Introducing: Willows Basin!
In 2021 we'll be skiing and snowboarding in Soho - Willows Quad is being installed this summer!
We couldn't be more excited to announce that this winter we'll be adding another chairlift to our network. This will open up the first new major section of skiable terrain in New Zealand since we put in Valley View. Willows Basin is all go for Winter 2021!!
So where is Willows?
Willows is in Soho Ski Area, on the southern face of Mt Cardrona. It's the closest basin to the Whakatipu Basin, overlooking Queenstown. For those of you who are familiar with Cardrona, it sits below the last couple of corners on the Skyline trail - you'll be able to access it from the top of McDougall's via Skyline.
The view out there is stunning - you're facing Queenstown, and it feels like you can almost reach out and touch the Southern Alps. It's a pretty special place, and is going to make you feel like you're going on a real adventure on the mountain.
What kind of terrain is in Willows?
Willows is made up of two big bowls, with undulating intermediate terrain. It opens up 65 hectares of great skiing and snowboarding! The basin is south-facing with fantastic snow quality. The photo below was taken on October 1, 2020, showing just how long the snow holds up there.
What kind of lift is it?
So remember how we pulled out the McDougall's Quad and replaced it with the Chondola? Then sent the old lift away to Doppelmayr to get it upcycled and refurbished to modern standards? Then went to install it in Pringles and made the call to stop the project when we found some rare lizards? Well it turns out that lift fits perfectly in the Willows terrain! So we've managed to re-use the quad lift... just not as we originally planned. More lifts in Soho are planned for the future, including the main Soho express chairlift which will link the area to the top of Captain's Basin.
Putting the lift in Willows is a great solution because not only does it unlock Soho, it helps relieve some of our capacity challenges. We'll also have Valley View back this winter, which means we'll have 44% more uphill lift capacity than we did in 2020. We're over the moon about that, and hope you will be too!
The lift will take just under 6 minutes to get from the bottom to the top!
Why is it called Willows?
Willows is named after the cult classic film, Willow. Not many people are aware of this, but some of the movie was filmed up at Cardrona way back in the day! Here are a few photos given to us by Cardrona founder, Mary Lee, from behind the scenes of the shoot:
We hope you're just as excited as we are to ski and snowboard in Willows this year. If you've got any questions you can drop them into the comments below, or ask us on our social media channels. We'll see you in Willows in a few months!