This coming winter just got a whole lot better for those planning to ski and snowboard in New Zealand. Cardrona have today revealed extra lift accessed skiing and snowboarding in the Soho Ski Area ready for the 2021 season.
Back in 2018, Cardrona announced the acquisition of ski area rights of neighbouring Soho Basin. This terrain will, once accessed make Cardrona the largest ski area in New Zealand.
The Willows Quad chairlift is the first official phase of the Soho expansion. If you’ve been to Cardrona then you’ll know the terrain sits on the other side of Mr Cardrona and faces the Wakatipu Basin towards Queenstown. If you’ve been cat skiing at Soho, it’s the first few bowls on your cat ski day.
Over 65 hectares (160 acres) of primarily intermediate terrain will be accessed from the top of the McDougall’s Chondola through to the bottom of the Willows Quad.
“Our dream is to create a ski experience unlike anything else in New Zealand, where you go on an adventure through different valleys and basins while soaking in fantastic views – this move into Soho Ski Area is the first step in unlocking that vision,” says Bridget Legnavsky, Cardrona/Treble Cone General Manager.
“From Willows Basin it feels like you can reach out and touch the Southern Alps – that’s a special feeling.”
The Willows Quad is the upcycled/refurbished former McDougall’s Quad, the lift originally proposed for the Pringles terrain. When rare lizards were discovered in the area in early 2020, the resort abandoned the Pringles project to protect them.
“When we made the decision not to continue with the Pringles project, we knew we wanted to use the lift elsewhere on the resort. It turned out that it was a perfect fit for the Willows terrain,” says Legnavsky.
The lift will also address some of the resort’s capacity challenges and will increase uphill lift capacity by 44% greater. Further lifts in Soho area are planned in the future, including the main Soho express chairlift which will link the area to the top of Captain’s Basin and reveal more advanced terrain.
The chair has been named Willow after the cult Ron Howard and George Lucas film in 1988 starring Val Kilmer. A small portion of the movie was filmed at Cardrona back when the Lee family were the custodians of the resort.