Ask any Kiwi to choose between stomping the ski fields at Queenstown or at Wanaka and they will pick the latter every time. Why? Because the resort town, nestled on the shores of Lake Wanaka, offers some of the South Island’s best skiing without the crowds and the glitzy commercial price tag.
Indeed, as the only town in the Southern Hemisphere to receive a mention in National Geographic’s World’s 25 Best Ski Towns, Wanaka is one of New Zealand’s premier destinations to shred some powder. With five international ski areas to choose from and the largest heli-skiing area outside North America, shreddin’ the Gnar in and around Wanaka is a must for anybody looking to plan a ski trip in New Zealand.
Here are some of the excellent ski regions you need to check out when you’re in Wanaka:
Situated around 35 minutes drive south from Wanaka, Cardrona has some of the most consistent snowfall and runs in the South Island largely thanks to its south-facing location and high elevation. Cardrona is a great place for beginners to take lessons, especially on the newly redesigned runs.
That said, advanced skiers and snowboarders will want to head to Cardrona Parks, especially if you are looking for some freestyle action. With four Terrain Parks, two Halfpipes (including a 22ft Olympic Superpipe), a Big Air, and a Gravity-Cross course, the region is a mecca for freestylers.
Hosting over 550ha of wild terrain, Treble Cone is the largest ski region in the South Island and offers the longest vertical in the Southern Lakes (at 700m) as well as sweet, uncrowded trails.
Beginners can carve up the white stuff on the FREE surface lift to the ‘Nice n’ Easy’ Platter, while experienced skiers and snowboarders can take the legendary off-piste terrain of Motatapu Chutes and Saddle Basin. For those after a more spiritual experience with the mountains, Aspiring Guides has one-day guided backcountry tours that will no doubt be a memorable experience.
Like Cardrona, Treble Cone has a run, a lift and a leg burner to suit all experience levels and if you want to experience all of the slopes in the region combine both mountains to save. This pass gives you access to eight of the best ski areas in the South Island and will ensure you avoid the queues as well as protect your pennies.
Speaking of saving some cash, keep your ski trip expenses in the black by piling in the back of a Mighty Camper. Doing so can save you a tonne of dough on accommodation and transport and our campers are well equipped to handle all your gear as well as keep you toasty and warm when the stars come out.