New Frontiers – New Zealand
We have just returned from our very first family ski holiday to amazing New Zealand. It was everything that we imagined it to be and more besides. Such a stunning place.
Although we called it a ski holiday we didn’t ski everyday like husb and I’s ski holidays of old (hi ski buddies), it used to be all about being up at the crack of dawn, dragging ourselves down for brekkie cooked by chalet girl then out onto the slopes for a full day, stopping only for a beer and a tartiflete. Back to the slopes before skiing straight into the bar (literally skiing straight in) for après ski dancing on the tables in our ski boots, drinking far too many jagerbombs, skiing down the rest of the mountain in a very inebriated fashion usually having forced our feet into the wrong persons skis . Then being sick on the side of the mountain the next day right under the chair lift so everyone could see, burying it in snow, then off skiing again- Ahhhhh good times!
No, this holiday involved slightly less skiing due to the additions to our fam, the Bear is 4 the Baby Bear 19 months, so I think a little too young for the aforementioned shenanigans – perhaps next year!
Cardrona alpine resort is about an hour and half from Queenstown, a beautiful (if hairy scary) drive through the stunning Crown Ranges.
This was great for us because we didn’t ski everyday but if we were going to then, on reflection we would stay in Wanaka instead as it is an easy 40 min drive away, although there is less to keep you entertained there with kids.
Cardrona resort itself does not have a lot of accommodation or food options so to stay there for a weekend would be fine to make the most of the skiing but any longer and there is not much to entertain once the skiers have left for the day.
It really is a lovely resort and very very family friendly. They are set up very well with plenty of childcare options. They offer full day kindy plus ski lessons, half day with ski lessons, kindy without ski lessons, you can book childcare by the hour and there is also a very well equipped nursery for those littlees under the age of 2.
If you have kids older than 5 then the kids club offers plenty of options too.
On top of this it is a really easy resort with wide gentle slopes from the top of the lifts down into Cardrona resort making it ideal for little future champion skiers.
If the bigger runs are a bit too scary for the tiny skiers then there are a couple of good wide greens with an easy magic carpet really close to all the cafes etc. So if it all gets a bit much then a
hot chocolate with a shot or ten of baileys refreshing glass of water is only a quick walk away.
” what you want me to ski down this vertical cliff face with no poles and just using my pizza slice skis to avoid a snowy death? Yeah sure lead me to the precipice! ”
Ok so maybe I am projecting my parental fears onto him but seriously he was an absolute star, did everything he was asked on his lesson (which, incidentally didn’t involve being led to the mountain edge) and if he fell over he had a giggle or a wriggle in the snow, then got right back up again and did it all again. Love that boy!
I highly rate Cardrona if you are taking the kids skiing, it has just about everything you need and it is probably the friendliest ski resort I’ve ever been to in my illustrious skiing career- although to be fair all the ski resorts I have been to have been in Europe, where they are not known for their queuing ability, why queue for a ski lift when you can simply barge everyone out of the way with jolly abandon eh!
Which brings me back onto the Bear, after a full day of Ski Kindy the previous day when the weather was cold and windy and visibility very poor, he chattered all the way home about how much he had enjoyed it and teaching us the technicalities of skiing, full of the enthusiasm that only a 4 yr old could have on a day like that and then we realised that the forecast for the next day was blue skis and sunshine, or a bluebird day as they call it.
Well this just seemed too good an opportunity to miss so we changed our plans around so that we could head up again the difference being this time we could actually see where we were going!
We had a few goes with The Bear on the baby slopes and got his ski legs back going up and down the magic carpet and then Husb decided to take him on the chair lift and to the top of the mountain – the boy is 4!
Well obviously the bear was game so up we went. We were very lucky as it was very quiet so he had the slope to himself and boy did he use it! Still we managed to get down in 1 piece (of pizza! Geddit) and he was up for more – the boy is a machine.
Didn’t listen to a word we said though and if we had let him he would have been straight down the blue run a la Eddie the Eagle, complete with ski jump at the end in the half pipe.
He does seems particularly taken with the snowboarders though and is very keen to give that a go next time.
Husb is not happy about him snowboarding, though, not due to any parental concern for his safety you understand, no, simply because he cannot have his son looking cooler than him on the slopes!