Snowboarding in New Zealand: Cardrona Resort

From my university days of working for the surf/snowboard brand, Roxy, I have always been in love with the laid back, bohemian culture that surrounds these sports and so when visiting New Zealand we made sure that a snowboarding trip was defiantly on the cards.

When staying at Lake Wanaka on the South Island of New Zealand, we were told by fellow travelers about a number of good destinations to snowboard. As you can see from the map below the South Island of New Zealand is not short of a few good ski/snowboarding locations.

Seeing as we were staying at Lake Wanaka we decided to opt for the Cardrona ski field as it was only an hour’s drive and we wanted to return back to Wanaka. Before heading here, we paid a visit to a small ski/snowboarding shop in Lake Wanaka and rented gloves, jackets and trousers for around $15-20 per person.

Booking a Snowboarding Day in New Zealand

Most people will often book their ski/snowboard trip in advance; however, as we only wanted a day’s snowboarding experience, we simply turned up on the day. 

After driving up the breath taking mountain (snow chains are a must when going up this mountain, I recommend putting them on at the very bottom of the mountain and not when you ‘need them’) we were greeted to visitor chaos. Everyone wanted to rent their equipment and get up on mountain. I’m not going to lie, when seeing this we weren't hopeful that we would even equipment, never mind a day’s snowboarding lesson. But it turns out we were wrong.

We arrived at the ticket office and paid $50 (prices may have increased since then) for a full day’s lesson in a group of 6-8 people. Once we had paid, we headed over to the equipment room where the helpful staff found our ‘snowboarding leg’ to see if we were regular (lean to the right) or goofy (lean to the left) riders and then handed us our board and boots.

Cardrona Day Snowboarding Lessons

The group gathered around 10am and met our instructor for the day, Robyn. She was really cool and patient with the whole group who were all at different beginner abilities. Starting off with the basics, she got us used to the board and bindings and showed us how to move on the boards. Taking turns and working in smaller groups of 2-3 people, before we knew it, it was time for lunch.

After visiting the onsite restaurant, which wasn't too badly priced  - 2 cheese sandwiches and a coke for $13 – we headed back to the group to start our afternoon session.

This time we ventured up the small slope and learnt how to stop, start and turn. For me this was my favourite session, as I began snowboarding down the hill I noticed we were above the clouds and it felt like heaven. 

Another 3 hours quickly passed by as we each cheered on our mini groups and other members of the bigger group, who slowly began to move from novices to snowboarding beginner.  Overall, it was a great day.

I would highly recommend paying a visit here if you’re staying in the South Island of New Zealand. It was one of t best days of my travel adventure around New Zealand.  
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