Ski Cardrona

Just 45 mins drive from Queenstown Airport or 35 mins from Wanaka, Cardrona Alpine Resort is one very cool place to visit (if you'll excuse the pun!).  It genuinely has something for everyone whether you are an absolute beginner (like me!) or an international FIS competitor; a group of teens off for an 'epic' action weekend or a family looking to play in the snow.  We promise the kids will barely stop all day and will fall asleep exhausted at night, with the words "I'm bored" completely gone from their vocabulary...

The cool factor comes from the Cardrona Parks area, which comprises 3 terrain parks and 2 half-pipes. Jumps, rails, funboxes, and an epic 22ft super pipe and Gravity X course – you want it, they have got it.

And, Cardrona has a long history of training New Zealand's best freeskiers; many of their athletes have gone on to achieve fantastic results and recognition in major events around the world.  The team at Cardrona run a series of competitive events throughout the ski season, with a line-up including kids events like The Cardrona Kids Cup and FIS World Cup competitions featuring heart stopping action - insane aerial manoeuvres and technical feats that defy logic and gravity.

Cardrona is easily the best family mountain in New Zealand, with hands down the best kids facilities - excellent terrain for developing skills and confidence, a full range of ski and snowboard lessons and even dedicated 'children only' facilities and licensed childcare buildings.  As hard as it is for an oldie like me to believe but kids start learning to ski as early as two years old in the Ski Kindy, there's a Kids Ski & Snowboard School for 5 - 14 year olds and even a High Performance Centre.  If you're heading to Cardrona for the first time with the family, do get up the mountain early on your first day before it gets too busy, it is much easier to organise yourself and your family and make sure everyone's familiar with the layout before it gets crowded.  If you're dropping the kids off at the Ski & Snowboard School, do remember to give them the chance to go to the toilet first, otherwise its a sure bet that the combination of a few nerves and the cold air will result in them needing to disappear just as its about to begin.  And, finally, make sure they have your cell phone number on them - perhaps a sticker on their helmet or a piece of paper in their pocket.

Before you even head to the mountain you can use the Interactive Trail Map on the Cardona website to figure out where you're going to head, based on your ability level. McDougals is great for beginners or to warm up and then you can head to the White Star Express, where the lift is a little quicker and the runs are pretty cool.  Captain's Pizzeria is on this side of the mountain making it easy to stop for a quick fuel break.

Speaking of food and beverages, Cardrona Alpine Resort is well catered for with five cafes with plenty of seating serving everything from great coffee and snacks to noodles or full on restaurant-style lunches. And compared with many of the other resorts of this type you don't feel like you are being fleeced.

At an altitude of 1670m at its base, Cardrona is the highest of all the ski resorts in the Queenstown area, which means it gets more snow that the other mountains and can often be the pick of the slopes if we haven't had fantastic snow falls. This is of course supplemented with snow making machinery.  Who knows what this season will bring after the great summer we've had, but if we can fit into our busy schedule it'll be Cardrona for our family this year and I think this time I'll book us all in for lessons!

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Angela Hallberg is Omega Rental cars Marketing Manager – one of New Zealand’s most trusted car hire companies.  Like Omega on Facebook or follow on Twitter @OmegaRentalCars.

Photo courtesy of Cardrona Alpine Resort

Cardrona Alpine Resort