It is very much business as usual for New Zealand’s only dedicated cross-country ski area, Snow Farm in the Cardrona Valley, despite having to operate for the 2023 season from temporary facilities.
The ski area was required to return its previous headquarters complex to its owners, the Southern Hemisphere Proving Ground, in October last year leaving it without a base.
“ We are operating from a temporary base building as we work towards raising a further $1.3 million required to complete our planned new permanent facility,” says Snow Farm general manager Sam Lee.
“Customer ticketing, rentals and fitting areas are in a large relocatable building with limited indoor space to socialise. We are not operating a cafe this year so people should come prepared although some drinks and snacks are being sold.”
The not-for-profit ski area operates under the Pisa Alpine Charitable Trust (PACT)) and hosts more than 15,000 visitors a year who participate in a range of activities from cross country skiing to snow shoeing.
“It’s a very popular activity for families and best suited for younger children or those wanting to experience snow for the first time. The area is open all day and costs $17 a person for a day pass.”
Snow Farm is renowned for its cross country skiing and the sport has become increasingly popular with Central Otago locals as well as domestic and international visitors.
“Cross country skiing is great for families and groups and we cater to a range of confidence levels. It’s easy for first timers and super fun for the more adventurous. Each person can decide how hard to push themselves and beginners can stay on our flat learners’ area to start out.”
Snow Farm rents lightweight, easy to use snowshoes enabling people to walk in the snow in the Pisa Range vicinity.
“Snowshoes are a great way to get off the beaten track and explore our special trails that journey past alpine meadows, rock features and alpine streams,” says Sam. “These trails take between one and two hours to complete and we also permit snowshoeing along the edges of our groomed cross-country ski trails.”
Snow Farm bookings are online at www.snowfarm.nz and Sam encourages pre-bookings to ensure not missing out.
“All our activities and rentals have limited availability so it’s best to check availability before visiting along with weather and road conditions.”