was about. “My partner is flying from Sydney just for a couple of days to get a taste of the event.” Says Paul, “I know many others doing the same with their friends and partners that do not ski.”

Gay Ski Week 2

A great turnout at Cardrona for Queenstown’s Gay Ski Week.

Themed parties, concerts, bingo nights, cabarets…the list of night time activities was somewhat endless!  “The challenge of the week is definitely the balance between skiing and night life. To have a big day of skiing today I definitely needed a quiet one last night!” Paul laughs. “It is my second time attending the Gay Ski Week and I definitely recommend it to everybody!” But out of all these activities Paul’s favourite was definitely the opening function: “The opening party was glorious, we had so much fun! However, I am sure the best part is still ahead; there is a heated pool party at the end of the week!” Paul finishes with a wink.

Read more about the event, weeks celebrations, and the tourism prospect:

World’s Best Athletes to Attend Burton High Fives


Ayumu Hirano sending it in the Halfpipe event of the 2013 High Fives. Pic by NZSnowboard

Spring is here and Cardrona is looking in stellar condition for the third annual Burton High Fives. This truly unique competition brings an extensive list of world-class snowboarders to New Zealand, including a number of X Games and Winter Olympic Medalists. It features on and off mountain activities, the opportunity to earn 5 star World Snowboard Tour points as well as a generous price purse of USD $80,000…small wonder why the High Fives attracts many of the worlds top snowboarders! All the action from the High Fives is available to view both live on the mountain and via live internet streaming. Following the action is easy both on and off hill with daily video highlight and full webcasts through Burton.

The High Fives at Cardrona is the opening event of the 2015 Burton Global Event Series. 60 of world’s best athletes will take part in this ‘invitation only’ competition. Top halfpipe riders include 2014 Olympians Taku Hiraoka, Ayumu Hirano, Kaitlyn Farrington, Xuetong Cai and Queralt Castellet. Chloe Kim, the 2014 US Open and 2013 High Fives women’s halfpipe silver medalist is also confirmed and one to watch this season.

The slopestyle competition is equally stacked with the world’s best, including 2014 US Open champion and Olympic medalist Mark McMorris, Olympic medalist and 2013 High Fives winner, Stale Sandbech, as well as snowboarding superstar Torstein Horgmo. The women’s slopestyle field includes 2014 US Open champion and Sochi gold medalist Jamie Anderson, Sochi silver medalist Enni Rukajärvi as well as Silje Norendal.


Off-mountain action with Stale Sandbech. Pic by NZSnowboard

New this year, as a salute to the host country’s up-and-coming pro riders, the line-up also features athletes from New Zealand including Cardrona Junior Team riders Carlos Garcia Knight and JJ Rayward. The kiwi ‘awesome-foursome’ will also be competing in the female division including Cardrona Team Ambassador Shelly Gotlieb along with Christy Prior, Rebecca ‘Possum’ Torr and Stefi Luxton. Australia is also well represented by Olympians Nathan Johnstone and Kent Kalister, brother and sister duo Cameron and Lauren Staveley, along with Matthew Cox, Emily Author and Jess Rich. For the most up-to-date rider list, see here.

The high fives are all about good times for the athletes as well as the spectators! During the first two days the contestants will be divided into teams and will compete against each other in kiwi inspired off-snow tasks in the Southern Lakes region. T
he following four days will see the teams up Cardrona, boosting high out of the Olympic Pipe and shredding the World Cup Slopestyle Course in Big Bucks Park

15_High_Fives_PosterThe 2014 Burton High Fives at Cardrona schedule: 

• Sunday, September 14th: Rider Arrival & Registration
• Monday, September 15th: Team Selection
• Tuesday, September 16th: Team Activities
• Wednesday, September 17th: Slopestyle & Halfpipe Training
• Thursday, September 18th: Slopestyle & Halfpipe Training
• Friday, September 19th: Slopestyle Finals
• Saturday, September 20th: Halfpipe Finals

Words by Veinalotta Vesterinen 

Scotty James’ Epic Snow Holiday

Cardrona has definitely been an extremely fun place to shred this season! Previous to having nearly three weeks of bluebird days in a row, guests had the pleasure of enjoying a bunch epic powder days in both July and August!


Epic pow day at Cardrona! Pic from Instagram @scottyjames31

The stunning weather has displayed relentless consistency with stoked skiers and snowboarders making the most out of the bluebird days and epic snow conditions. Professional Aussie Snowboarder Scotty James wanted to cross a few things off his bucket list this season, so when the Diaries Down Under crew flew him in for a Queenstown snow holiday he found his way over the range to Cardrona. 

A two-time Winter Olympian, Scotty has travelled the world a lot in his chosen profession. New Zealand and Cardrona are somewhat familiar to the 20-year-old athlete. ”I’ve been coming over for around 10 years but every time the country astonishes me”. This time the experience at Cardrona was extra special when Scotty got to hit a front country jump in knee-high powder. “It was a really great vibe and I had good fun out there snowboarding.”

To add extra spice to the holiday, Scotty was taken over to Milford Sound on a scenic flight with Real Journeys, “A sincerely wonderful experience flying over the mountains to the gorgeous fjord land. The place was so beautiful I just couldn’t let go of my camera!” On his five day trip Scotty had a chance to enjoy multiple Queenstown activities, snowboarding still being the highlight at the end. “For me it is all about having fun and doing what I enjoy and those epic powder turns at Cardrona were just that!”

Check out Scottys Instagram @scottyjames31 for some amazing photos of his trip or take a look at the full video below! 

Words by Veinalotta Vesterinen.

Mercedes-Benz Team Up With Cardrona Riders

It’s not often you get fast cars side by side with some of New Zealand’s best professional skiers and snowboarders and what better place to do it than in the Cardrona Valley! The official vehicle sponsor of Cardrona Alpine Resort: Mercedes-Benz recently convoyed an elite fleet of Mercedes-AMG vehicles over the Crowne Range for testing at New Zealand’s ultimate snow-driving facility: Snow Farm. 

The trip into the Cardrona Valley for this specialized group of Mercedes-Benz AMG vehicles was spurred by one main objective: to unleash the sleek and powerful cars on a snowy track with help from professional New Zealand Snow Sports athletes…

Mercedes-Benz with Cardrona Team Ambassador Stef Zeestraten

Cardrona Team Ambassador Stef Zeestraten puts his creativity on display.

Cardrona Team Ambassadors Byron and Beau-James Wells, Stef Zeestraten and Mitch Brown answered the call to experience the rare opportunity of throwing down tricks in the midst of the prestigious Mercedes-Benz fleet. On a spectacular sunny day with superb snow conditions the riders gifted the cameras creative flair and technique using the vehicles to transform Snow Farm into a freestyle playground. The ingredients for a truly unique and epic photo shoot were all present with a mix of talented riders, powerful cars, skilled stunt drivers, technical flying cameras and beautiful weather…what more do you need!? The stunt drivers clearly displayed that the various Mercedes-Benz models are up to the task of tearing through snow at high speeds while also staying in control. Although remember, it’s not something to try at home (or up the mountain road!) as the drivers have years of experience under their belt in testing high-performance cars in a wide variety of conditions and engines! 

While the shoot was a great success and intertwined extreme skiing/snowboarding with driving fast cars, Mercedes-Benz and Cardrona urge everyone driving in an alpine environment to take care on the roads. For useful hints on driving in winter conditions check out our Mercedes-Benz driving tips

The end result of the fun-filled day is a commercial that will leave you astounded! Check it out below and drive safe! 

Or…for a behind the scenes look at the day’s events with the Cardrona Team Ambassadors see below: 

Hobbits Freestyle Day

Hobbits at CardronaIt was the fourth Sunday of Cardrona’s signature Hobbits Programme and the conditions were absolutely magnificent. A gorgeous bluebird day with great snow conditions and no wind, perfect for the day’s theme: freestyle. There were altogether over 100 kids divided into 20 groups of snowboarders and skiers. The groups split up all over the mountain to prepare themselves for the freestyle competition in the afternoon…

Skiers and boarders from 4 to 14 years old have been having a blast with each other in the Hobbits programme and this day was no different! “My favourite thing about Hobbits is having the same coach every time” says Pyper, 13, who is in Hobbits for the second time. Her friend Simone, 13, doing her first Hobbits Programme agrees; “ Meeting new people and doing different stuff every week is also great. It is only my first season snowboarding but I can already go around the mountain and do a heap of different stuff!” For Alice, 5, and Frances, 6, the best thing is: “JUMPS!”. 

Hobbits Freestyle at CardronaAfter a picnic lunch in the stellar sunny weather, the Hobbits started to gather at Cardrona’s Lil’ Bucks Park. The sides of the terrain park were crowded with parents ready to cheer for the little rippers and the judges had taken their seats, ready to give top scores for awesome tricks. Sweet airs, impressive grabs, splendid landings and a hundred smiling faces are seen over the jumps during the duration of the competition. The Hobbits had a marvelous time showing their skills to their parents, instructors, judges and of course, to Pengi!

It was a freestyle day for the little ‘Hobblets’ as well. Aged from 4 to 6 years old, Hobblets enjoyed their competition in Cardrona’s Bambi Way terrain park. Over the rollers and boxes they went, parents and instructors cheering all the way. The Hobblets had a wonderful time displaying their skills in the little park and Pengi also made another appearance, clapping and giving out high fives to all the competitors.

After an awesome day of freestyling in the sun, the groups of happy Hobbits and Hobblets returned to Cardrona’s base area for prize giving in the Cardrona Courtyard, where everybody received a freestyle certificate and a treat! Tired and happy from the long day of skiing and snowboarding, smiles, hugs and waves were changed before heading back home. The last day of Hobbits will be on August 31 where we will also be celebrating both Pengi and Frosty’s birthday so come enjoy the festivities! 

Words by Veinalotta Vesterinen

Hobbits at Cardrona Base

Cardrona Instructor’s Score Results at Banked Slalom

Cardrona Snowboard Instructor Ash Cowper

Cardrona Snowboard Instructor Ash Cowper

The conditions were sensational last Saturday for the 2014 DB Export Banked Slalom at Treble Cone. Around fifty enthusiastic shredders gathered on a gorgeous bluebird day to take part in this ‘snowboard only’ competition, in the midst of them, a Cardrona snowboard/ski instructor Ash Cowper. “The conditions where absolutely perfect for the competition, the sun was out and there was no wind” she says. It was the first time Ash has taken part in a slalom competition. “It was quite a spontaneous call to enter the comp. A friend of mine, who also happens to be a trainer at Cardrona, was going to take part and suggested that I should come as well, so I did” she explains with a laugh.

The entrants were first offered a course inspection, followed by two timed runs with their fastest run entered as their final result. “The course was in an amazing condition in the morning and the first two runs were absolutely awesome. You could tell that all the snowboarders had been down the track a couple of times by the afternoon, hence the second run was somewhat more challenging” Ash states. But the hitches on the afternoon run did not matter as Ash bombed an awesome 60.11 sec time on her first go, ending up second in the total scores. Although, the difference between taking the gold over silver was extremely close as the winner, Kiwi Winter Olympian (and Cardrona Team Ambassador) Christy Prior, was only a fraction of a second faster with a best score of 59.93 seconds. It was a great day for Cardrona in other divisions as well. Cardrona snowboard instructor Damion Lee took away second place at the Male Masters and Cardrona trainer Keith Stubbs was third in the Male Open. All together 14 Cardrona instructors took part, all of them succeeding in finishing the course.

“The positive, laid back atmosphere and supportive environment from the other competitors made the day absolutely awesome!” Ash states. She also gives credit to the organizers from a well planned and smoothly operated day. “ I can’t wait for next year to take part again. Maybe then I will have a chance to train a little bit before the race as well” she laughs. To make the day even better, there was a generous prize purse for winners. “The money will go towards paying for my Snowboard Instructor Level 3 which I am training for at the moment,” revealed Ash. Well done team! 

Words by Veinalotta Vesterinen

2014 DB Export Banked Slalom at Treble Cone

2014 DB Export Banked Slalom at Treble Cone.


21 Reasons Why You Need to Ride Cardrona Parks

While the Sochi Winter Olympics are now in the history books and won’t be back for another 4 years (and in Korea for that matter!) Cardrona Parks are still looking ripe for the shredding! Along with consistently offering world-class terrain park facilities, some new additions have graced our parks this season.

Check out this awesome article posted by Rachael Oaks-Ash from Snows Best to keep up with the play in Cardrona Parks this year: 

21 Reasons Why You Need to Ride at Cardrona

Mitch Brown Underflip at Cardrona

Double NZ Winter Olympian Mitch Brown in Cardrona Parks Pic: Liam Peter Ryan

Cardrona may be best known as a family resort but it also boasts 21 freestyle winter olympic medalists & new terrain parks for 2014.

Olympic hopeful snowboarders and skiers descended upon Cardrona on New Zealand’s South Island in the winter of 2013. They knew a good thing when they saw it and Cardrona’s Olympic sized super pipe, their halfpipe and terrain parks have long been known by those in the freestyle know as more than a good thing.

It makes for fun ski and snowboard super star spotting if you’re on a snow day out at Cardrona. Many an excited grommet has found him or herself on the chairlift with the likes of Torah Bright, Gus Kenworthy, Kim Lamarre and even Shaun White. Not bad company for a family day out.

The Cardrona southern hemisphere 2013 training ground paid off for twenty one skiers and boarders who secured themselves a Winter Olympic medal at Sochi in February this year.

New Terrain Parks for 2014

Antlers Alley Cardrona

Antlers Alley, Cardrona. Pic: Mitch Brown

Cardrona have mixed it up in 2014 with a new terrain park and freestyle offering.  All the parks have been renamed to reflect the new stag logo of Cardrona.

Big Bucks Park (was Heavy Metal) – home of NZ’s only World Cup homologated slope style course

Stag Lane (was Playzone)

Antlers Alley – this is a new intermediate Terrain Park including a small triple line

Lil’ Bucks Park (was Westerns) – a beginner park

Bambi Way – this is new and on the bunny slopes so perfect for tiny tots

Of course the resort still boasts an Olympic Superpipe, an International Halfpipe and a Big Air plus Gravity X course.

Cardrona will be home again to some of the worlds best skiers and boarders for The North Face Open slopestyle and halfpipe AFP event from August 28 to 31 and the Burton High Five Series from September 18 to 20.

Words by Rachel Oaks-Ash.

Read the whole article “21 reasons you need to ride at Cardrona” at to find out who graced Cardrona’s Pipes and Parks last year and then went on to celebrate a podium finish at the recent Sochi Winter Olympics. If you haven’t checked out New Zealand’s Home of Freestyle yet, it’s definitely worth a look!