Treble Cone in review – A local's perspective

Courtney Tate grew up in Wanaka and has travelled NZ, Europe & North America as a junior ski racer. Find out why Courtney calls Treble Cone home.

There are three things that stick out when one thinks about Treble Cone; terrain, views and burning legs. They all go hand in hand as you get the thirst for finding the terrain, you get wowed by the views and consequently start cursing your legs for not being made of steel.

Travellers and locals alike have flocked to the TC slopes over the years to venture off into the terrain. First timers through to seasoned Wanakanites all seem to enjoy the spoils of the never ending terrain, which begs the question; what brings such a mix of people to Treble Cone?

If you ask a pack of locals why they come to Treble Cone, they will most likely respond with a phrase that implies that it should be obvious; it’s Treble Cone. The locals' love for this mountain goes hand in hand with the Wanakanite way of life of beauty in the mountains. Treble Cone offers a sense of freedom and adventure, as you will see when locals keep mysteriously disappearing from the main trails. Where do they go? They forge their own path through chutes, gullies and over precarious faces.

For most people that sounds daunting, which is where the grooming team comes into play. One thing is for sure; like the rest of the staff at TC, the groomer drivers are seriously into their job. Becoming a night owl every night to smooth out the piste for us eager snow hunters is not an un-passionate move. Every morning the piste is smoothed out making learning to carve your skis and board ever easier. Main Street is what you would call TC’s ‘flagship’ trail, particularly because you can see its ever so long vertical drop from Wanaka township. Over the years, more and more trails have been added to the arsenal. Raffils ridge is where you get an even greater sense of the infamous Treble Cone vertical whilst being distracted by the stunning views. South ridge offers a mixture of pitches and rollers all the while tempting you into the Motatapu Chutes.  These trails are for the intermediate skier who can carve up the piste and also enjoys a bit of speed, so you can say you ‘gunned it’ down Main Street.

There are a growing number of tourists to Treble Cone who start out their TC experience on the sunny slope of the learners’ platter. Treble Cone offers a free learners platter which is perfectly measured for progressive learning. I’m sure many beginners spend a happy few days being dazzled by the views of the lake before getting the urge to see what that view would look like from the top of the Home Basin’s Six Seater lift. This is where the learning really progresses. Treble Cone’s impossibly long green run ‘Easy Rider’ zig zags down the main face, offering beginner level terrain with challenging opportunities should you choose to take them. A few days mastering Easy Rider will have a beginner skier progress levels ahead of their previous ability. There has always been a saying amongst the school children learning to ski ‘Learning at Treble Cone will make you an awesome skier’, this has proved true as you can see locals who have skied at TC for years and are forever finding the next challenge to improve their ability.

Aside from the endless options for every level of skier/rider, it must be noted that the views from Treble Cone are simply spectacular. While many ski areas in New Zealand are enclosed bowls, TC has major ridgelines and faces that open out to the Southern Alps on one side and Lake Wanaka on another. Mount Aspiring, Rob Roy glacier and many glacial carved valleys and peaks can be seen by the many view points at TC. Get your tourist on and head out to the viewpoint in the Home Basin, to take in the Matukituki valley and glaciers. Alternatively, if you like to fuel up with scroggin, then hike up to Towers Ridge or Summit Ridge in the Saddle Basin and take in the New Zealand Alps!

Having so much varied terrain means there will be no bored faces, no matter how varied the abilities of those in the group. However beware; it is a long term love affair that people possess for TC and it only takes one visit to become entranced.

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