Cardrona opens early this weekend after a series of snowfalls have left the South Island favourite with a 90cm base as of 28 May!
Cardrona is opening for skiing and snowboarding this coming weekend in a pre-season teaser before official Opening Day on June 16.

Cardrona opens early
Cardrona May 28 © Mark Crichton/Cardrona

Last week Cardrona received over 90cm of natural snow, with cool temperatures allowing the resort’s snowmaking team to make significant amounts of snow on top of that total. The snowfall from last week was the latest in a string of storms this year, with large snowfalls on the mountain every month in 2018 except for January.

The McDougall’s Chondola, the Beginners’ Area and The Lounge will be open from 8.30am through till 4pm both weekend days, weather-dependent. Lessons and rentals will also be available.

“We’re so stoked to share this early snowfall with everyone in the region this weekend by opening for a couple of days pre-season,” says Cardrona General Manager, Bridget Legnavsky.
“We’ve been absolutely frothing to get out skiing and snowboarding when it’s looking this good – and it’s amazing to be able to bring all our guests up to get their fix too.”

After the weekend’s skiing and snowboarding, the resort will resume preparations for the official Opening Day on June 16. This includes completion of the Base Café and Mezz renovations, and staff training for over 600 staff who are due to arrive on June 11.

Guests with season passes are encouraged to pick up their RFID cards from the Wanaka or Queenstown offices before Saturday. Day passes will be available for purchase in advance from 20 Helwick St, Wanaka and 37 Camp St, Queenstown, as well as on-mountain on Saturday and Sunday.

Cardrona opens early
Looking down to the Whietstar lift at Cardrona May 28 ©Mark Crichton/Cardrona

In the South Island Cardrona experienced its biggest ever year with visitor days eclipsing 300,000 for the first time. After being acquired by tourism giant Real Journeys there has been a multi-million dollar investment, headlined by the amazing $NZD 10 million McDougall’s Express Chondola opened in 2017. This combo lift of gondola cabins & 6 seat chairs is the first cabin-style lift on a ski area in New Zealand.
The Chondola increased uphill capacity by 150%, which means it reduces queues on the other mountain lifts. Combined with the carpet lifts it makes Cardrona arguably the best place to start to ski/board in Australasia, never mind New Zealand. Cardrona also added base facility upgrades and improvements in terrain, carparking and snowmaking.
Another factor in their success has to be the great food – we rated the Mezz Cafe there our favourite, and the fish tacos the pick of the menu! The historic Cardrona Hotel at the bottom of the access road is ideal for some apres and an early dinner too.

Eating at Mezz Cafe Cardrona
Best on mountain food in NZ? Cardona’s Mezz Cafe rules! © Owain Price