The pretty town of Wanaka is where all New Zealanders secretly want to live. It has 360-degree alpine views and a lake featuring the South Island’s most photographed crooked tree (#thatwanakatree). It’s also the hometown of Winter Olympic medallists Zoi Sadowski-Synnott and Nico Porteous.
From here, your closest ski fields are Treble Cone(opens in new window) and Cardrona(opens in new window). These resorts are where serious skiers and riders come to play – including the pros who follow the snow to this part of the world so they can train all year round.
But if you’re keen to avoid crowds, you have options. Soho Basin(opens in new window), a private ski field, and a host of heliskiing providers make backcountry skiing a safe and accessible choice.
Beginners and intermediate skiers and riders don’t stop reading, there is loads here for you, too.
As far as terrain is concerned, Treble Cone is the most striking jewel in the crown. Of all the resorts in the region, it boasts the highest number of hectares and the highest proportion of black runs.
Plus – as the resort’s promoters are keen to point out – Treble Cone has the best views. Not the most important consideration when choosing a ski field, but as New Zealand is the home of spectacular scenery it is noteworthy, nonetheless.
If you’re just learning the ropes, it might pay save Treble Cone for another time and make your way to Cardrona instead. The resort has a chondola, a combined lift of gondola cabins and chairs, which is easier to alight than a chairlift. Something to bear in mind if you’re out for the first time and you want to avoid any awkward scenes at the top of the mountain.
More experienced skiers and riders, there’s plenty here for you, too. The resort has an even spread of runs graded beginner through to expert and the southern hemisphere’s only Olympic-standard superpipe. If you want to see the pros at work, catch the Winter Games(opens in new window), which take place each August.
This private ski field offers the ultimate skiing experience. By capping numbers at just a handful, it is best placed to provide the one thing skiers and riders really want: untouched power.