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Your guide to choosing a lift pass this season

Check out this breakdown of all our lift passes on offer, to help you decide what pass is best for you.  

Understanding which lift passes are available to you is the key to having the best season. We’ve got you covered with this handy breakdown of all the different passes you can purchase 

Read below to understand what each lift pass means, and how to use them.

Choose Cardrona, Treble Cone, or both! 

Did you know that Cardrona Alpine Resort and Treble Cone are partners? Selected passes allow access to both mountains, whereas some of our other passes ask you to select and commit to one. It’s good to understand if you want to ski or ride at both mountains and what you get from Cardrona and TC before you make a decision on your pass.  


Cardrona is New Zealand’s favourite family resort. The perfect spot for families, first-timers, world-class athletes, and terrain park lovers alike. The terrain looks like: 

25% Beginner 

25% Intermediate 

30% Advanced 

20% Expert 

There are also five chairlifts, one pipe platter, and three conveyor lifts for beginners. Read more about Cardrona Alpine Resort.  

Treble Cone 

Treble Cone is New Zealand’s largest ski area and is perfect for those who want to take their skiing or riding to the next level. 550ha of terrain, 700m of vertical, long, and uncrowded groomed runs, awesome off-piste terrain with views to match, and consistent snow. The terrain looks like: 

10% Beginner 

30% Intermediate 

40% Advanced 

20% Expert 

There are two chairlifts and one conveyor lift for beginners. Read more about Treble Cone.  

Which lift pass is best for my ability?  

Beginners: You’re well looked after at Cardrona, and a lot of products are specifically tailored for you to learn in a safe and fun environment. If you’ve never set foot on a ski or snowboard before, we suggest getting a First Timer 1-Day Package. This bundles together a learner’s pass with a full day of lessons and rental equipment included too.  

If you’re not a complete first timer, but still a beginner, you’re likely a novice who is : 

  • Mastering the basics 
  • Skiing/riding the green runs and beginner area 

We suggest getting a learner pass, which gives you a full day access to the conveyor lifts at Cardrona, plus one trip on McDougall’s Chondola to the top of the mountain 

If you’re determined to progress throughout the season, a pass that gives you access to the whole of Cardrona will be more useful. Check out the multi-day pass. 

Intermediate: is someone who’d describe themselves as: 

  • Skiing/riding blue runs 
  • Improving skills 
  • Exploring new terrain 

Depending on how much time you have to ski or snowboard, you can’t go wrong with a day or multi-day pass. It will ask you to select the mountain you’ll use your pass at, Cardrona or Treble Cone, so you should think about what kind of skier or snowboarder you are.  

If you’re into parks, wide groomed runs and steady progression, Cardrona is for you. 

If you’re into steeps, chutes, off-piste, and challenging yourself, Treble Cone might be more up your street.  

Advanced: Real keen on skiing or snowboarding? You might describe yourself as: 

  • Skiing/riding red/black runs 
  • Sharpening skills on varied terrain and conditions 

The pass we recommend for you is a flexi 5-day. It allows you to use your 5 days at any point in the season and at both mountains, so you can explore everything. 

If you’re expecting to go hard all season, and ski/ride more than 7 days, an unlimited season pass will suit you. Unlimited skiing or riding, all season long, at both Cardrona and Treble Cone. The ultimate unlock to the Lakes District skiing!  

How can I save money on a lift pass? 

If you’ve decided on a day or multi-day pass, you should buy online, ahead of time, to make sure you secure the day you want to visit, as well as save up to $25/day. The more popular and busy the day is, the more expensive the day or multi-day pass will become, and may even sell out.  

If you wait to buy your pass when you get to the mountain on the day, you’ll be paying for the most expensive option, and you won’t be guaranteed a spot. 

Visit our booking page to see live availability throughout the season. 

Visiting Cardrona or Treble Cone in the school holidays  

Some people know it as a “blackout period” and others know it as the peak season period. We know it as the most popular time to ski or ride, the NZ and Aus school holidays, which is June 26 - July 14, 2023 

Day and multi-day passes are likely to cost more the closer we get to this period, and will sell out. We recommend buying in advance and online to avoid the disappointment of missing out.  

If you have already purchased an earlybird multi-day pass or a saver season pass, your passes will not work during this peak period, June 26 - July 14, 2023. 

The different lift pass options 

Day pass 

What: One pre-selected day up one mountain! A full day of fun, opening hours are 8 am – 4 pm. 

Where: The pass is valid to use at one mountain, and you choose Cardrona or Treble Cone when you book the pass.  

How much: Prices start online at $160 for an adult, and $83 for a child. If you wait to buy on the day, on the mountain, you’ll be paying the most for that pass. We recommend buying early and online to save money. You’ll see with high-demand dates, the price of the day pass will increase 

Why: A day pass is great for those looking to try out Cardrona or Treble Cone, or here for a short time. You can purchase a day pass any day or time within the season, but popular days will sell out, such as the peak season period during the Aus & NZ school holidays, June 26 - July 14, 2023. Book early and online to avoid disappointment! 

Who: Families wanting to try something new, locals, tourists visiting town for a short time 

Level: Novices to experts 

Day pass

Buy now and save

Multi-day pass 

What: A multiple-day pass to use in a pre-selected window of dates 

Where: The pass is valid to use at one mountain, and you choose Cardrona or Treble Cone when you book the pass. 

How much: Prices start online from $112 per day for an adult and $53 per day for a child. This pass saves you more money the more days you book, so if you’re on the fence about how much you’ll ski or ride, being safe and booking more days in a single transaction will save you money in the long run. Plus, buying online will save you up to $25 per day on top. 

Why: The pass is semi-flexible in that it allows you to use your pass in pre-selected window of dates, to account for rest and poor weather days. The more days you buy in one transaction, the larger the window is to use them in.   

Example: If you purchase a 2-day pass, you will have a 3-day window to use it in, starting from your selected start date. 

Here’s a breakdown that tells you the number of days in your pass against the window to use them in.

Multi-day pass 

“Window” of days to ski or ride, starting from your selected start date  

2 day pass 

3 day window to ski or ride 

3 day pass 

5 day window to ski or ride 

4 day pass  

7 day window to ski or ride 

5 day pass 

8 day window to ski or ride 

6 day pass 

9 day window to ski or ride 

7 day pass 

11 day window to ski or ride 

Who: This pass works well for those who want to ski or ride multiple days at once mountain. It works best for those who know when they want to ski or ride. Such as families and tourists on holiday, or locals wanting to make the most of the school holidays. 

Level: First timers to advanced.

Multi-day pass

Buy now and save

Flexi 5-day pass 

What: A 5-day pass. Use your days nonconsecutively and at any time in the season. 

Where: Valid to use at both mountains. 

How much: Only available to purchase online, it will cost $720 for an adult and $350 for a child. That works out as $144 per day for an adult and $70 per day for a child. Though it costs $160 more than the cheapest 5-day multi-pass, you’re gaining flexibility to use your pass on both mountains most popular days, even if ski passes sell out in the peak season period, June 26 - July 14, 2023. 

Why: This pass is super flexible and allows you to spread your 5 days across the season. It’s great for using spontaneously. Use this pass from the most popular day to the quietest one.  

Who: Those who want flexibility to use their pass whenever in the season. This might suit skiers or riders living in the region who know they won’t go up the mountain more than 5 times over the season. Holidaymakers who are visiting longer and don’t want to use their pass in one burst.  

Level: First timers to advanced 

Flexi 5 day pass

Buy online only

Unlimited season pass 

What: All the skiing and riding you can get, all season long. If you’re planning on skiing more than 7 days this season, this pass is for you.  

Where: Valid to use at both Cardrona and Treble Cone. If you’re a comfortable skier or rider we recommend using your pass at both mountains to experience it all!  

How much: An adult season pass is $1649 and costs $549 for a child. In-season is the highest price point for purchasing a season pass. Save more next season and buy early to get the best price.  

Why: If you know that winter, for you, is skiing or riding as much as possible, then a season pass is a necessity. With ultimate flexibility, this pass can be used on the most popular days, even when ski passes are sold out in the peak season period, June 26 - July 14, 2023. 

Who: Locals who will spend their winter up the mountains. Visitors that want to spend the whole of the NZ and Aus School Holidays up both Cardrona and Treble Cone.  

Level: First timer to advanced. Great for progression! 

Sightseeing pass 

What: A single uplift in a gondola cabin on McDougall’s Chondola  

Where: Cardrona only 

How much: $40 for an adult single uplift and $29 for a child. 

Why: The views at the top of Cardrona aren’t just for skiers or riders, you can hop in a gondola cabin on the McDougall’s Chondola, take in the views at the top of the mountain, find the picturesque Cardrona Swing and maybe even indulge in a mountain-top drink at the Vista Bar too. 

Who: Those who still enjoy the snow and sights but perhaps can’t ski or snowboard. 

Level: N/A 

Sightseeing pass

Buy sightseeing pass

Learners Pass 

What: A full day pass valid for the beginner’s area and learner conveyor uplifts at Cardrona. Plus, one uplift on McDougall’s Chondola to the top of the mountain (and this can be used at any point in the day).  

Where: Cardrona only 

How much: $86 for an adult and $58 for a child.  

Why: If you’re a beginner, you might not need access to the whole mountain right away. Getting the hang of skiing and riding in the beginner’s area is what some guests want from their time at Cardrona, so there’s a specific pass just for you. If you’re a complete first timer, bundle your pass with a full day of lessons and rental equipment and grab a First Timer Package.  

Who: Those who will be getting the hang of skiing or snowboarding all day and want a relaxed learning environment.  

Level: First timers and novices 

Learner's pass

Buy learners pass

About the Author

Eleanor Stephens