Snow Park, NZ
Snow Park, New Zealand has one lift, sits at 1530m, spans just 60 hectares and gets an annual snowfall of around 50cms!! So what makes it one of the best resorts in the world? The answer is freestyle terrain and TONS of it!
Snow Park NZ has become a freestyle mecca for snowboarders and skiers alike. Attracting riders from every corner of the globe, the expertly shaped features ensure everyone from beginner to pro is catered for. Designed by terrain park guru and ex-pro snowboarder Frank Wells, a member of the Snow Park Technology consulting team. Frank designs and creates terrain for events such as the Winter X-Games and Van’s Triple Crown in the USA. During the New Zealand winter, Frank works and designs exclusively at Snow Park NZ and manages the team of world-class groomer operators at the park.
Apart from the huge features right in front of you, what hits you the most when you arrive at Snow Park is the extremely mellow, chilled out atmosphere. Okay, so there is a small ‘yo bro’ element, but in general most people are super friendly and up for a chat when sitting at the deck or on the lift. Maybe is the booming music at the bottom of the hill or just Snow Park stoke, whatever it is Snow Park, has come up with that winning formula!
Here are all the facts you’ll want to know:
Season: June 22nd to September 29th
Ticket Prices : Adult from $55-75 NZ (varies throughout the season)
NZ Student: $42-57
Under 18: $29-33
The Progressions Park is all new for 2007, with a dedicated ‘Half Pint Park’ for all the novices to try out freestyle features for the first time, or for the intermediate rider to get that new trick dialed before taking it to the bigger features.
HALF PINT PARK Features include:
- Flat boxes
- Flat rails
- Flat down rail/boxes
- Mini Jumps
- 2 x 15ft Jump
- 2 x 25ft
For intermediate riders, there is not such a focused area as the novice park. The intermediate features are scattered all around the park with features ever changing to keep things fresh.
- A selection of intermediate jumps (25-30-35ft)
- Beginner superpipe: 90m long at 15 degrees pitch
- Quarterpipe: NZ’s only permanent one, provides endless hours of fun and is suitable for all levels
- A selection of intermediate rails can be found scattered around the resort, for your jibbing pleasure.
- Superpipe: 160m long at 17 degrees pitch and is world cup standard
- Step up jump to the side of the Quarter is something different.
- Some super gnarly kink rails, flat downs, C- boxes, its all there for the budding pro.
- Jumps will pop up throughout the season for comps & photo shoots, but the mainstays are the jumps in the infamous triple line which range from 35-40-50ft to 45-55-65ft over the season.
On the mountain
On snow budget hostel style accommodations. Houses up to 44 people. Bunkrooms are comforatable and cheap and are withing stumbling distance of the Woolshed bar and restaurant, with pool table, LCD TV, two wood fires and sprawling deck to view all the action in the park. Directly overlooking the park, ride in/ride out access is available at a fraction of the normal on-mountain accommodation. Another gold star for Snow Park! Depending on when you are there, a nights accommodation will cost you between $30 -$40 NZ. Bargain!
If you are looking for a more luxurious stay, check out the on snow apartments, nestled just behind the woolshed. Apartments are furnished to the highest standards featuring en-suite bathrooms, LCD TVs, full kitchens, private hot tubs…the list goes on. Shaun White is even rumoured to have bought one of these – believe that if you wish!
Luxury En-suite rooms will cost you between $199 - $249 NZ and a 1 bedroom apartment will cost $279-$350. (Seasonal differences in price.)
With Wanaka only 35kms away you may chose to stay at one of the many backpacker, B&Bs, motels or apartments.
Its also possible to use action packed Queenstown as a base, a little further away at around 55kms away but if nightlife, and plenty of action is what you are after Q’town is the place to be.
How to get to Snow Park:
There are daily domestic flights into both Queenstown and Wanaka. It is best to book these in conjunction with your international ticket if traveling from overseas.
To book online, check with Qantas or Air New Zealand.
Alternatively, you can fly to Christchurch or Dunedin and drive 4.5 and 3.5hrs respectively.
Daily Transport is available from both Queenstown or Wanaka. More info available at snowparknz.com.
Lessons and Camps
Snow Park offers a variety of programs that can be tailored to all abilities. Group Lessons, Private Lessons or even ride with a pro programs. Check out http://www.snowpark.nz for details. I was lucky enough to make it to one of the Snowgirls NZ Camps which was fantastic, check out the story here at powderroom.net
Snow Girls NZ is a concept designed to introduce female snowboarders and skiers to the excitement and fun of riding freestyle terrain. It’s a programme for girls designed by girls, with NZ’s top female riders coaching and participating in the camps.
For 2007, the camps structure has changed slightly from previous seasons. Snow Girls NZ now offers both 2-day and 4-day camps throughout the season each with different focuses:
Camp 1 – Thursday 5 July to Sunday 8 July (4 DAY)
Camp 2 - Monday 30 July + Tuesday 31 July (2 DAY)
Camp 3 - Saturday 1 September to Tuesday 4 September (4 DAY)
Camps include four hours of coaching per day, video analysis, free ride time, café lunches on each day, overnight bunkroom accommodation, plus your dinners and breakfasts in the Woolshed Restaurant/Bar during your stay.
Each camp has great product giveaways plus an evening girls tech session courtesy of Base Wanaka and K2.apres
2 DAY (Camp 2) - $240 without lift passes/$320 including lift passes
4 DAY (Camp 1/3) - $545 without lift passes/$705 including lift passes
Whatever your skill level, Snow Girls NZ can cater for you. With some of NZ’s and the world’s best female coaches, you’re in good hands!
Whats on at Snow Park
Since Snow Park is a haven for pros, you will often rub shoulders withsome of the worlds top riders. Sometimes you wont even know it, that is until you see a tweaked out manouver in the the pipe! Many of them use it for training in the off season or they may be there in prep for one of the comps that are held throughout the season
In and around
If you can tear yourself away from the jumps and jibs, check out the surrounding area.
Lake Wanaka is a quiet spot, prefect for some photo taking and general chill out time. With several small pubs and restaurants it will satisfy the more mellow peeps out there. Check out Cheapskates in town for some new gear if you feel your threads are letting you down on the hill.
Cardrona Resort is about the same distance as Snow Park from Wanaka (35mins) and Queenstown (60mins). A more all round resort, to keep everyone happy. Its worth checkin out especially after a good snowfall.
A great place to stop and sink a few beverages and some hearty food is the Cardrona Hotel . About 20mins from Wanaka, if you can bag the best spot around the wood burning fire outside you will be there all day analysing the days riding!
If you are not satisfied with having Cardrona and Snow Park on your doorstep you have another option close by at Treble Cone. Treble Cone is just 35 minutes drive from Wanaka in the opposite direction.
Adventure capital, Queenstown is most likely where you would fly into – if you are not driving that is. Queenstown has so much on offer it would take several pages to go into everything. Accommodation is plentiful and with bars and shops a plenty…not to mention the odd extreme activity. Jet boat ride followed by a bungee jump anyone?
photos by Leslie Clark, Tally Atkins and Anna Barry
Posted by Leslie Clark on 08/24/07