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 Snowsbest.com 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! 

Heavy Snow Fall Brings Deep Powder!

Some pleaded for it, some danced for it, some waited patiently for it…whatever YOU did to help make the snow fall this season, it has definitely worked!

Snow in Base Area, Cardrona owder hand drag turn at Cardrona Snow fall at Cardrona

Mother Nature has answered our calls and we have experienced HUGE amounts of snow over the last week. In the last 8 days we have received over 70cm of the fresh white stuff that we all love giving the resort excellent snow coverage. Skiing and riding both on and off piste has been exceptional with guests even claiming that powder runs down Valley View (our lowest lift) were their best of the day. 

Cold temperatures and low freezing levels saw without a doubt the biggest flakes of the season fall on Monday with the snow line creeping ever so close to the Cardrona Valley floor. Chains were required for all vehicles on consecutive days for the first time this season as guests drove through the heavy snowfall with their heart’s set on some deep powder turns. The large flakes fell littering the mountain with massive wind drifts and an abundance of fresh lines just waiting to be shredded. 

Powder turn on Queenstown Return, CardronaLast weekend was one to remember with two epic powder days much to the delight of everyone who came up. Not to mention that this week has had it’s moments as well! The picture to the right was taken yesterday as mother nature gave us a skiff of snow in the morning then decided the day would be better with blue skies. The video below from our friends at Flashworks Media shows just how amazing the second weekend of August really was! 

There is still plenty of fresh snow to enjoy if you know where to find it…if you’re new to our resort however, the snow conditions all over the mountain are still currently soft, dry and plenty of fun! The third jump in the Big Bucks Park is now open (experts only!) and snow is currently being pushed for the Olympic halfpipe with our groomers waiting for clear conditions overnight to give it a real crack. 

With more snow in the forecast this week we’re expecting the weather to clear and crossing our fingers for more blue skies. We look forward to seeing you up here to enjoy the amazing conditions! Cardrona loves you…

Check out “Stagging Around – Captains Shred” edit from the weekend:

Stagging Around - Day in Captains

NZ Dronie visits Cardrona

The #NZDronie was up at Cardrona over the weekend giving guests the opportunity to take away a very special (and free!) memento from their day up the hill. Tourism New Zealand’s Dronie has been visiting picturesque locations in New Zealand to capture some of our nation’s scenic gems! Check it out…

Drones take over New Zealand ski resorts

Words by Rachael Oakes-Ash from www.snowsbest.com.

Dronies – the new trend where selfies are shot using flying drones to create personal videos – will be hitting New Zealand’s mountain ranges this winter, enabling visitors and ski enthusiasts to share the epic beauty of the South Island with their friends.

Giving a fresh perspective on creating holiday memories, Tourism New Zealand’s drone begins recording a close up portrait then quickly pans out to show New Zealand’s breathtaking scenery, creating a short film about eight seconds long. The resulting video can then be shared with friends on all social channels via #NZdronie.

The NZdronie will be travelling around key South Island destinations during July and August 2014 and won’t just be for snow bunnies. As well as hitting the slopes of Coronet Peak, Cardrona, Mount Hutt and Mount Cook ski areas, NZdronie will be available in both Queenstown and Lake Tekapo.

Around 150,000 Australians visited New Zealand during last year’s (2013) ski season.* Alongside world-class skiing and some of the best panoramic views on the planet, winter in New Zealand offers more magic in every day. Whether visitors are after adrenaline filled activities or more relaxed experiences such as wine tasting or soaking in a hot spa, winter offers an array of adventures.

General Manager of Tourism New Zealand Australia, Tony Saunders said “We are excited to be the first country to launch the new NZdronie service for consumers and hope it will add another dimension to the way people share their holiday memories.

“New Zealand’s scenery is unparalleled so we wanted to give visitors the opportunity to show their spectacular surrounding to friends via social media, blowing a traditional selfie out of the water.

“If a picture says a thousand words imagine what a dronie can do!”

More information about where NZdronies can be found and a video demonstrating how it works are available on the 100% Pure New Zealand Facebook and Instagram (instagram.com/purenewzealand) pages. 

Tourism New Zealand is encouraging people to share their dronies using the hashtag #NZdronie with daily prizes up for grabs!

The Dronie captures some early morning action in Antlers Alley terrain park with Cardrona Junior Team Riders Miguel and Nico Porteous:


Cardrona Kids Cup 2014 Review

Another Cardrona Kids Cup is in the history books leaving another group of kids stoked after a fun filled day of shredding, sunshine, giveaways and a scavenger hunt!

Cardrona Kids Cup 2014The Cardrona Kids Cup kicked off on Wednesday with epic bluebird conditions in the nicely groomed Lil’ Bucks Terrain Park. The Cup was a single day slopestyle competition for ski/snowboard boys and girls aged 5-11 years. Athletes were divided into three different age divisions: Ruggies (5-7yrs), Grommets (8 and 9yrs), and Rippers (10 and 11yrs). Boys and girls were placed in separate categories as were skiers and snowboarders. Freestyle manoeuvres over table top jumps, boxes and rails were judged by a panel of 3, with scores based on Variety, Difficulty and Execution.

The competition was fierce yet laced with a whole lot of fun and encouragement as young skiers and riders threw down to impress the judges. Some of the older kids had a few corked tricks in their runs…a promising sign for the future of snow sports in New Zealand! 

Our friends at Dragon and Rossignol had a whole bunch of awesome gear set aside for the podium winners, while everyone was given their fair share of delicious Calci Yum to devour. Before the winners were announced, competitors participated in a ‘race to the finish’ treasure hunt where the first five to finish were hooked up with free gear from the sponsors!

It seemed the day not only uncovered some serious talent on skis and boards, but also behind the lens as Blake Alty (16yrs) put together a stellar edit to recap the event. Check it out below, well done Blake!

Our short recap video also shows the action from the 2014 Cup…

After an awesome effort from all the kids who participated the podium spots were announced! Below are the winners of the various divisions, or for a full list of results see here

Thanks again to our wicked sponsors Dragon, Rossignol and Calci Yum for helping make this happen, see you all next year! 

First Place Winners: 

 Ski Girls:

- Ruggies: Ayana Packer

- Grommets: Zara Hooks

Ski Boys:

- Ruggies: Riley Jackson

- Grommets: Finley Melville-Ives

- Rippers: Jasper Bloomfield

Snowboard Girls:

- Ruggies: Cassandra Lyell

- Rippers: Charlotte Lyell

Snowboard Boys:

- Ruggies: Zedyn Fellows

- Grommets: Campbell Melville-Ives

- Rippers: Zephyr Lovelock

The North Face® NZ Freeski Open

Registration is now open for The North Face® Freeski Open of New Zealand, the only event in the world to hold Slopestyle, Halfpipe and Big Mountain competitions all in one!

New Zealand’s Home of Freestyle Cardrona Alpine Resort will again host the Open’s freestyle events (Slopestyle and Halfpipe) in the 22ft Olympic Standard Superpipe and in the World Cup Slopestyle Course (Big Bucks Park). 

This event usually attracts international skiers from across the globe and is a renowned stop in the Southern Hemisphere freeski competition circuit. It is the Southern Hemisphere’s biggest freeski competition and is set to celebrate its 10th anniversary this year!

Freeski Open NZ at CardronaThe schedule for The Freeski Open of NZ Park and Pipe events are as follows:

- Wednesday 27 August – Bib collection and rider briefing. 3pm Noodle Bar, Cardrona Alpine Resort

- Thursday 28 August – Slopestyle qualifiers

- Friday 29 August – Slopestyle finals

- Saturday 30 August – Halfpipe qualifiers and finals

- Sunday 31 August – Weather day

Entry fee: $100 per discipline. Entries will be limited to 80 for halfpipe and 100 for slopestyle.

Park & Pipe Events Registration Form 

The Big Mountain section of the competition, scheduled for 1 – 8 September will be jointly held at Treble Cone and The Remarkables. 

For further information visit www.nzfreeskiopen.com and follow the Open on Facebook

Cardrona Kids Cup 2014

Get the young ones amped because it’s that time again! Cardrona’s first major event of the year, our annual Cardrona Kids Cup is scheduled for July 16 in Lil’ Bucks Terrain Park. The event always proves to be loads of fun and is open to kids of all abilities! 

Cardrona Kids Cup 2013The Cup is a single day slopestyle competition for ski/snowboard boys and girls aged 5-11 years. The day is full of giveaways from our awesome sponsors DragonRossignol and Calci Yum who also have some wicked prizes up for grabs for the podium winners. 

Athletes will be divided into three different age divisions: Ruggies (5-7yrs), Grommets (8 and 9yrs), and Rippers (10 and 11yrs). Boys and girls will be placed in separate categories as will skiers and snowboarders. Freestyle manoeuvres over table top jumps, boxes and rails will be judged by a panel of 3, with scores based on Variety, Difficulty and Execution. Medals and prizes are presented for 1st – 3rd in each age division/discipline and there are plenty of spot prizes too! 

The entry fee is $30 (plus bib deposit fee which is refunded upon return) for each competitor. To enter, email events@cardrona.com or go see our friendly team at the HPC desk up the mountain before 8.30am of competition day (July 16). Download entry forms and information below:

Cardrona Kids Cup Entry Form 2014

Cardrona Kids Cup Rider Information 2014

Cardrona Kids Cup 2013This year, our High Performance Centre is getting involved in the good times hosting a Kids Cup Camp in the days leading up to the event for any young skiers or snowboarders aged 5-11yrs. This is a great chance to get prepared for the Cup, make new friends and experience expert tuition from our HPC coaches. The camp will run from Monday 14th – Wednesday 16th July and costs $330 which includes: coaching leading up to competition day, coaching during the event, the event entry fee and stickers! What an epic way to spend the holidays! To sign up contact hpc@cardrona.com. 

This is a fun and friendly event for kids of all abilities so sign up for an awesome day up the mountain! Our Cardrona Kid’s Cup happens only once a season and our mascots Pengi and Frosty are sure to get amongst it so don’t miss out!  

Cardrona Kids Cup 2014   

New Volunteers Join Cardrona’s Adaptive Programme

Cardrona's Adaptive ProgrammeFor years Cardrona has lead the way in Adaptive Snow Sports programmes giving people with impairments who are stoked on snow the opportunity to experience it for themselves. “The main thing is to have fun!” states adaptive coordinator Jane Stevens “We want to offer all of our guests a great, safe day on the mountain, regardless of their abilities”.

A week back, Cardrona’s Adaptive Programme was introduced to a new group of volunteers. The volunteers learnt the skills necessary to help guests with adaptive requirements, including different techniques and tactics to aid impaired people both on and off snow. Numerous volunteers had previous experience with working around people with physical, sensory or cognitive impairments, but that was by no means a prerequisite. “Our volunteers, as well as the whole team up here do this because they love it!” says Stevens, who has worked with impaired snow sports enthusiasts, from beginners to Paralympians, for 48 seasons all around the world.

Cardrona's Adaptive ProgrammeStevens explains: “We have locals that have not only been doing an incredible job in the programme for years, but also help us to find new people to join every season”. From the workshops, a group of students from Mount Aspiring College and from Otago Polytechnic joined as volunteers. “Getting the youngsters in is a huge benefit in terms of removing participation barriers and encouraging people of their own age, with impairments, to get involved in snow sports.” Jane also acknowledges Snowsports New Zealand, the national advocate for adaptive snow sports. Thanks to their support, Cardrona’s Adaptive Programme is able to provide training for the volunteers…

Cardrona’s Adaptive Programme is about adapting equipment or lessons to give everyone a fun and safe experience on snow. For some, this means using special equipment, as Cardrona's Adaptive Programmefor others it may be a different teaching method (instructors). It can uncover the degree of assistance needed on snow and at Cardrona, this is provided complimentary by the volunteers. Jane encourages people to use the opportunity of the programme “ We have got everything you need for a great day up here, from a wide variety of equipment to very experienced and well trained instructors and volunteers.” Adaptive ski school is open to a broad range of impairments, including minor difficulties in concentration or learning. Volunteers are also available to help children that participate on group lessons or daily programs. “ And we have very good prices!” suggests Stevens.

The new volunteers will continue with on-work practise during the coming few weeks. Stevens invites everybody in the community to join the fun on snow “We are hoping to see many of our locals enjoying Cardrona throughout the season!”

For more information about Cardrona’s Adaptive Programme, see here


Cardrona’s Opening Day


first chair

2014 First Chair Honours went to Wanaka family, Karen, Finley, Campbell Melville-Ives and Neil Ives.

Cardrona’s Opening Day came down to the wire this year! After battling less than ideal weather conditions in the lead up, Friday June 20th wasn’t going to be denied as the official first day of the 2014 season! 

After a sketchy downpour of mid-week rain, snow conditions took a step backwards. Thanks to a combined effort from Mother Nature providing a wee dusting of snow around 8cm thick and Cardrona’s snow making/grooming staff, the resort welcomed guests with open arms to celebrate the start of the winter season. Check out the amazing panoramic shot from 360 Queenstown-Wanaka on early morning opening! 

lil bucks

Hamish ‘Bilzy’ Martin getting technical in Lil Bucks Park on Opening Day.

Guest were limited to McDougall’s Quad and the Learner Conveyors due to the minimal snow fall. That didn’t stop the hoots of excitement from the chairlift, regular high fives and awkward selfie opportunities as guests started to froth on snow again after the summer months. To stoke the fire of enjoyment further, half price day passes were on offer to everyone, implemented to reflect the limited offering of terrain. Cardrona Alpine Resort General Manager Bridget Legnavsky told 3 news “We don’t have the whole mountain open, so I think it’s reasonable to say that it’s not fair to make people pay the full amount” (see full video story here) . The Cardrona Parks Crew put in a solid effort to get a few jib features ready for freestylers to work their magic on. This meant the first few edits of the season started popping up before the weekend was over…for a glimpse of the good times, check out the first episode of ‘Stagging Around‘. 

Hollie S

Hollie Smith sends her voice throughout the Base Area at Cardrona’s Opening Party.

There was no time to reflect on Opening Day as the day after took celebrations up a notch! Cardrona staff enjoyed a Maori powhiri led by Ngai-Tahu kaumatua Michael Skerrett to welcome Cardrona back into New Zealand ownership then it was all hands on deck for Cardrona’s Opening Party! The party kicked off with local musicians Phil and Tilley sending smooth tunes to the early arrivals in the courtyard, followed by local Wanaka bands Bluebird and Soulless Creatures making the Base Cafe and Noodle Bar popular lunch spots. Face painting was a hit with the little ones who were eager to match their face art with their outerwear. The variety of prizes from sponsors were also well received as social media channels were packed with free give away competitions. The amazingly talented Hollie Smith then sent her powerful voice from the Mezz balcony throughout the whole base area, followed by the intricate tunes of Monty Bevins. Hollie then rounded off the day with her second set, an ideal addition for Saturday apres ski activities. 

captains sunrise 23 June

Captains sunrise on Monday June 22. Pic: Nathan White.

Even when the Opening Party was done and dusted on early Sunday, there was still reason to celebrate as Whitestar opened for 2014 sporting clear and calm bluebird conditions. Captains followed suit on Monday spurring an elated bunch of skiers and riders to search for first tracks in Captains Basin. 

Although off-piste terrain is limited, the conditions on trail have held up superbly from the recent cold temperatures. As the wait continues for those winter storms to roll in, there is still plenty to get amped about up Cardrona…with 3 chairlifts now operating, the opportunity to warm your winter legs for powder days is there for the taking! 

For a recap of the weekend, check out Cardrona’s first video snow update of the season. 

Pictured below: A few of the prize winners getting handed new Dragon goggles from the stack of Opening Party giveaway competitions.  


Cardrona partners with Snow Sports NZ

Cardrona and Snow Sports New Zealand have signed a Partnership Agreement which will see Cardrona become an official resort partner of Snow Sports NZ. Along with continuing to work closely together, Cardrona will now be the naming rights sponsor of the New Zealand Park and Pipe Team and the NZ Freeski & Snowboard Junior National Championships.SSNZ_LogoPBW300

In recent years the national freeski and snowboard team have done all of their halfpipe and slopestyle training at Cardrona throughout the southern hemisphere winter. Cardrona also hosts key events such as the NZ Freeski Open, NZ Winter Games and an international spring training camp which is held exclusively for athletes after closing day. 

New Zealand’s premiere junior snow sports event, which Cardrona has hosted for the past five years, will be known as the Cardrona NZ Junior Nationals under the new agreement. The event, held in late September each year, is for skiers and snowboarders aged five to 18 years in halfpipe, slopestyle, gravity cross, parallel slalom and big mountain.

2013 Junior Nationals Champion Beau-James Wells competing in Sochi.

2013 Junior Nationals Champion Beau-James Wells competing in the Sochi Winter Olympic games this year.

Earthworks for a new intermediate freestyle ski and snowboard terrain park have recently been completed in preparation for the coming winter season! The new terrain park has been designed for intermediate skiers and riders to bridge the gap between the beginner park and advanced park. Cardrona will now be able to develop and cater for all freestyle skiers and snowboarders from beginners through to the world’s best elite athletes.

Richard Lauder, CEO of Real Journeys which bought Cardrona Alpine Resort in November 2013, says he is excited about formalising the new arrangement. 

“With Cardrona now back in New Zealand ownership we really value our relationship with Snow Sports NZ and have a renewed commitment to the local snow sports sector,” he commented.

The relationship between Cardrona and Snow Sports NZ has always been strong but with Cardrona coming under Kiwi ownership and then developing the intermediate jump line the timing was perfect for both parties to enter into naming rights agreements around the NZ Park and Pipe Team and the NZ Junior Nationals,” said Snow Sports NZ CEO, Martin Toomey.

“We look forward to a long and successful partnership and to seeing athletes supported by that partnership going on to become World and Olympic champions in those disciplines.”

The agreement is just another exciting development for the 2014 winter season! 

Cardrona is scheduled to open on June 20. 

Beau-James Wells Wins Gold at Junior World Champs.

Cardrona Team Rider Beau-James Wells has taken out first place in the Junior World Championship Freeski Halfpipe this week. 

Beau-James Wells wins Gold at Junior Worlds

Gold medal winner Beau-James Wells. Image courtesy of Snow Sports NZ.

The Junior World Champs have currently been taking place in Valmalenco, Italy. Beau qualified in first placed yesterday with a score of 86.2, but would have to lift his performance in finals to secure the title. 

Beau came out firing by landing an exceptional right double 900 on the second hit of a smooth and lofty first run to score 94.2. Beau knew he had won prior to dropping in for his second run, but went even bigger and better anyway.

Beau reflected on the win by saying: “The halfpipe was so fun to ski, and it was good to see some younger skiers coming through…I am stoked to win the Junior World Champion title; it is one of my best competition results.”

See full results here. 

Beau-james wells at Junior Worlds

Beau in training. Image: Tommy Pyatt.

Beau-James will now set his sights on the World Championships in Whistler in April.

Other young kiwis who were competing put in a huge effort in the pipe on the junior world stage. Finn Bilous finished the day in 5th place while Cardrona Parks Squad’s Miguel Porteous was close behind in 7th. Cardrona Team Rider Jackson Wells was unable to complete a clean run in finals and finished in 11th position.

Kiwi snowboarders also had a great showing in the Snowboard Slopestyle with Lyon Farrell finishing 4th, Carlos Garcia Knight 7th and Cardrona Team Rider JJ Rayward finishing 24th. 

See full results here. 

Congratulations to our young kiwi athletes for representing our nation proudly in Italy! Keep it up team!