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Treble Cone NZ
|Base:||4,134 ft||1260 m|
|Summit:||6,850 ft||2088 m|
|Vertical:||2,297 ft||700 m|
|Ski Area:||1359 acres||550 hectares|
|Six Pack Chairs:||1|
Treble Cone NZ:
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Treble Cone, despite having marked beginner and intermediate trails, is a mountain for the advanced skier. Even the trails marked "intermediate" are often steep and better suited for the advanced skier. The only true beginner run is the kids fun run "Nice'n Easy" at the base. The gated side-country Motatapu Basin has complex terrain, steep chutes and challenges for even the advanced skier. Do not ski this terrain alone. This resort is the largest on the "South Island" of New Zealand despite having only two chair lifts.
Treble Cone ski resort is an hour and a half drive from the lakeside town of Queenstown New Zealand or just 25 minutes from the much smaller lakeside town of Wanaka. It is one of four ski resorts within the proximity of Queenstown and just like the other ski resorts, Treble Cone has a base lodge but no local town so most people will find their accommodations and nightlife in Wanaka or Queenstown.
New Zealand lies in the Southern hemisphere and thus has seasons which are the opposite of the Northern hemisphere. Treble Cone's ski season is from the beginning of June till the end of October. Queenstown is much lower in elevation than the alpine resort and thus has comparatively mild temperatures.
As with all of the Queenstown area resorts, the mountain is wide open and above the tree line with an infinite number of paths down. The Treble Cone base lodge has all of the basic amenities required for a day trip to the slopes.
Queenstown Western lake shore view of the wharf area
Wanaka is a small but closer option to Queenstown. It is also a good place to stop for food or ice cream on the way back to Queenstown
Beginner skiers and boarders should stick to the lower run "Nice'n Easy" near the base lodge of Treble Cone. Intermediate skiers and boarders should stick to the groomed trails which take you from the top of the chair lift to the bottom. Advanced skiers should put their pride on hold and escalate from the red runs to the black diamond runs with caution and with a buddy.The resort is divided into four basins as marked on the trail map:
The entire Treble Cone ski resort is wide open terrain which lies above the tree line. Without trees, a foggy day becomes un-skiable.
New Zealand resorts use the European color codes to rate trails:
The vast majority of runs at Treble Cone are marked blue and red as well as black diamond in the Motatapu Basin area.
View of Treble Cone from the base lodge and base of the Home Basin Express lift
The easiest beginner run is the short run "Nice'n Easy" serviced by "magic carpet" and platter lifts at the base of the mountain. While there is the beginner green run "Easy Rider" accessible from the top of the Home Basin Express lift, it will have steep sections more suitable for intermediates.
Beginner run "Nice'n Easy" and the "Magic Carpet" surface lift to the "platter" lift if one would like to go to the top of the beginner run. Clearly this run is the safest option for beginners
Groomed run leading back to the base lodge
Groomed run leading back to the base lodge with a spectacular view
Treble Cone can easily provide enough terrain for the advanced skier to explore and stay curious for days. There is hike to ski terrain at the summit ridge accessible from gates at the peak of each chair lift and in Motatapu Basin. The Matukituki Basin and the Saddle Basin are primarily advanced "red" runs while Motatapu Basin is home to the extreme black diamond chutes.
Lower "Mine Shaft" "red" run adjacent to the Saddle Basin Quad chair lift
Matukituki Basin: Matuki Wave red run. The views of the surrounding New Zealand mountains are spectacular.
Looking up Matukituki Basin: open "red" terrain
The most challenging terrain is found through gates 1 and 2 (take a left at the top of the Saddle Basin Quad) which lead into the Motatapu Basin and the steep black diamond chutes of "The Fickle Finger of Fear" and "The Diamond".
The terrain opens with a nice open field called The Meadows in the Hollywood Bowl, but if you stay to the skiers left you will make your way to some very steep and long chutes.
If you survive the terrain down, you will be greeted with a long hike out to the base of the Saddle Basin Quad lift.
The further to the skiers left you go, the longer and steeper the chute, but the shorter the walk out.
This does create quite a dilemma. Choose your pain wisely.
Do not ski this area alone so that in case you get hurt, you will have someone to report it and be rescued.
Note: Few may pass through the same chute as you.
Gate entrance to Motatapu Chutes and Hollywood Bowl
One of the Motatapu chutes. The full path down is not always visible.
Motatapu Basin: The Diamond chute 4
There was no area set aside and dedicated to the formation of moguls. Upper Mine Shaft in Saddle Basin, adjacent to the lift, was about as close as we could find to a mogul run. The formation of moguls requires lots of snow and skilled skier traffic.
Upper Mine Shaft (advances "red" run)
The entire resort is above the tree line, thus there is no tree skiing.
The prime "hike to ski" area is the Summit ridge at the top of the Saddle Basin Quad and is Avalanche controlled. Exit the lift to the skiers left and you will find the gate to "Towers Gate" which leads to Towers Ridge. The Towers Gate is not marked on the trail map but the terrain is marked as "Patrol and Avalanche Control Ends". Check the avalanche advisory for the day and bring your beacon, shovel and probe.
The Summit Gate at the top of Saddle Basin Quad (exit skiers right off of the lift)
The Towers Gate at the top of Saddle Basin Quad (exit skiers left off of the lift)
Don't ski gated terrain alone and take avalanche precautions. There is a fair amount of side-country avalanche controlled terrain accessible through gates 1 and 2 to the advanced steep chutes in Motatapu Basin (you may have a nasty hike out). For true out of bounds terrain one must hike further along the ridge line in either direction. The problem is that it does not lead to any exit or road for pickup. Stick to the side-country hikes, at least you can get home at the end of the day.
There are no terrain parks at Treble Cone, there are none marked on the trail map, none mentioned on the Treble Cone website, none that we could find skiing the mountain from top to bottom many times, none, just mountain terrain.
The mountain base facilities include a rentals shop, repair shop, retail store and cafeteria with all of the basic amenities to support your day. One should look to nearby Queenstown or Wanaka for anything more. The base clears out not long after the lifts close.
English is the dominant language in New Zealand with spotty support for other languages. There is ample acceptance of Visa and Mastercard as well as for Automated Teller Machines to access cash.
Retail shop in the base lodge of Treble Cone
Inside the retail accessories shop at the base of Treble Cone (sorry about the blurry photo). Limited selection.