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Visitor reviews for Cardrona Ski Resort

Cardrona Ratings

Overall: 3.6. Based on 22 votes and 22 reviews. Vote

Snowsure: 3.9

(1) Occasionally gets enough snow for skiing, (2) is often closed due to a lack of snow, (3) occasionally suffers from a lack of snow, (4) rarely suffers from a lack of snow, (5) Cardrona is snowsure even in the poorest seasons.

Variety of pistes: 3.8

(1) The ski runs are featureless and unvaried, (3) the ski runs are varied but not extensive enough for a week, (5) Cardrona has diverse and interesting pistes including forests and high alpine terrain.

Off-piste: 3.2

(1) No off-piste worth mentioning, (2) off piste is out-of-bounds, (3) some varied offpiste that stays fresh for one or two days, (5) a vast array of off-piste routes that can stay untracked for several days.

Scenery: 4.4

(1) An ugly resort in a bland setting, (3) average mountain views and resort, (5) a spectacular setting and a beautiful / historic resort town.

Access: 4.3

(1) At least one overnight stop, (2) requires a whole day, (3) requires more than half a day – you may have time for a few turns (4) arrive by lunchtime and ski all afternoon, (5) there is a main airport within an hour of Cardrona.

Public Transport: 4.0

(1) There are no buses or taxis to Cardrona, (3) there are slow or infrequent buses / trains available, (5) getting to the resort is easy with frequent bus / train connections.

Accommodation: 3.1

(1) No places to stay in/near Cardrona, (3) a few places to stay in the resort, (5) a wide variety of accommodation suitable to suit all budgets.

Cheap Rooms: 2.6

(1) No budget accommodation available, (3) just one or two hostels so book ahead, (5) several cheap hostels and pensions available.

Luxury Hotels: 3.2

(1) No luxury accommodation available, (3) just one or two luxury hotels so book ahead, (5) several up-market hotels in Cardrona.

Ski in/Ski out: 3.8

(1) The ski area is located far from any accommodation, (3) a free ski bus takes you to the ski area in a short trip, (5) Ski-in ski-out accommodation is available.

Childcare: 4.6

(1) There are no child care facilities at Cardrona, (5) the resort has excellent child-care facilities including at least one reasonably priced creche.

Snowmaking: 3.8

(1) Cardrona relies entirely on natural snow, (3) there are just a few snow cannons, (5) there are snowmaking facilities on all pistes.

Snow Grooming: 4.7

(1) There are no snow groomers at Cardrona, (3) occasionally some pistes are left ungroomed and in a poor state, (5) all the runs at Cardrona are groomed daily.

Shelter: 2.6

(1) there is nowhere to ski when it is windy or visibility is bad and lifts often shut, (3) there are some trees for poor visibility but main lifts sometimes close, (5) Cardrona is mostly in forest where you can ski in flat-light and windy days, lifts rarely close.

Nearby options: 3.1

(1) If snow conditions are poor at Cardrona, it will be poor everywhere nearby, (3) there are good alternatives within an hours drive, (5) other locations on the same lift pass provide a rich variety of snowsure ski conditions.

Regional rating: 4.4

(1) Cardrona usually has poor snow conditions compared to other resorts in region, (3) has average conditions for the region, (5) usually has the best snow conditions in the region.

Lift Staff: 4.7

(1) The staff at Cardrona are rude or unhelpful, (5) lift staff at Cardrona are pleasant, cheerful and eager to help.

Crowds/Queues: 3.3

(1) the resort is always busy and there are usually long lift queues, (3) it is quiet apart from occasional weekends and school holidays, (5) it is uncrowded and lift queues are very rare.

Ski Schools: 4.6

(1) No ski schools available, (2) one or two ski schools but local language only, (3) a few ski schools but book early for multi-lingual instructors, (4) plenty of ski schools and multi-lingual instructors available, (5) excellent ski schools with friendly multi-lingual ski instructors.

Hire and Repairs: 4.3

(1) Nothing can be sourced, not even ski-wax or ptex. (3) there are some ski shops but rentals need to be booked in advance, (5) good quality ski equipment can be purchased or hired and overnight repairs are possible.

Beginners: 4.3

(1) Beginners can only watch others ski and snowboard, (3) a few gentle slopes but beginners will get bored in less than a week, (3) Vast areas of gentle terrain.

Intermediates: 4.6

(1) No intermediate terrain at Cardrona, (3) intermediate skiers will get bored after a few days, (5) vast areas of cruising runs.

Advanced: 3.5

(1) Nothing for advanced skiers and snowboarders, (3) enough steep terrain for a few days with some good offpiste, (5) Enough steep terrain and offpiste areas to entertain advanced skiers for at least a week.

Snow Park: 4.6

(1) Not even a kicker at Cardrona, (3) average sized park quite well looked after, (5) huge park area and expertly crafted pipes, jumps and boardercross trails.

Cross-country: 2.4

(1) There is nowhere to go for cross-country skiing around Cardrona, (3) there are some cross country trails available, (5) the area features many spectacular and well maintained cross-country trails.

Luge/Toboggan: 1.7

(1) No designated luge or toboggan runs, (3) there are toboggan runs that open quite often, (5) Cardrona has long and well maintained luge / toboggan facilities suitable for all ages.

Mountain Dining: 3.9

(1) Nowhere to buy food by the pistes, (3) some places to eat up on the mountain but they are often busy and expensive, (5) there is a variety of excellent mountain eateries right next to the slopes to suit all budgets.

Eating: 3.7

(1) Bring your own food, there isn't even a shop. (5) A wide variety of places to eat and drink in the resort, from fast food to fancy restaurants.

Apres-Ski: 3.1

(1) Nothing to do, not even a bar, (3) there are a few bars in the resort but nothing special, (5) clubs and bars stay open until very late and have a friendly atmosphere.

Other Sports: 1.9

(1) No sports facilities at all apart from ski lifts, (3) resort has just a small public swimming pool, (5) resort has all kinds of sports facilities, including a full-size swimming pool.

Entertainment: 2.5

(1) Besides the snow and walking there is nothing to do here, (3) the non-skier will find things to do for few days but may become bored after a week, (5) the resort area is a fascinating place to visit, regardless of winter sports.

Winter Walks: 2.2

(1) Very limited walking and no snowshoe trails, (3) a couple of designated scenic walking/snowshoe trails, (5) extensive and diverse winter walking trails for all abilities.

Ski Pass Value: 3.6

(1) A 1 week ski pass is overpriced compared to the number of lifts available, (3) the ski pass is averagely priced and covers a reasonable number of lifts, (5) ski passes are excellent value for money and cover a lot of lifts spanning a big area.

Value (National): 3.9

(1) Overall, Cardrona is one of the most expensive ski resorts in the country and not worth the money, (3) overall represents average value for money, (5) overall offers the best value resort in the country.

Value (Global): 3.6

(1) Overall, Cardrona is one of the most expensive ski resorts in the world, (3) overall it offers pretty average value for money compared to resorts from other countries, (5) internationally the resort offers excellent value for money.

Show all 35 ratings

February 10, 2009
Rob Baxter from Ski Canada Canada
There is really no need to skip New Zealand if you are a keen skier/snowboarder.
November 11, 2008
anthony from Ski France France
Ok everyone, Cardrona: it's not the biggest ski resort in New Zealand with massive snowfalls but it's a very nice little ski resort and I've had good time skiing there. Some people expect to get super freeride with lots of powder no, stop, if you want that get heliski on Mount Cook or go to Japan. For me Cardrona has been excellent!
August 10, 2008
James Perry from Ski Australia Australia
Come on Stuart, the runs were so short it ruins it. Perhaps if you had fast lifts that could make up for it, but the poor lift system with the tiny runs makes for an average experience. And I've just been and we've had awesome snow. I was still very frustrated. You never even get out of breath. Great place for a weekend warrior, but if you are a keen skier/boarder then skip NZ.
July 15, 2008
stuart from Ski France France
Get it in perspective.......all of you. Cardrona is a great LITTLE ski resort and the season I worked there had a frustratingly late start. Nevertheless once it got going the best was made of the snow. The same situation affects all the alpine resorts as well and the 2006/7 season was non existent in the resorts below 1400 meters in the European Alps. The major difference between NZ and the Alps is the length of downhill descent. In Alpe d'Huez we have descents in excess of 2600 meters and NZ does not. It doesn't mean that the conditions are that different simply the length of runs. On one point I agree with the major dissent of Cardrona in that the chairlifts could do with an up date to high speed quads, HOWEVER so could Alpe d' Huez.
July 02, 2008
katie from Ski New Zealand New Zealand
Cardrona is a great resort and great value for money. The new express lift is fantastic! Cardrona spends its money well keeping the locals and tourists happy with all round upgrades this season. Who needs a new base building when the lifts are slow and its $93 for a lift pass verses $81 for Cardrona! Cardrona doesn't need 180 new snow guns which only work when its cold enough to snow anyway! It has natural snow: 15cm last night verses 5cm at Coronet! The terrain is much wider and the mountain is great for learners but also great for all levels! The noodle bar is fantastic and very healthy!
June 26, 2008
Daniel o'Donoghue from Ski Australia Australia
I read with interest the review by the guy that had spent a lot of time at Morzine / Avoriaz. Certainly resort skiing in NZ is very different to Europe. However I spent most of February last year (2007) in Les Gets, Morzine and Avoriaz and a fair bit of the time was spent skiing through puddles or walking over mud! When there was snow you had to put up with rude French people pushing in in lift lines or cutting you off on the slopes or smoking in cafes! The snow might be a bit thin on the ground sometimes in NZ but you always get looked after and there is heaps more to do off the slopes. Cardrona is the best value in NZ and if you want a bit more action go to Canterbury and hit the club fields. Portes du Soleil is a great place to go skiing and I've had awesome snow on previous visits but I will still go back to NZ every year.
May 20, 2008
James Stafford from Ski Australia Australia
I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Cardrona and found it to be the most suited NZ resort to my ex-skateboarding style of snowboarding (in 07). Their man-made features seem to mesh well with the natural flow of the mountain and I found myself frequently carving new lines down the few major runs. I had enormous amounts of fun with the simplest of banks, allowing me to nail my first 180s and 360s in natural terrain. I have to compliment the staff for having not only found my passport, but getting it back to me with the $100 or so dollars still inside!!! That experience alone was amazing enough to write home about. I also found their mushroom soup to be one of the tastiest meals I had in the whole trip to NZ, and that's saying something. Having been to Perisher in Australia, and the Remarkables and Coronet Peak in NZ, I would highly recommend Cardrona as Queenstown's first resort of call.
September 07, 2007
Pierre from Ski United Kingdom United Kingdom
My experience of Cardrona is not good. Although any resort has a lot to live up to when you've spent several seasons in Morzine/Avoriaz. When it snows in NZ you don't get the massive dumps like you do in Europe or North America and I didn't find my self waist deep or even knee deep in powder for that matter. I've just come back and am seriously considering if I would ever go back due to the unreliablity of the snow. Cardrona did try though and made good with what little snow they had and its cheaper than Treble Cone which is really bad value for money. When I left they had 80cms base at the top which is pretty poor in my opinion and the lack of snow depth meant the terrain didn't have that many decent natural features to do any tricks off. I felt there chair lifts were too damn slow and kept stopping too frequently. The best thing about Cardrona is that Snowpark is opposite, I had more fun there as it has a really nice vibe even though I was limited to park riding the natural terrain was even more interesting. [Editors comments. Having alternated between the European Alps and NZ for 12 years, I feel inclined to add a caveat. NZ is a big place with a very variable climate and the 2007 season was below average. Central Otago skifields like Cardrona always tend to have modest snowfalls because of the local arid climate - there are high mountains in every direction. Off piste can be frustrating as a result. The piste tends to be excellent, the parks too, and the weather reliably sunny. However, other parts of NZ frequently DO get very large dumps of snow that can compare with the European Alps. Westerly storms often give 24hr falls of more than 2m all along the main divide (heli-access only). These snowfalls just about reach Treble Cone and Temple Basin, giving say 50cm falls, but do not penetrate much further east into the rainshadow. 20-50cm snow events are fairly frequent at North Island resorts in any season because the volcanoes are exposed to all directions of weather. Without question, El Nino years such as 2006 are the best times to visit NZ. In such years, a steady march of southerly fronts invariably delivers regular dumps to most resorts, especially favouring ones closer to the Pacific coast such as Mt Hutt, Mt Olympus and eastern Otago resorts like Mt Dobson. In such years, Turoa and Whakapapa can accumulate more than 5m bases].
May 01, 2005
David from Ski Australia Australia
May 1st. I have booked the flights only 95 more sleeps until I am in the powder again. Cardrona is a fabulous resort and a great place to ski. Off the main road, but who cares, you can leave the crowds behind and make some great turns. I looking forward to a week of ear to ear grins.
April 15, 2005
Marty Cart from Ski Australia Australia
Great snow, the best around the area. If you want a great lesson, and I have had lesson all around the world. Get one with Chissy Bradshaw. The best lesson I have ever had, made skiing so much more fun