This post was originally published on 1st September 2017 and updated on 5th August 2018.
Are you after steep and challenging terrain? Well, you'll be justly rewarded by a trip to Treble Cone ski area, the South Island's largest ski and snowboard resort. Treble Cone, known as TC to the locals, is a favourite to more experienced and extreme riders and is located on the South Island of New Zealand, in the Otago Region, near Wanaka.
Base Area Elevation: 1260m
Highest Lifted Point: 1960m
Vertical Rise: 700m
Skiable Area: 550 hectares
Longest Run: 4 kms
Terrain: 10% beginner / 45% intermediate / 45% advanced
Lifts: 6 seater Home Basin Express, Saddle Basin Quad, Nice-n-Easy Platter and the beginner magic carpet
Operating Hours: 9am to 4pm
Getting To Treble Cone
TC is located about 35 mins from Wanaka and 90 mins from Queenstown. From Wanaka, it's an easy, scenic drive along the Wanaka-Mount Aspiring Rd. It takes a little extra planning from Queenstown, with the trip going via Wanaka either over the Crown Ranges or through Cromwell. As the trip over the Crown Ranges can be sketchy or even closed on a big snow day, check the road conditions before your trip. Oh, and pack the camera because you'll be taking plenty of photos from the Crown Ranges and along the Wanaka-Mount Aspiring Rd!
Once you leave the Wanaka-Mount Aspiring Rd, you'll drive up the 7km gravel access road. Like most New Zealand ski resort roads, it's steep, narrow and winding so take care up and down the road. TC has made a nice little touch with naming every corner, with our favourite being "Cow Poo Corner"!
If you don't have a car, check out the Treble Cone Express. Departing from both Wanaka or Queenstown, there's no excuse not to get to the mountain.
Food & Facilities
You'll find 6 places to eat and drink at Treble Cone. All locations serve Allpress espresso coffee (one of our New Zealand favourites):
Espresso Van - located by the gate to the Treble Cone access road, this is a great place to pick up a coffee before heading up to the mountain or whilst you are waiting for the complimentary shuttle.
Bar - made to order breakfasts, homemade baking throughout the day, snacks, lunch platters and apres.
Grab and Go - a quick refueling stop with ready made items including salads, pies, sausage rolls, sandwiches, bagels, pies and ice-cream!
The Southern BBQ - slow cooked meats, burgers, noodles, salad and soup. Craft beer and local wine.
Twelve60. An outside cafe in the Plaza, serving coffee, beverages and grab and go snacks. A good spot for a beer or mulled wine in the afternoon.
Allpress at Altitude Bar - awesome spot on a blue bird day to soak in the view. Hot and cold food and refreshments available.
In the base building, you'll find lockers, ski and snow gear rental, a snow retail shop and a repair centre - get a full tune (wax and edges) for $29 if you feel you're not ripping down the mountain fast enough.
Around the mountain
We recently visited Treble Cone for the first time in about 4 years. As we've had a limited amount of time there previously, we asked TC what they could recommend to make up the perfect day. We're were given a list of must-dos, which we managed to experience in a day but one thing's for sure, it's made us want to go back ASAP!
What did our day look like?
With a little low-level cloud hanging over Home Basin, we made our way straight over to Saddle Basin. Our first drop off the Saddle Basin Quad was South Ridge - head looker's left when you get off the chair. An awesome wide run and we were lucky enough to enjoy about 5-10 cm of fresh powder on this great groomer.
Next we dropped under the lift line to enjoy some natural chutes and gullies - you could spend a whole day here alone enjoying all the natural features! As we wanted to experience as much as we could in a single, day we moved onto the Motatapu Chutes next.
Motatapu Chutes - OMG! I mean, do you want heli or cat terrain but just off a resort? Well here it is! We couldn't believe the amount of terrain out there - it's almost like an extra resort. Leading into the chutes, you enter through either The Meadows or Hollywood Bowl - both offer so much terrain individually. And if want challenging terrain, we doubt you'll find steeper than the Motatapu Chutes at any other New Zealand resort. We knew there was a hike out, back to Saddle Basin Quad, but we got carried away with the awesome snow conditions and terrain and pretty much ended up at the bottom. Ok, so it was a 30-40 minute hike out but we had no regrets. Dropping in a little further along and not going quite as 'deep' into the chutes, limits your hike out to around 20 mins. Either way, we want to come back and spend a day in there, exploring a bit more, especially the Hollywood Bowl. I think we're still dreaming about them...
The Summit Hike. It takes about 15-20 minutes to hike The Summit but that 360 breathtaking view at the top makes every step worthwhile. Oh, and the ride back to Saddle Basin is pretty amazing too! Jen did one hike but that just wasn't enough for me, so I did a second hike just before it closed at 2:45pm.
Once our legs said, "no more hiking!", we played around on Raffills, Side Saddle and The Crags before heading over to Home Basin.
Stop off at the the view point at the top of Matukituki Basin - as far left (skier's left) as you can go at TC. You'll get the whole view of the Matukituki Valley and off-piste skiing into the basin, before cutting back into Main Street. As the cloud cover was rolling in by the time we hit Matukituki Basin, we really only got one run into the basin this time around. Did I mention, we need to come back to TC?!
Main Street and Easy Rider are great fun, with a 3km run with plenty of side hits. We didn't get to explore as much of Home Basin as we would've liked, as 4:00pm came around way too quickly!
So that's how you make the most of one day at TC! Of course, ideally you'd have many days to explore more of this amazing ski resort. We're planning on returning before the season finishes and we'll provide an update on any new discoveries.
Have you been to Treble Cone? Please let us know if you have any favourites that we haven't hit yet and we'll be sure to explore these on our next visit!
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Mick is a lover of speed runs and hitting every feature on the mountain. Ex road bike and motocross racer with plans to dabble in mountain bike racing. Spends a lot of time looking at fast cars and bikes. Jen’s instagram model and selfie camera holder due to long arms. Sometimes an optometrist.