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The little things that all add up...

It's so important to us to look after our maunga and the environment in general. We've only got one planet – there is no Planet B. Here's what we're doing up at Cardrona now, and our goals for the future.

Cardrona is a proud resort partner of Protect Our Winters NZ.

Waste Management

  • We record the amount of rubbish and the amount of recycling that we create, because you can't manage what you can't measure!
  • Like all environmentally-aware businesses we make every effort to enable recycling:
    • We have invested in our bin stations and have dedicated personnel to collect, sort and package our recycling.
    • We work with Wastebusters in order to maintain a good understanding of the national/global dynamic
    • All of our food scraps are sent to a local free-range chicken farmer, which prevents the release of methane, a greenhouse gas that is 28 times more potent than carbon dioxide.
    • Glass bottles are crushed on-site and used for fines in our trenches and grit on the road.
    • We have been going through a multi-year process of recycling our old base building and improving it for the needs of our people today.
    • Similarly, with our old McDougall’s lift, this did not go to landfill but is being reinstalled elsewhere on the mountain.
    • All our scrap metal is collected and recycled.
    • Before we send our steel to be recycled, we try to recuse is on the mountain. Most of our rails and features in the terrain parks are built from our own scrap steel.
  • Whilst we are working hard to send less to landfill and divert to recycling, our overall aim is to reduce and reuse. Several examples of this include:
    • We do not give out takeaway coffee cups, saving roughly 25,000 cups from landfill each year.
    • We do not use single-use crockery & cutlery in our cafes
    • We have started to replace plastic milk bottles with 10L “juglar” bags, saving over 3500 bottles per year.
    • We have started to serve local craft beer on tap, reducing glass bottles and cans.
    • We have been working with suppliers to reduce the amount of packaging that products are delivered in.


The last few years have seen us embark on an ambitious programme of revegetation across the maunga. We have been correcting some past neglect and replanting numerous bare patches. All new earthworks projects have an integral revegetation component. Tussocks and other native plants are removed (whether by machine or by hand) and set aside. They are then replanted on-site or where there is a surplus taken to a recovery area from previous work. This is considerably more time consuming and therefore expensive, but it is the right way to work with our maunga.

We have also been gathering seed and working with local nurseries to grow new tussocks to be planted once they are hardy enough to endure the tough alpine conditions. Down in the valley, we have begun to plant native trees and bushes, with several thousand planted in Spring 2018.


The burning of fossil fuels in internal combustion engines is what we consider to be our biggest environmental negative. The daily work of our operation requires the consumption of thousands of litres of diesel/petrol from skidoos, groomers, buses and light vehicles. We are working with our suppliers to enable the electrification of our vehicles, but this technology remains some years away due to the rigours of working in the cold, alpine environment. In the meantime, we are developing measures to reduce our fossil fuel use everywhere we can. These include:

  • Continual investment in modern, more efficient, cleaner-burning vehicles. Our aim is to always have the most advanced technology available.
  • Our newest groomer is a Pisten Bully “Level Red’ with is Euro Tier V, giving off 90% fewer emissions than the equivalent machine 20 years ago.
  • Our grooming fleet uses SnowSAT GPS technology to map the snow that they are working with and enable the nightly grooming to be completed quicker, more efficiently and therefore burning less fuel.
  • Our fleet of buses are mostly brand new Isuzu FTR750 with Euro Tier V engines and diesel particulate diffusing exhausts. The emissions per passenger are roughly one-third of that of a car or van. Two-thirds of our staff are transported to and from work using these buses.
  • We are working hard to reduce the number of light vehicle movements bringing people to and from Cardrona. Our main strategy here is to offer shuttle services from Wanaka, Queenstown and the base of the mountain using modern buses. This is good value and convenient for our guests, along with being a way of reducing their environmental footprint and that of our operation as a whole.
  • We encourage and facilitate carpooling amongst our staff on their days off through a dedicated social media group.


When people think of the snow sports industry and our environmental impact, the common perception is that it is our use of electricity that is our biggest negative. This is not actually the case. The vast majority of Cardrona’s power comes from a renewable source; the South Island’s hydro-electrical generation system. Having said that, we still look to reduce our electrical consumption across our operation through actions such as switching to LEDs and investing in modern, more electrically efficient plants and machinery, especially in our snowmaking and lift systems.

Predator Control

Unfortunately, we share our maunga with some furry mammals and we know that their presence has a negative effect on our environment. We have recently increased our trapping programme and have over 50 traps deployed across the resort. This project is set to increase in scale over coming years and we have engaged with landscape-level trapping experts so that we can be as effective as possible.


We have recently launched the Cardrona Valley Kārearea Project which aims to provide long-term research and conservation into New Zealand’s only endemic falcon.

We have made the recent discovery of a population of extremely rare gecko and skink species and are currently formulating a plan with DOC for the conservation of this species.

Supplier Engagement

We evaluate our partnerships with suppliers based upon their environmental performance. We look to create partnerships with like-minded companies who are making meaningful change and can demonstrate this. We write environmental clauses and conditions into our contracts and put a strong weighting on environmental factors when assessing tenders.