Cardrona Lifts & Terrain

Our Terrain Ratings

Powderhound rating = advanced/expert terrain + powder + freshies + uncrowded

Our Terrain Ratings

Powderhound rating = advanced/expert terrain + powder + freshies + uncrowded
    Treble Cone Trail Map
  • Vertical (m)
    1,260 - 1,860 (600)
  • Average Snow Fall
     2.9 metres
  • Lifts (9)
    1 Chondola
    2 High Speed Quads
    2 Quads
  • Ski Hours
    9:00am to 4:00pm
    Early June to Mid October
  • Terrain Summary
    Size – 400 ha
    Expert - 20%
    Advanced - 30%
    Intermediate - 25%
    Beginner - 25%

Cardrona Ski Resort Terrain

The main part of the Cardrona ski resort terrain is spread across three southeast facing bowls or zones, each serviced by a quad chairlift. The above timber line terrain is well suited to beginners, intermediates and shredders, and advanced riders will find enough off-piste terrain to keep them happy for a few days.

New for 2010 was the Valley View quad chair that extended the vertical drop to 600 metres and the resort size to 345 hectares. This area is at lower elevation than the existing part of the resort, so it’s sometimes not open and it relies heavily on snow-making.

Cardrona Lifts

Cardrona has 2 express quad chairs, 2 quad fixed grip chairs, 3 magic carpet learners’ lifts, and 1 platter beginner lift. The placement of the chairlifts is reasonably good, although if you’re playing in the Arcadia Chutes area there is a reasonably long cat track to get back to the lift which gets a little tedious and repetitive. 

Cardrona New Zealand is a rather popular ski field, so long lift queues can develop, even on weekdays.

Cardrona Snow Conditions

Cardrona ski resort only receives 2.7 metres of snowfall annually but it retains the snow pretty well considering the southeast aspect. In comparison, Treble Cone gets a lot more snow than Cardrona (5.5m per season) and the top elevation is a thousand metres higher, but the TC aspect is warm and the snow is more prone to melting than at Cardrona.

Cardrona has snowmaking facilities on the main trails to supplement the snow that Mother Nature provides.

Ski Cardrona - For the Beginner

Cardrona New Zealand is incredibly well set up for beginners so it scores 5 out of 5 from us. All green terrain is within view of the base area and there are nicely stepped progressions. Absolute novices can start in the very gentle terrain serviced by the magic carpets, then progress onto the platter lift and then onto Macdougall’s quad. Apart from the park riders, this area is dedicated to beginners so you can learn in relative peace.

Confident beginners can take a really long run down Shaun’s Way across to the Captain’s Café and along the Comeback trail.

Intermediate Skiing and Snowboarding

Cardrona doesn’t quite have the fall line ripping blue runs that a few NZ ski resorts have, but with a large proportion of the terrain dedicated to intermediates, Cardrona suits the blue runners pretty well. Prior to 2010 Cardrona ski resort didn’t have the vertical of other ski resorts so there weren’t any long runs for racing, although the new terrain has extended the Goldrush Downhill trail adequately to get the quads burning a little.

For the Family/Kids

In addition to the great beginners terrain and fenced off kids’ areas, Cardrona has the Fonterra Funzone that has groomed rollers and a tunnel for a bit of fun. The Playzone terrain park is also great for kids as an introduction to jibs.

Terrain Parks & Pipes

Cardrona does well to compete hard with the nearby Snowpark. It has up to three halfpipes including an Olympic sized superpipe, as well as a scary big jump used for competition. Cardrona has 4 terrain parks to cater for different ability (or confidence) levels, and there is also a challenging boardercross course.

Cardrona Ski Resort - Advanced Riders

Captain’s Basin has really interesting terrain features with lumps, bumps, and rock bands – lots of off-piste places for advanced riders to explore. Pick a line and go for it, but take care as none of the cliffs or small drops are marked.

The Arcadia Chutes area is also a bit of fun because there are lots of different rock features and a decent bit of pitch . The degree of challenge here really depends on the amount of snow cover. This area can also be testing for low-end advanced riders in low visibility because the trails aren’t marked.

Expert Ski and Snowboard Terrain

Some of the lines in the Arcadia Chutes area have short steep pitches for experts only, although the main challenge is when the chutes become tight due to a lack of snow cover. There are some drop-offs but perhaps save these for good visibility days.

For the Powderhound

Cardrona is not really the best powderhound mountain, partly because powder days are not common enough or deep enough.