Treble Cone Lifts & Terrain

    Treble ConeTrail Map
  • Vertical (m)
    1,260 - 1,960 (700)
  • Average Snow Fall
    5.5 metres
  • Lifts (4)
    1 High Speed 6-pack
    1 High Speed Quad
    1 Platter
    1 Magic Carpet
  • Ski Hours
    9:00am to 4:00pm
    Late June to Late Sept
  • Terrain Summary
    Longest run – 4 km
    Advanced - 45%
    Intermediate - 45%
    Beginner - 10%

Treble Cone Ski Field Terrain

The Treble Cone Ski Field has the largest skiable terrain and the highest vertical rise of the South Island ski fields, and Treblecone is one of our favourite ski destinations in New Zealand.

The Treble Cone ski field is impressive, particularly the terrain for advanced and expert riders. As to be expected for New Zealand skiing, Treblecone is above the tree-line, so off-piste skiing opportunities are plentiful within chutes, bowls, gullies and natural half-pipes. The mountain is steep, but winding runs have been carved out so that there is terrain to suit all ability levels.

Lifts

The Treble Cone ski field is spread over three large basins. Home Basin at the base of the resort is serviced by the very speedy 6-person chair lift, whilst a slow quad chair services the Saddle Basin. The Motatapu Basin consists of double-black runs, and is accessible from the top of the Saddle Basin, although most of the chutes require a hike to get back to the lift. Even though Treblecone only has 4 lifts (two of which are beginner lifts), they have been reasonably well planned and provide an incredible number of skiing options. The lifts are reasonably efficient and lift queues are generally a non-issue on the 6-pack. Sometimes on busy weekend, queues can develop on the top chair.

The major limitation of the Treblecone lift lay-out is that some of the ski areas at the top and bottom become a bit repetitive as you need to travel or traverse to get to the runs furthest away from the lifts. The other disadvantage is that it’s impossible to hide from your ex-wife!

Treble Cone Lift Tickets

Prices for one day passes are high, but there are discounts for families and kids under 6 ski free, whilst all lift tickets to the beginners’ area are free. There is a Flexi-pass for multi-day use that can be used at Treble Cone or Cardrona, but there aren't huge advantages to committing to this versus buying as you go.

A backcountry lift pass is offered, which provides 3 rides (x1 on Home Basin Express Chairlift and 2 x rides on the Saddle Basin) and it is not as cheap as you’d hope.

Treble Cone Snow

By NZ standards, Treble Cone ski field is renowned for a decent amount of snowfall with an average of 5.5 metres annually. Like other NZ ski resorts, the amount of snowfall varies significantly between seasons depending on the storm patterns. TC tends to get dumps from north-westerlies and westerlies, and very little precipitation from southerlies.

The powder that falls is far from blower powder, but it is pretty good for NZ. Treble Cone ski area has a variety of aspects so the snow quality varies. Unfortunately some of the best expert terrain is north facing, so you’ve got to hit it quickly on a powder day before the sun bakes it. Sure you have to pick your day, but at times there are some amazing powder runs. The topography of Treble Cone ski area provides many areas to catch the snow, rather than it blowing away as occurs at some resorts.

Like most other NZ ski fields, the Treble Cone snow cover can be highly variable. Sometimes the snow cover is good whilst at other times the lower half of the mountain (Home Basin) is sketchy and only has manmade snow on the main trails (which often seems to be counted in the snow depth report!). The patrollers don’t necessarily provide signage to indicate marginal (or bare) conditions, so keep your eyes peeled. Snowmaking capabilities cover about 9% of the terrain.

Grooming is limited to only the main trails such as Easy Rider and Main Street, the beginners’ area and a couple of trails around the perimeter of Saddle Basin.

Treble Cone Skiing - Beginners

Treble Cone has a reputation for being inappropriate for beginners. Only 10% of the terrain is rated as “green” but this is more than enough for most beginners; well for novices anyway.

The purpose built beginners’ area near the base is fenced off from the main skiing area and features a very gentle slope on which to learn. It is serviced by a 25m magic carpet and the Nice ‘N’ Easy Platter lift. The next progression for confident beginners is the Easy Rider run off the top of the 6-person chair lift that snakes its way down to the base.

The inexpensive learner packages and the free beginner lift tickets also make TC attractive for novice skiers and snowboarders.

Ski Treble Cone - Intermediates

There are several intermediate runs at Treble Cone ski field for intermediate skiers and snowboarders, accessible from both the quad chair and the 6-person express lift. The ski area is probably not well suited to low end intermediates as the groomers are steep and often fast. Considering the lift efficiency, you’ll get a huge amount of skiing in each day. A nice long run is from Upper High Street all the way down into Home Basin, providing 4.5km of thigh burn.

Terrain Park

Treble Cone has a little terrain park catering for advanced riders to beginners, which is situated in the Saddle Basin at the end of the Bullet run. Excavation works have enabled the park to open from the early part of the season. The park is somewhat limited, so shredders seeking lots of freestyle variety will be better off at The Remarkables or Cardrona. On the plus side, the natural terrain of Treble Cone offers lots of hits such as ledges and half-pipes.

Advanced Snowboarding and Skiing

Advanced runs are the absolute strength of the Treble Cone ski area. The black runs at TC are typically more difficult than those at most other resorts in NZ or Australia. Many of them are both steep and narrow. Great areas include Powder Bowl in the Home Basin and the chutes above it, and Saddle Basin is an advanced rider’s dream with lots of lines to choose from along ridges and gullies that catch the powder and produce some nice stashes. Those on the skiers’ right are steep, and the gradient progressively diminishes as you move across to the skiers’ left.

If you follow Upper High Street you’ll get to several chutes which lead to Gun Barrel and Sundance. If the snow is icy (or marginal) these runs can be quite dangerous for the inexperienced rider due to their steepness.

Off the express chair, head along Expressway and drop into Solitude, Farout and Outer Limits. Because the 6-pack chair is so fast and there are negligible lift lines, you can get back up to the top almost as fast as you can ski down. By the end of a day (or lunchtime!) your legs should be very weary!

Expert Skiing & Boarding

Although not super extreme, Treble Cone ski resort provides a few good challenges for expert riders. The terrain is extremely variable and is relatively steep wherever you go. From the Saddle Quad Chairlift, turn left at the top (skiers right), staying high until you enter the control gates of the backcountry area of Motatapu Basin. Here you will find some of the steepest and most challenging chutes in New Zealand. These areas can be extremely dangerous and prone to avalanches, so always obey the signs (if there are any!) and only ski these areas with the appropriate back-country essentials. For the inner chutes a traverse is required to return to the quad chair, whilst the outer chutes will require a 15-20 minute hike. And if you get carried away with the moment and ski below the quad chair, it will be a really long walk/skin back!

Treble Cone Backcountry

There are also other side-country areas around the resort that can be accessed with a bit of a walk/skin. These include the summit (about 30 minutes) and Tim’s Table above the Saddle Quad.

The best way to explore the Treble Cone backcountry is to head out with Aspiring Guides.