Pacific Northwest Ski blog (and a few other places!)

Lots or reports from skiing around the Pacific Northwest, with some East Coast excursions thrown in for good measure

5 wonderful days in New Zealand

Early July was very sketchy in New Zealand. Sketchy as in bare, mountains-not-really-open sketchy. We were certainly Slightly Concerned in Seattle.

Luckily, by mid-July it started snowing and laid a decent but small base at the mountains around Wanaka and Queenstown. Then we arrived. And it dumped. Big time. Mostly at night. This formula equaled 5 fabulous ski days indeed.

Skiing at Treble Cone – TC as the locals call it – on Day 1 was a bluebird day, with some wind moving snow around and 5cm of pow from overnight to add to the fun. Saddle Basin was pretty well covered, but the frontside Home Basin was not skiable off groomed from about half way down. It was a great day to reacquaint the legs to high speed, steep turns in TC’s fine chutes and gullies.

The next day it snowed 50cm at the base of TC. They never reported how much up high. This led to a delayed opening, so to Cardona we headed, where a mere 25cm of fresh was sat on the mountain. We were in line with 3 other people at 9am (!) and just lapped up pow all day long. The mountain was riding beautifully – it opened my eyes to the pleasures of Cardrona as I’d never skied here with such a good base. An apres beer in the quirky Cardrona Hotel tasted mighty fine afterwards.

Day 3 and 4 were back to Treble Cone, with now an excellent base from top to bottom, opening up the front side for ‘ski where you like’ fun. There was so much untracked snow in Saddle Basin that the skiing was truly epic. The wind kept things topped up all day, ensuring freshies every single run before it got too strong for the Saddle Basin chair to run. The next day started stormy and snowy and foggy, meaning a ski-by-braille morning on TC’s treeless slopes. About 1pm the clouds, as if by Games of Thrones like magic, lifted, leaving a mountain with 20cm+ of snow lying everywhere, and mostly untracked as no one could see it before now. Cold, sun, pow, no crowds – it was quite an afternoon.

The snow and wind, and cold, sunny conditions persisted through our last day at Cardrona. The wind was so strong it was scouring some previously skiable areas and loading the snow in the chutes and gullies. It must have been the reason the crowds stayed away too, leaving wide open, ever-refreshing snowfields for us to rip all day long. It was the perfect last day for a superlative, too short trip. And the 2015-16 ski season.

Bring on November.

Treble Cone 8000m vert

Cardona 7600m vert

Treble Cone 10,300m, 9300m vert

Cardrona 7600m vert,

Season Totals: 75 days, 609, 300m vert, 27 powder days

 

 

 

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