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With reliable snow and dry powder, Wanaka has some of the best skiing and snowboarding in New Zealand. Cardrona and Treble Cone are the two biggest winter-sports resorts, and Snow Farm specializes in cross-country ski. For more information about skiing and snowboarding in the area, check out www.lakewanaka.co.nz.
Cardrona Ski Resort. Cardrona, 34 km (21 miles) southwest of Wanaka, is great for familes with its wide open trails, a kids' ski school and activity center, plus kid- and beginner-friendly lifts, and food outlets. A special "heavy metal" trail pours on the rails and jumps and there are two half pipes, that are well used by international snowboarding teams (American snowboard star Shaun White landed his first back to back cork 10-80 in competition on one of them). The season is roughly mid-June–early October. A bonus at Cardrona is the 12 apartments up on the mountain, but you'll need to book early to get in. Daily shuttles are available from Wanaka, Queenstown, and Cromwell. 18 Dunmore St., Cardrona Valley, Wanaka. www.cardrona.com. One-day lift pass NZ$99.
Treble Cone. Treble Cone, 19 km (11½ mi) west of Wanaka, is the South Island's largest ski area, with lots of advanced trails and off-piste skiing. You can purchase a single-day lift pass, or if you're planning to ski a few days you can buy a Flexi pass, which makes it a bit cheaper. You can call their Snow Phone to get up-to-date snow reports or check their website. If you're not a skier it's still worth getting a scenic chairlift ride on the home basin chairlift; the view is sensational. 03/443–7443 Snow phone and main number. www.treblecone.com. Single-day lift pass NZ$96.