The locals. Seeing the sun rising over Lake Wanaka for the first time. Dropping into Arcadia Chutes. The Big Al from Ferburger. The moguls in Last Shot bowl. Visiting AJ Hackett – the home of bungee jumping. Playing on the natural features in Captain’s Basin. Sitting next to Jossi Well’s on the chairlift. Jug-fine night at HQ bar. Apartment-hopping at the Belvedere. Kicking back on a sofa at Cinema Paradiso. Standing in the Olympic Superpipe and looking up the walls. Jet-boating on the Shotaway River. The luge in Queenstown. Watching the world’s best at the Burton Open at Cardrona. The views from Cardrona into South Lake Valley. Knowing that this resort has the biggest freestyle park in the southern hemisphere. And just everything about Wanaka. And New Zealand.
The hills in New Zealand may not be able to boast the superlative credentials of their peers in Europe and North America but, between the months of June and October, New Zealand offers the best skiing & snowboarding in the world and, with 1000 skiable acres spread over three south-facing bowls, Cardrona is the best in New Zealand!
With terrain broken down as 25% beginner/ 50% intermediate/ 25% expert, Cardies is the ideal location for an instructor training course. The mellower terrain is perfect for practicing your teaching drills and cutting your teeth as a Level 1 instructor, the intermediate terrain is best-suited for nailing your carving and working on your Level 2 instructor training and the expert terrain is required to push your skiing and snowboarding to new levels. Captain's Basin has some nice natural features for you to play around in, Arcadia Chutes is where you head to test your skills on the steeps and if you want to ride pow, Tulips has the best hidden stashes!
Video credit: Cardrona resort
Where Cardrona can compete against any resort in either hemisphere is where its freestyle park is concerned. Or, rather, its four freestyle parks: Big Bucks Park, Stag Lane, Antlers Alley and Lil’ Bucks Park. Big Bucks is where it’s at and where the world’s best freestylers spend their southern winter. With an extra-large triple line ranging from 50ft to 70ft and a whole bunch of technical jib features, this is the biggest park in the southern hemisphere. Stag Lane has medium to large features (2 jumps and 14 jib features), Antler’s Alley has medium features (3 jumps and 5 jib features) and Lil’ Bucks has small features (4 jumps and 4 jib features).
As well as four freestyle parks, Cardies has an International Pipe with 12-14ft walls, a 22ft Olympic Superpipe (same size as X Games and Winter Olympics), the Cardrona Big Air - an 85ft monster table - and the Cardrona Gravity Cross, a skier-/ boarder-cross circuit with sweepers, rollers, jumps & road gaps. Enough to keep you occupied?
It is in the range of off-snow activities that SnowSkool New Zealand stands head and shoulders above all other SnowSkool courses and indeed all other courses out there.
Super cool cinema (Cinema Paradiso)
Bar crawls & nightclubs
Avalanche awareness talks
Ski & snowboard tuning workshop
Winter first aid training
And if you fancy heading a little further afield ...
Trips to other resorts:
Watch the All Blacks
Wanaka offers plenty of variety for a night on the tiles. The town, which is a 250m walk from the SnowSkool apartments, has over forty bars, pubs, lounges and nightclubs offering everything from a quiet drink overlooking the lake to packing out the dancefloor to big-name DJs and live bands. The town also hosts a leg of the New Zealand jelly-wrestling tour which has, in the past, been won by a female SnowSkool student! Participation is, of course, entirely optional...
The SnowSkool weekend trip to Queenstown is also worthy of special mention. The days involve bungee jumping, sky diving, jet-boating, luge, toboganning, bungee-swings and much more. And you will just as busy in the evenings with dinner, drinks, bars, chatting (-up), dancing, nightclubs and…well…I am sure you get the picture!