Classic cross-country skiing is now firmly established in New Zealand with the advent of the Southern Hemisphere’s first all mountain terrain park.
Waiorau Snow Farm on Otago’s Pisa Range lies directly across the valley from the Cardrona Ski Field. The entire 5,000 hectare high country farm is a dedicated terrain park providing facilities for classic skiing, ski skating, cross-country wilderness skiing and snowboarding. The 25 km of formed trails, which begin on ‘Main Street’, lead into a circular run called ‘Mary’s Trail’, and then to all day trails such as ‘River Run’. Classic skiers follow two narrow grooves cut into the snow slope by a grooming machine.
The Snow Farm is popular with conventional cross-country skiers as well, as there is plenty of untracked snow along the ridges and valleys of the Pisa Range. Wilderness skiers can set up backcountry expeditions over the broad sweeping Pisa Plateau, and stay in huts conveniently placed along the range.
The Snow Park features groomed half-pipes, and competition sized tabletops, hips, spines and tombstones serviced by a rope tow. The skier and boarder cross course is a fun place, featuring continuous music, entertainment and a comfortable day lodge.
Throughout the season there are interesting events such as ski orienteering and biathlon ‘ski and shoot’ competitions. The ‘Merino Muster’ is the largest international cross-country ski race in New Zealand.
The Snow Farm Lodge is located at the start of the trail system, and has both en suite and share rooms. ‘The Snow Bar’ is fully licensed with a restaurant attached, and there is a comfortable lounge with commanding views of the Southern Alps. The Lodge is open all year round, and in summer it is popular with mountain bikers, high country walkers and native alpine flower enthusiasts.
The Waiorau Nordic Snow Farm is an outstanding winter sports venue that leads the way in terms of high quality terrain and facilities. Check out this fascinating fun farm – you won’t be disappointed.