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5 Tips for Families Visiting in the School Holidays

Skiing or snowboarding with the family these school holidays? Using Cardrona’s Snow Sports School is one of the best ways to raise the bar of your mountain experience.

Whether you’re looking to help your little’uns with their first moments on snow, level up your own skills, or simply have heaps of fun as a family, booking lessons for yourself and the kids is a must-do.

Read below to learn 5 top tips for families during the school holidays.

1. Book a First Timer Package

First timers are well looked after at Cardrona. With 20% of the mountain's terrain being beginner-friendly, stepping onto a ski or snowboard for the first time has never been easier with our First Timer Package. Your or your child's first experience on snow can be safe, fun, and simple! 

What’s included:

  • Full-day group lesson
  • Learner’s Pass
  • One ride on McDougall’s Chondola
  • Rental equipment

The full-day lesson will happen in our Beginner’s Area, which has gentle terrain and simple conveyor lifts to get you to the top of the slope.

The Learner’s Pass gives you access to the Beginner’s Area and one ride on McDougall’s Chondola. You can use this to sightsee some incredible views of Queenstown and Wānaka. Or, if you’re confident after a day of lessons, you might be keen to take a gentle green run down the slopes back to base.

As a beginner, you might not have your own equipment. Rental equipment is included in this package. If you also need clothes and accessories like a jacket, pants, a helmet and goggles, these will be an add-on.

This is the perfect introduction to snow sports, especially for kids. We may be a little biased, but we reckon anyone who completes a First Timer Package is about to embark on a lifelong relationship with the mountains.

First Timer Package

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2. Head into a group lesson

Lessons aren’t just for first timers. We have kids and adult group lessons that cater to everyone, from novices to advanced skiers or snowboarders. Lessons are the best way to refresh after a long summer, level up your skills, or try something new.

No matter if you’re here for a short time, or all season, it’s important to decide what level you’re skiing or riding at. Booking into a lesson that’s the right level for you is one of the best ways to squeeze every ounce of fun out of your ski season.

Our different levels are:

  • Novice: a beginner still mastering the basics and skiing/riding green runs and the Beginner’s Area.
  • Intermediate: someone who’s exploring new terrain, skiing/riding blue runs, and improving their skills.
  • Advanced: someone who’s sharpening their skills on varied terrain and conditions, skiing/riding red or possibly black runs.

The best thing about adult and kids’ group lessons is that they run separately but at the same time. So, if you and your kids are all in lessons, you can be sure they’re being well looked after. You can meet for lunch and talk about the skills you picked up in the morning lessons!

If you’ve booked the kids into group lessons while you're out skiing or snowboarding, it will give you quality time with family, friends, or just yourself, to enjoy the mountain. When they return from their lessons with new skills, you can ski or snowboard confidently together as a family. So rewarding!

Group lessons

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3. Give your under 5s the best experience

Kids’ group lessons are for ages 5-14, but that doesn’t mean under 5s aren’t looked after. We believe that as soon as you can walk, you can ski. Our Ski Kindy, the Cardrona Childcare Centre, offers your wee ones the best chance of finding their groove on the snow with under 5s lessons.

We offer two types of lessons, private lessons, and group lessons:

  • Private lessons – are for kids aged 2-4yrs who thrive with one-on-one attention. These are only available with a care package or on the day depending on availability. Under 5s snowboarders can book private lessons only.
  • Group lessons – are best suited to mature 4yr olds, but kids ages 3.5-4 are welcome. Under 5s group lessons are available to book for skiing only.

Under 5s lessons

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4. Upgrade to a package

Did you know that if you’ve booked lessons, you can upgrade them to a Full Day Package? If you’ve not secured your lift pass yet, bundle together your lessons, lift pass, and rentals to make your days on the mountain simple. It takes the stress out of looking for your kids' equipment, and we can do all the heavy lifting for you. 

Check out our Full Day Packages here, or drop into one of our town offices. You can find them at 50 Cardrona Road Wānaka, or 37 Camp Street Queenstown, and our helpful staff will find you the best package that works for you. 

Full Day Package

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5. Book online ahead of time

We don’t need to tell you how important it is to get onto the snow fast, especially when you’ve got kids. If you buy your passes, rentals and lessons ahead of time and online, you can pick up your rentals and passes from our town offices the day before, either in Wānaka or Queenstown, saving you that precious time. You’ll also be scoring the best price, saving yourself up to $25 per day! Our handy staff will be able to make sure your family is as mountain ready as possible. So, we recommend:

  • Using our pick-up kiosks to collect your lift passes, you’ll need the QR code you received in your confirmation email handy. Just scan that, and your lift passes will print there and then.
  • Chatting with our team in our town offices, they’re pros at finding rentals that suit you best. They’ll ensure you and your little ones are all kitted out and comfy for your days up the hill.
  • Swinging by Après to pick up your snow gear if you’re based in Wānaka. The facility has a restaurant and retail space, so you can simply sit back, relax, with no fear of the kids’ hunger creeping in, and our team will call you over when they’re ready to sort you your rentals.
  • Booking online to secure your spot. We limit our capacity at Cardrona to ensure our guests' enjoyment. The school holidays are a busy time, and our packages and lessons are popular, so avoid disappointment by booking online, before you head up the mountain. You can see how busy any given day is by checking the snow report.

Buy online, save money, save time

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About the Author

Eleanor Stephens