School’s Out, Time to Ride!

Hey Kids, school holidays are here and it’s time to head to the mountains to have some serious snow sliding fun! So what does Cardrona have in store for you these holidays? Awesome activities, cool camps and comps, and a heap of terrific terrain!

Mother Nature and the Cardrona team have been hard at work to create epic conditions for you these holidays! The whole mountain is open including on and off-piste terrain in Valley View basin, the new improved Lil’ Bucks Terrain Park and a new conveyor on the Beginner’s Slope.

Pengi & Frosty Fun Run

Every Tuesday and Sunday of the school holidays, you can take a fun run down McDougall’s and have your photo taken with Cardrona’s famous mascots Pengi and Frosty! Meet at the bottom of McDougall’s lift at 2.20pm and get ready to have a shred-tastic time! Please bring an adult if you need help with the lift.

Four Day Camps

Skiwees and Lowriders are our most favourite Kids’ Programmes. You’ll get to ski or snowboard with one of our coolest kids’ instructors and meet other kids like you – no matter what level you are.

If you’re an intermediate-advanced skier or snowboarder and you want to have a crack at a range of different snow sports disciplines like the terrain park or steeps, Ride Tribe is perfect for you.

Not only will you have heaps of fun on our camps, you’re going to make massive improvements in your skiing or snowboarding. By the way, tell your Mum or Dad that these programmes include lunches and offer discounted “add ons” like rentals. The four day programmes run Monday-Thursday from 9.30am-3.30pm.

Book online so you can head straight to the snow!

Kids’ Club

Cardrona Kids’ Club is a dedicated kid’s facility for 5–14 year olds open from 8.30 each morning and is an awesome option for you and your parents! It means you get to do cool activities and have a special kids’ lunch before or after your lessons.

Add Kids’ Club membership, half or full days to any group lesson or package – book online.

Cardrona NZ Kids' Cup snowboarder on jump

Cardrona Kids’ Cup

The Cardrona Kids’ Cup Slopestyle is a freestyle competition located in the new and improved Lil’ Bucks Terrain Park. Break out your best tricks over table top jumps, boxes & rails and be in to win amazing spot prizes and medals! It’s for freestylers of all abilities, aged 5–11 years on Wednesday 15th July.

Pre-register online or sign up on the day at the ticket office before 8.30am.

Holiday Coaching Programmes

If you’re ready to take your skiing or snowboarding to an advanced level, or you’re keen on competitive snow sports, then our High Performance Centre Holiday Camps are for you! For maximum progression you get to train for 10 days, Wednesday–Sunday for two weeks.

Find out more about our Freeski, Snowboard and Ski Racing camps.

Valley View is Cardrona’s best kept secret!

Psst… we’ll let you in on some inside information… if you’re an intermediate skier or snowboarder, Valley View is the place to head to! Not only are there uncrowded, wide groomed blue runs, there’re heaps of cool off-piste trails, secret powder stashes and little rock drops.

Plus, if you already have your lift passes sorted, let your Mum or Dad know they can park at the Valley View carpark. You’re close to the lift for easy snow access AND you save 10 minutes of drive time!

Not matter whether you’re into cruising the mountain with your mates or family, keen to improve your snow skills, or you’d like to get into competing on-snow, Cardrona has it on offer for you these school holidays!

Cardrona On Track to Open Olympic Superpipe Within a Week!

After a bumper start to the 2015 winter season, Cardrona has accelerated the construction of its freestyle features and currently offers the most extensive terrain park facilities in the Southern Hemisphere. Cardrona’s 22ft Olympic Superpipe, the only one of its kind this side of the equator, is on track to open within a week, much to the delight of avid freestylers and spectators! Earthworks were completed over summer to widen the pipe and due to the quality of snow being used, the unique feature is expected to last the entire season (Closing Day October 11) and throughout Cardrona’s post-season Spring Training Camp. Sweet eh!?

Cardrona has had features in all four of its popular terrain parks from the first week of the season!  The Cardrona Parks Crew have consistently increased the freestyle offering from Opening Day, installing new features on a regular basis. Cardrona’s General Manager Bridget Legnavsky states: “We have an incredible, experienced team dedicated to providing epic terrain parks for all levels and due to the frequent snowfalls, they’ve been able to install features much earlier this season to offer exceptional park and pipe facilities.”

Cardrona 3 Triple LinesFor the very first time in its history, Cardrona now has three triple jump lines available for beginner to expert levels. Lil’ Bucks Park now has 5 kickers from 5-15 feet in length, Antlers Alley has 3 kickers from 20-30 feet and Big Bucks Park has 3 large jumps from 35-55 feet. Not only have the Cardrona Parks Crew been busy installing features, but they’ve also built 17 new jib features (rails, boxes, wallrides etc) for this season. The four terrain parks currently have around 30 jib features, but with a total stock count of 80, new features are expected to be installed quickly and frequently in the upcoming weeks.

Rider- Angus Gray,Pic- Iona Fulton (640x427)Once the 22ft Olympic Superpipe is ready, the Terrain Park builders will look to construct the International Halfpipe (15 ft) and Cardrona Big Air (85ft+). All terrain park features are open to our guests and we expect international/national athletes and snow sports superstars to utilize Cardrona’s world-class terrain park facilities again this season. The early start will provide ample opportunity for both local and international competitors to train for the pinnacle events Cardrona is to host over the coming months.

It’s all happening at Cardrona at the moment with more terrain features on offer soon! Have you got amongst the action yet!??

Cardrona Kids’ Cup 2015

Cardrona NZ Kids' Cup snowboarder on jumpKids, it’s time to get amped again for Cardrona’s first major event of the year and our favourite fun kids’ competition, the Cardrona Kids’ Cup. Scheduled during the School Holidays on Wednesday July 15, the Kids’ Cup is a Slopestyle Event for 5-11 year olds that takes place in our smallest terrain park, Lil’ Bucks. It always proves to be an epic day!

It’s all about fun!

The main focus of this comp is FUN!! We encourage boys and girls of all abilities to enter. The day is full of spot prizes and giveaways from our awesome sponsors DragonRossignol and Calci Yum who also have some wicked prizes up for grabs for the podium winners.

Cardrona NZ Kids' Cup skier on jumpThis season Lil’ Bucks Park has moved to the skier’s left of McDougall’s chairlift and has been extended, so competitors will have more space and more choice of jumps, boxes and jibs than ever before!


Athletes will be divided into three different age divisions: Ruggies (5-7yrs), Grommets (8-9yrs), and Rippers (10-11yrs). 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!

Cardrona NZ Kids' Cup podium winnersThe entry fee is $30 (plus bib deposit fee which is refunded upon return) for each competitor. To enter, download the Entry Form below, or email to, or go see our friendly team at the HPC desk (in the Ticketing Office) up the mountain before 8.30am of competition day, Wednesday July 15. Please be sure to read the Rider Information below.

Cardrona Kids’ Cup Entry Form

Cardrona Kids’ Cup Rider Information

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 2015 flyer

Parks and Pipe Update

Lil Buck's beginners terrain park, underneath McDougalls Chairlift

Long before the winter 2015 season kicked off, Mother Nature provided the snow and Cardrona’s Grooming and Terrain Park Crew got to work putting it in place for some outstanding early season terrain park action. The freeskiers and freestyle snowboarders out there will be stoked to find that there is already extensive freestyle terrain open, including loads of new features, and more to come!

Lil’ Bucks Park extended

The learner terrain park Lil’ Bucks has been moved to the skier’s left side of McDougall’s chairlift to give beginner freestylers more space and a larger variety of features. With a much longer run, including five jumps and five jib boxes and rails, we’ve been receiving super positive feedback from riders. Expect to see heaps of progression from our younger skiers and snowboarders this season!

Stag Lane & Antlers Alley in full force

The mid-sized terrain parks, Stag Lane and Antlers Alley, are looking impressive with around 15 features currently in place. Included in the line-up is a new technical stair feature, rainbow box and some lift tower pipes. A jibber’s dream!

Big Bucks now open

And for the gutsy freestylers out there, the triple line of 35-45 foot jumps in Big Bucks Park are now up and running. Watch out for Cardrona team riders and international athletes warming up for the events season on these super-sized features.

Olympic Halfpipe on the way

Work has long been underway on the building of the Southern Hemisphere’s only 22ft Olympic Halfpipe. Usually a job that takes weeks of waiting for snow, and then pushing snow, it was made easier by multiple pre-season snow storms that hit Cardrona. Building of the walls is now in progress and we’re aiming to complete shaping in early July. Given the rarity of 22ft halfpipes we know that there’s a great deal of anticipation for the opening!

It’s hard to believe that it’s only the beginning of July and we’ve already had so many epic days of riding, and there’s so much on offer in Cardrona Parks!

Cardrona’s Adaptive Snowsports Coordinator nominated for Community Spirit Award

Jane Stevens and Adaptive Programme

Jane Stevens and Cardrona’s Adaptive Volunteers. Pic: Rachel Milner

If you’ve spent time at Cardrona chances are you will have noticed that there is a strong emphasis on winter athlete development including an extensive adaptive ski and snowboarding programme. In conjunction with Snow Sports NZ, Cardrona provides experiences for people with disabilities who are being introduced to snow for the first time, through to training for Paralympians.

At the forefront of the programme is our Adaptive Coordinator, the legend, Jane Stevens. Jane has been involved in adaptive snow sports for almost 30 years and knows how to adapt a lesson, equipment and support systems to teach anyone with a disability. As Jane described to NZ Herald reporter Eva Corlett, it makes no difference what a person’s disability is, “whether it’s physical, sensory or intellectual”, if someone wants to go skiing or snowboarding then she can make it happen.

In recognition of her huge commitment to the sport, Jane Stevens has been nominated for a Pride of New Zealand Award in the Community Spirit category. The award recognises those whose selfless, tireless and largely unacknowledged actions have enriched the lives of those around them in their community.


Jane Stevens at Cardrona

It’s easy to see why Jane has received this nomination when you go through her long list of experience and achievements. She has been involved on many different levels, helping ‘first timers’, as well as training Paralympians, notably the 2010 Vancouver Paralympics Men’s Slalom Gold Medalist Adam Hall.

She describes a time early on in Adam Hall’s career to the NZ Herald, “I remember a day at Mt Dobson – and he was pretty young at this stage – I said, ‘Well, if you want a Paralympic medal in skiing, you’ll have to learn’. So we went into a shop, pulled these old skis out and drilled holes in them. It was all hit-and-miss, really.

“We went up to the mountain and it was a powder day, which wasn’t conducive to learning to ski, and we gave it the best we had, trying to figure out how we were going to do it … and then he turns around and wins a gold medal.”

Jane has also been involved with training 2014 Sochi Paralympic Silver Medalist Corey Peters, NZ’s only medalist at the last Winter Paralympic Games.

But it’s not all about the high profile athletes for Jane. A large part of her work involves helping people enjoy snow sports with their families. “When you get to see kids get out on snow, who perhaps have a visual impairment, and we get them having fun alongside their brothers and sisters, mums and dads, it’s amazing.”

“For me it’s trying to see the whole picture come together and making sure you support every skier, from beginner right through to those who are representing their country.”

The nominees for the Pride of New Zealand awards go before a regional judging panel who will select three finalists per category. Once the 24 regional award winners have been named in August, the public will be able to vote for their TSB Bank People’s Choice winner. The winner of this special award will also be revealed at the national award ceremony in September.

Please join us in supporting Jane Stevens’ nomination. Watch this space on details on how to vote in August, well done Jane!

To see the full NZ Herald article click here.

‘Big Friday’ at Cardrona

Big Friday at CardronaAfter over a metre of snow fell on our upper mountain, the clouds cleared to reveal the first amazing powder day of the 2015 season! ‘Big Friday’ will be remembered for bringing countless deep powder turns to happy skiers and snowboarders after a crazy snow dump! While the storm produced quite heavy snow, it was the ideal outcome for setting up a large base for more terrain to become available in the early stages of the season.

A burly weather system approached the South Island of New Zealand on Thursday which brought snow to low levels in the region. Cardrona, like many of the local schools and businesses were closed due to the severe weather warnings and blizzard conditions. After a day of heavy snow fall the Cardrona operations team were up in the wee hours of ‘Big Friday’ to clear the road and lift stations. Groomers don’t usually find their way to the access road, but this morning was an exception! Our new groomers helped the road crew to clear the mass amounts of snow from the road and Cardrona was open by 9.40am, much to the delight of powder-hungry skiers and snowboarders! 

When put together, blue skies, calm conditions and deep powder are the perfect ingredients for an absolutely amazing day on the mountain! Around mid morning, a line of eager skiers and snowboarders waited at the gate to Shaun’s Way for Captains and Arcadia Basins to open. The race for first chair at Captains was highly contested with the front-runners cutting some untracked lines all the way to the lift station.

An abundance of hoots and ‘yeewwws’ were heard all day around Cardrona, the superb snow conditions making it easy to keep everyone stoked for a memorable day. Cardrona now look to open Valley View Quad Chairlift soon after the massive dump which will offer 600 metres of thigh burning vertical! ‘Big Friday’ is ironically the historical day that Cardrona holds its Opening Day. It’s a day that will be hard to forget, even after winter 2015 is over…although there’s still A LOT of the season left for another! See you up here :) 

Cardrona Opens this Saturday!

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Last week at Cardrona. Pic: Ewan Mackie

After an amazing run of pre-season snowfalls and ideal snow making conditions, Cardrona is planning to fire up at least three of our four quad lifts for Opening Day. The season begins this Saturday (13th June), one week earlier than previous seasons.

Our operations team is looking to push the button on McDougall’s, Whitestar and Captain’s lifts and three Learner Conveyors for the first day of the winter season (if Mother Nature allows us on the day!). In addition, our grooming and snow making teams are busy preparing more terrain for opening early in the season, which could see all lifts operational in record time.

New Terrain & Surface Lift

Also available during the early stages of the season will be a range of new features for all skiers and snowboarders to enjoy, from beginner to advanced. A new learner conveyor has been constructed which runs parallel to the existing conveyor to help decrease lift queues and give first timers more mileage on the slopes!  

For those wanting to tear up (or cruise along!) Cardrona’s pristine corduroy, we have another intermediate trail along the ridge line connecting Valley View and Tail Race trails. This will provide 10 extra hectares of on-piste terrain and make it much easier to access terrain off the Valley View Quad lift.

New Freestyle Features

The beginner terrain park Lil’ Bucks has been moved to the skier’s left side of McDougall’s chairlift to give beginner freestylers more space and a larger variety of features. Shaping and grooming is underway in all four terrain parks and our Terrain Park Team Leader, Heath Richmond reports: “It’s looking like one of the best openings we’ve ever had. We’re looking at Lil’ Bucks and Stag Lane being open, as a well as a jump in Big Bucks.”


Last weekend at Cardrona. Pic: @gusswood

Meanwhile, our Ski & Snowboard School, café and ticketing staff are busy completing core/technical skills training to get ready for the season. We have another exciting bunch of staff along with a huge bunch of returners to guarantee you an epic time up at Cardrona! 

We look forward to seeing you on the snow from Saturday for another fantastic season of skiing and snowboarding!

Words: Karen Melville-Ives

3 Day Polar Season Pass Sale

New Cardrona Groomers. Pic-Simon Darby

New Groomers at Cardrona. Pic: Simon Darby

Superb early season snow conditions including a massive pre-season snow dump, have enabled the Cardrona operations team to ramp up preparations and we are excited to confirm we will open on Saturday, 13th June. Not only is this one week earlier than previous seasons, it is likely that more terrain and lifts than anticipated with be available to guests on Opening Day, including McDougall’s, Whitestar and Captain’s Quad Chairlifts!

3 Day Polar Season Pass Sale

To celebrate the fantastic start to the 2015 winter season, Cardrona will offer discounted Season Pass options for a 3 day period starting Wednesday 3rd June and ending at midnight on Friday 5th June. The discounted passes are only available online (click BUY NOW below) and for Adults (18 years and over)

The Polar Season Pass Sale will offer skiers and snowboarders a final opportunity to pick up a discounted Saver or Unlimited Season Pass. The Saver Pass can be used any day of the 2015 season except during the school holiday period (29th June – 19th July) and the ‘Unlimited’ Season Pass can be used on absolutely any day of the 2015 season. Cardrona has the longest scheduled winter season in the South Island.

*only available online, terms and conditions apply.

Saver Season Pass                Unlimited Season Pass
Adult: $849                               Adult: $1,049

Cardrona Buy Now Button

Epic Early Season Conditions

The decision to make discounted season passes available again was spurred from exceptional early season snow conditions, and to give those who missed out an opportunity to take full advantage of what is looking like a bumper 2015 winter season.

Cardrona will open on 13th June 2015

Cardrona is opening soon! Pic taken last Monday by John Melville

“Now that we know that there is going to be some epic early season riding we thought it would be only fair to celebrate with one more preseason season pass deal. This pass is especially for those people who may have missed out or wanted to wait and see what the winter was going to shape up like” says General Manager Bridget Legnavsky.

Increased operational efficiency brought about by the new innovative ‘SnowSat’ GPS fleet management system, along with a long run of ideal snowmaking conditions, have helped open up additional early season terrain. 

Weather patterns and freezing levels leading up to the 13th of June will determine which facilities will be confirmed as operational on Opening Day. Be sure to keep up to date by checking out our Facebook and Twitter pages.


Massive pre-season dump hits Cardrona

snow drifts in may 15

Snow drifts outside our rentals building. Pic: Geoff Wayatt

Dubbed a ‘polar rodent’ by weather commentators, this week’s massive pre-season snow storm was met much more eagerly by Southern Alps ski field operators and snow sports enthusiasts!

With an average snow base of 40cm on the upper mountain and 30cm on the lower mountain, including some enormous snow drifts, Cardrona is now in great shape for opening in just over two weeks.

The snow fell heavily at Cardrona from Sunday morning until Monday evening and left a thick white blanket on the mountains, as well as 10-15cm in the nearby townships of Wanaka and Queenstown.

Icy and snowy conditions meant that the Queenstown Airport and many roads in the lower South Island were closed for much of Monday. Schools in the Wanaka and Queenstown area were also unable to open and local kids took advantage of the ‘snow day’, creating their own fun. Mini terrain parks were constructed, snowmen built and many snowballs thrown!

Wanaka snow day for kids

Cardrona Grom Team Rider Campbell Melville-Ives throws a method in Wanaka. Pic: Karen Melville-Ives

While the heavy snowfall and massive snow drifts of up to 3 metres have made conditions tough on the mountain for our operations team. They have been working day and night, clearing snow from the base buildings, digging out machinery and grooming the slopes so that we can open with a bang on the June 13!

Cardrona’s four new Pisten Bully snow groomers have been kept busy constructing trails, building terrain features, and even clearing the access road! The recently installed GPS snow & fleet management ‘Snow Sat’ system is already proving extremely useful with grooming staff able to manage and monitor snow conditions and slope quality more efficiently.

Cardrona General Manager, Bridget Legnasky is excited for opening day in two weeks. Taken 28.05.15

Cardrona General Manager Bridget Legnavsky can’t wait for Opening Day! Pic: Geoff Wayatt

In addition to the natural snow fall, temperatures have stayed low and conditions have been ideal for snow making all week. The beginner’s slope is looking good to go for opening day and we will push to open other facilities as snowfall allows.  We’ll let you know exactly what lifts we plan to open in the first week of the season so be sure to keep an eye open on our Facebook and Twitter pages for updates!

See you soon for Winter 2015!!

Words by Karen Melville Ives



Snowmaking Begins as New Groomers Arrive!

The recent snow fall has seen around 30cm accumulate in the base area at Cardrona!  The team started snowmaking on Monday 18th May with over 800,000 litres of water to kick things off. Temperatures in the forecast are looking good for further snowmaking this week to keep the base we’ve been forming and with just over 3 weeks until Opening Day we are chomping at the bit to get winter underway! 

Operations Team with new groomers

Cardrona’s approximately 2 million dollar investment has arrived in the form of four new Kassbohrer Pisten Bully Groomers. The new groomers are equipped with an integrated GPS snow and fleet management ‘Snow Sat’ system. Cardrona will be the only ski area in the Southern Hemisphere to use the innovative system which will provide:

Cardrona's new Snow Sat System• Premium slope quality.

• More environmentally friendly operating from reducing fuel consumption by 8% and operating time by 5%.

• A 15% reduction in the need to make snow.

• Improved slope management technology and snow depth measurement for increased accuracy in guest communications relating to snow base depth.

Erik Barnes, Cardrona’s Manager of Infrastructure and Operations commented about the innovative system, saying “This technology is a game changer for NZ skiing. We will be able to better manage our snow coverage to give our guests that perfect day out on the mountains. We were looking for ways to become more sustainable in our operations and reduce our impact on the environment while providing better quality snow. The new groomers and SnowSat system will reduce our need for snowmaking and provide us with the ability to create that perfect base and surface.”

Cardrona's new magic carpetCardrona have an exciting range of new improvements for the 2015 winter season to entertain all levels of skiers and snowboarders. For the beginners, a new learner conveyor has been constructed which runs parallel to the existing conveyor to help decrease lift queues. The beginner terrain park ‘Lil Bucks’ has been moved to the skiers left side of McDougall’s chairlift to give beginner freestylers more space and a larger variety of features which completes Cardrona’s terrain park offering that caters to first-timers, through to world class athletes. The move will also increase the available space for beginners down McDougall’s green run. Now, more than ever, Cardrona is perfect for those new to snow! 

Corduroy at CardronaThe groomers have been on snow packing down trails in preparations for opening day in just over 3 weeks (yeewww!). Cardrona’s trail network now includes a new intermediate trail along the ridge line connecting Valley View and Tail Race trails. This will provide 10 extra hectares of on-piste terrain and make it considerably easier to access terrain off the Valley View Quad lift. Several main trails have been widened over summer to give even more space to beginner/intermediate skiers and snowboarders this season.

Earthworks have also been underway in the 22ft Olympic Halfpipe to make the transition from each wall longer and to make the pipe easier to maintain. Cardrona’s terrain park crew have over 50 years combined experience and have a new addition to the park groomer crew: X Games and Winter Olympic Halfpipe builder John Melville. John has over 15 years’ experience building and maintaining features which will significantly contribute to upholding Cardrona’s world class terrain park facilities. Cardrona will continue to provide high quality freestyle facilities for not only everyday guests, but for large events such as the Audi Quattro Winter Games, The Northface NZ Freeski Open and the Cardrona Junior Nationals.

Cardrona is scheduled to open on Saturday June 13. The first week of the season will see limited beginner’s terrain on offer with additional terrain opening as snowfall allows. Cardrona will open more facilities in the initial opening week if snowfall allows.

Three weeks and counting!!

new roomer    New Groomer along Skyline