Insiders guide to Wanaka: Janina Kuzma

Janina Kuzma, chases the snow year round. The six time New Zealand Freeski Champion and two time Canadian Freeski Champion has lived in the Southern Alps town of Wanaka in New Zealand for ten years, she’s bought property and got engaged. So we guess she’s not planning on moving anywhere else anytime soon.

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Janina spends northern winters filming

“What I love about Wanaka is the beauty of the place” says Kuzma whose twin, Maria is a big mountain snowboarder. “How close the ski resorts are to the town, the lakes… every season has something to offer. Its got a small town feel to it.”

Best place for coffee?


Best place for apres?

Cardrona Pub Cardrona-hotel-2-wanaka-accommodation-pp

Best place for breakfast and favourite dish?

Urban Grind – Spanish eggs and chorizos

Special occasion dinner spot?

Bistro Gentil. Modern French cuisines with a variety of wine to taste.

What is your favourite event on or off the mountain during the season?

I love the The North Face Freeski Open event. This event brings a lots of international competitors to New Zealand. It has the whole freestyle aspect to it but also has a big mountain comp.

Where do you take out of town visitors to WOW them?

I like taking my friends up Mt. Iron. You get a 360 degree view of Wanaka and all the lakes. It’s pretty amazing.

Secret powder stash or favourite run in the region?

Motatapu chutes at TC.

Where do you ski the most during winter and why?

I ski mostly at Cardrona. It’s great because I can train in the halfpipe in the morning and then go ride Arcadia chutes in the afternoon. Cardrona has so much to offer.

Cardrona Alpine Resort
Who is your favourite Wanaka local character and where would we find them?

Carol Little. She’s the friendliest person you will meet and is always willing to help you out. You can find her at Cardrona and you will instantly know who she is because of her wild hair.

What can you get at Wanaka you can’t get anywhere else in the world?

I think the fact that it’s a ski town in winter and a small country town the rest of the year. You can definitely still get that feeling through winter. I love it!

If you had one thing to take back with you as a visitor to Wanaka what would it be?

Lots of memories!

Don’t just take Janina’s word for it, check out our other Insider Guides to Wanaka, Queenstown, Methve, Ohakune, Jindabyne, Mt Beauty and Mansfield as they are updated daily here.

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Rachael Oakes-Ash is the name behind @misssnowitall and the founder of A long time travel and lifestyle journalist and ski writer, she's been published in ESPN, TIME, Wallpaper*, Action Asia, Inside Sport, Australian Financial Review, Emirates Open Skies, Conde Nast Traveler and more. She was the Fairfax snow blogger from 2007 to 2017 and the Southern Hemisphere editor for OnTheSnow. Rachael is also a documentary producer, author, radio announcer and humorist.


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