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THE STUFF OF DREAMS - James Cove, New Zealand
Saturday August 25, 2018 - Email this article to a friend

The PlanetSKI RV trip in NZ gets underway in Cardrona. Good snow, decent terrain & adventures a plenty...



So, did we choose to head to Queenstown and its resorts of The Remarkables and Coronet Peak?

Or Lake Wanaka and the resort of Cardrona?

It was a choice to make at the end of the first blog as we arrived in New Zealand and set off in our RV - we had no real plan:

The latter won out and it proved the entirely right choice.

Heading up to Cardrona, 30km or so out of Wanaka, is not your average drive up to a ski resort.

Cardrona, New ZealandCardrona, New Zealand
















The final section is an 8km dirt road with a few steep drop offs.

Hardly ideal for our 6-berth RV, but fortunately there was a shuttle bus if people didn't want to risk life and limb.

Before you could say "HOLY F**K WE'RE SKIDDING OVER THE EDGE TO CERTAIN DEATH," I was safely in the shuttle bus with someone else at the wheel.

And claiming to the driver I was actually not on a sickie, but working.

Cardrona, New ZealandCardrona, New Zealand
















It began as a dust bowl and ended high up in the cloud and snow.

Cardrona, New ZealandCardrona, New Zealand
















Cardrona, New ZealandCardrona, New Zealand
















The first skiing on our 2-month trip, Dubai in the Untied Arab Emirates, also had an interesting journey:

Cardrona is the main ski resort for the town of Wanaka.

It was where I had chosen to make my first turns Down Under.

And it didn't disappoint.

Small by the standards of the Alps - decent by the standards down here:

  • Highest point: 1,860m
  • Longest run: 4,5km
  • Lift served vertical: 600m

But the resort is perhaps best known for its freeskiing scene with half-pipes, kickers, jumps and snowparks.

Many an NZ freestyle star cut their teeth here - Jossi Wells among them.

Cardrona, New ZealandCardrona, New Zealand
















Cardrona, New ZealandCardrona, New Zealand
















The views are none too shaby either.

Cardrona, New ZealandCardrona, New Zealand
















And they're also rather good as the sun goes down over Lake Wanaka where we parked the RV overnight for our stay:

RV life with a viewRV life with a view
















And by chance as we passed through the resort the NZ Winter Games are on.

See here for my separate report on the sporting action:

In the article I mentioned meeting GB's freeskier, 14-year old Kirsty Muir who was competing.

"How's your trip in the RV going," a lady with Kirsty said as we chatted in the day lodge at the bottom of the slopes.

She was Kirsty's Mum, Kim, and had been following my adventures in New Zealand and in Dubai on the way down.

‘It's great though a little cold at night," I replied.

"Well I'm following your journey with great interest," she said.

"James! What are you doing here?" another voice shouted behind Kim.

I turned to see Pat Sharples, the head coach for GB Park and Pipe, who has been a mate for more years than we both care to remember.

"Just passing through in an RV," I said.

Cardrona, New ZealandCardrona, New Zealand
















Now I had wanted to stand in front of the piste map to tell you about the ski area.

It may look OK in a photo.

Cardrona, New ZealandCardrona, New Zealand
















But it was blowing a massive gale and all my words would have been carried away in the wind (perhaps a good thing).

So, I retired to somewhere more shelted and comfy to go through things - our RV.

We'll be having a feature on life in the RV but in the meantime it's time to move on as I said in the video.

Next stop Queenstown and its resorts of Coronet Peak and The Remarkables...

Thank you Cardrona - it's been an absolute pleasure.


And as our RV wheels began to roll news of GB medals at the Junior World Champs.

Ollie Davies won gold in the Ski Cross.

The 21-year-old showed the speed and class which has already seen him compete in World Cups and reach a Europa Cup podium, powering to victory against strong opposition to earn Britain's first-ever Junior World Championship in Ski Cross.

"Everything went to plan; I was able to take it fairly easy in the quarters and semis, it wasn't a grind and then it was quite a long wait until the final," said Davies.

"I was in the far right gate for the final but I had my best start ever, was able to lead it into the first turn and I didn't have to fight at all. I'm really happy with how it all panned out."

Davies' gold wasn't Britain's first ski cross World Juniors medal - that honour went to Elliane Hall who claimed bronze in the female final.

Having turned 17 less than two weeks ago, Hall was seeded third after yesterday's qualifying and won through to the final after finishing second in the semis.

GB in the medals GB in the medals


PlanetSKI is funding its trip: flights, accommodation and much else besides as we like to remain independent.

However we have to thank a few people and organisations who are offering help along the way.

NZSKI grasped the idea of the trip immediately and have assisted us in its resorts of Coronet Peak, The Remarkables and Mount Hutt - thank you Frederique Gulcher.

See here for further details about the resorts:

Apollo Camper also embraced the idea of doing part of it in an RV and have offered support in getting the right vehicle for our adventures - thank you Tara Eller and Dylan Moetara.

If you want an RV in New Zealand or Australia look no further:

Robyn Pester from Queenstown has given us valuable introductions to people who have not heard of PlanetSKI - hard to believe people haven't we know ;-)

See further details of the town that will be our base over the next week or so: Queenstown 

Lastly Sophie Luther from the Audi quattro Winter Games only got a last minute request from us, at one of her busiest times, and yet was able to find time to help. BIG shout out!

And as we embark on our New Zealand adventures this list will no doubt grow and we are eternally grateful for all who have helped.

And those that will do so.


See here for the main PlanetSKI news page with all the latest stories from the mountains.

For the Spirit of the Mountains - PlanetSKI: Number One for ski news

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