Cardrona Alpine Resort

Take lessons on the baby slopes, tear up fresh power at a higher elevation or attempt daring stunts in the terrain parks at this popular mountain resort.

When the air is crisp and the snow fresh, Cardona Alpine Resort is a winter sports enthusiast’s dream. On-mountain accommodation will put you close to the action, letting you ski or snowboard right out onto its 850 acres (3.5 square kilometers) of skiable terrain. Test out the nursery slopes, practice flips, spins and slides in the four terrain parks, or tackle the challenging backcountry runs.

Novice skiers can get started on the beginner slopes by the resort center. This area also incorporates the longest magic-carpet lift in the Southern Hemisphere. Book in for a lesson at the ski school and learn the basics of gliding on the snow. With plenty of green-rated slopes nearby, first-time riders will find they make rapid progress.

Advanced riders will find more demanding terrain around the mountain. Speed down narrow shoots and steep faces or carve your own path on freeride terrain. Four terrain parks offer jumps and jibs of different heights so all abilities of riders can get in on the action. Be sure to check out the Olympic-standard halfpipe. If you don’t fancy performing tricks yourself, stand back and observe as some of the best riders from around the world execute incredible aerial spins.

Cardona Alpine Resort has five different dining options on the mountain, should you want to break for lunch or a snack. Eat pizza on a wide sunny deck with views of the mountain or watch other riders cruising past as you savour hot noodles at a restaurant on the slopes.

The ski season usually runs from mid-June to mid-October. Stay in lodgings on the mountain. Alternatively, ride a bus or drive from nearby Queenstown or Wanaka. Driving from Queenstown will take over an hour, while the car journey from Wanaka takes less than 30 minutes.

Cardona Alpine Resort has several combination package options covering lift passes, equipment rental and lessons. If you’re staying outside the resort, arrange for overnight storage so you can leave your ski gear there.