Ultimate Queenstown

Brown POW at Cardrona

Brown POW at Cardrona

Posted by Dave Fahey: 31st Jan 2018 @ 13:44:25

Sometimes the weather gods just play in your favour. After a scorching Central Otago Summer, the trails of Queenstown have turned dry and dusty. So, you can imagine my excitement last night when I woke to the patter of rain drops on the roof knowing I was off to Cardrona Bike Park the next day.

The conditions could only be described as “Brown Pow” (for those of you not familiar with the term, brown pow is the summer version of a powder day in winter – where the riding conditions are next level). Every corner I turned I was greeted with super tacky, confidence inspiring, hero dirt.

When it comes to mountain biking I’m certainly not the best rider in the world. My skill set lies somewhere between the granola munching XC rider and the downhill pinner. I really enjoy and appreciate all facets of riding. And believe me when I say this place truly has something for everyone.

Once I collected my day pass, I dropped down from the base building to the Whitestar Chairlift via the aptly named ‘Morning Glory’ run. And this flowy little gem truly set the scene for what was to be an epic day of riding.

What first struck me was how every little hit, drop and jump was labelled and even colour coded, meaning that once you get the feel for it you could make hits on new runs with the confidence of knowing that you weren’t launching yourself into space somewhere. You can also tell that these trails have been carefully thought about to maximise the terrain, fall and features on the hill. They have been expertly crafted to a point, that I had equal fun riding all the trails from green through to black lines.

What was also refreshing to see was the diversity of mountain users. There was clearly people that have spent way too much of their lives on their bike, enjoying the park the same as people fresh out of the rental shop. There were families, backpackers, veterans, XC bikes and downhill rigs that cost more than my car.

I made it my mission to ride every trail on the hill – sucks to be me right! I came away from there really struggling to find a favourite. So, I had to break it down into my favourite three runs, one per grade.

  • Green – Sweet As
  • Blue- Arcadia
  • Black - DTL

But if I’m truly honest DTL probably edges out the rest, as it reminds me of one of my all-time favourite Queenstown trails ‘Corotown’.

But when it comes to summer, Cardrona is not just all about the bikes, there was also a procession of people travelling up the mountain to hike, take the Chondola up to the summit ridge for some happy snaps, grabbing a coffee with a view and of course Mountain Carting. After watching these little dirt weapons in action, I’m pretty confident that I’ll be up there in the near future to try my luck at carting down the trails.

All in all, an outstanding day of riding epic trails in a true New Zealand alpine environment, with world class facilities and fun, friendly staff.

My advice – GET THERE! And remember…Cardrona loves you.

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