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Ski Touring

WILLOW'S TERRAIN:


Previously an uncontrolled backcountry area, Willow's Terrain was developed in 2021 with a new chairlift and is now within the Cardrona Alpine Resort ski area boundary. This area is considered 'Closed, in-bounds terrain' until officially opened to the public. If you are returning from Soho Basin, make sure to re-enter somewhere on the GREEN line. Entering Willow's Terrain and skinning back to Carpark B may place you in closed terrain. Note that uphill traffic is only permitted on Thompson's Track.


CARPARK B ACCESS:


To access the backcountry from Cardrona, please use the designated route highlighted in blue on the map. This safety corridor begins at the bottom of Carpark B, near the avalanche danger sign, and follows ‘Thompson’s Track’. This trackpacked route for Cardrona vehicles runs parallel to the Skyline ski run on the Queenstown side of the wind fence. Please do not skin on Skyline, as it is a busy green run.


THOMPSON'S TRACK:

When travelling on Thompson's Track (the blue line on the map), please keep in mind:

  • This is an operational access road with regular traffic from groomers, snowmobiles, and Can-Ams from both Cardrona and the Soho Cat Skiing operation.
  • This track is within Willow’s terrain. Be aware of downhill skiers and always maintain visibility.
  • This is the only area where uphill traffic is allowed. Access to Soho is exclusively via Thompson's.

AVALANCHE CONTROL WORK:

Willow’s Terrain (red on the map) requires ongoing avalanche control work by the Cardrona Ski Patrol team. This includes using explosives, which may restrict access to Soho Basin. A flip sign at Thompson's entrance will indicate if the route is OPEN or CLOSED. Respect these signs, as they are updated daily based on control work completion.

AFTER HOURS:

If using Thompson's Track outside of operational hours (before 8:30 am and after 4 pm), wear hi-vis vests and a headtorch. Groomers and snowmobiles use this track around the clock. During opening hours (8:30 am - 4 pm), you can ski through the resort with a valid Cardrona lift pass. After 4 pm, use only Thompson's Track to return to Carpark B. This ensures our groomers, maintenance staff, and Patrol are aware of your location, and no one is missed during resort sweeps. Post-4 pm, groomers using winch cables and staff on skidoos and Can-Ams pose significant hazards. Thompson’s is your safe corridor back to your vehicle.


SOHO Basin:

The main back bowl, Soho Basin, is awesome intermediate and advanced skiing, spanning an area of 150ha of terrain. Soho is joining the Cardrona terrain in 2025 with a new chairlift that will be installed over the summer. This means the Soho Basin area will not be accessible as backcountry terrain next winter. Until then, Cardrona encourages compliance with the existing rules to maintain public access. Complete the registration and assumption of risk/liability form before entering this terrain.

We appreciate your cooperation and love catching up with everyone before they head out on their adventure. Please visit Patrol for a chat or call us with any queries.

Here’s a link to the Federated Mountain Club's Backcountry Touring Access Guidelines, created by the FMC and the NZAC.

Happy touring from the Cardrona Ski Patrol!

 

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