One of the most common questions we are asked is “What do you do in the summer?” Usually the answer is that we plan and prep for winter, but now we have an answer that is almost as unique as the Ice Castles itselves. This past summer we built an Ice Castle at the Cardrona Ski Field in New Zealand and it turned out to be pretty amazing.
Cardrona is a hamlet in the Cardrona Valley, on New Zealand’s South Island. It lies atop the Crown Range, a steep, mountainous route between Queenstown and Wanaka. Cardrona Alpine Resort has everything that an outdoor enthusiast could dream of. Breathtaking scenery, endless terrain parks, and most importantly- cold enough temperatures to build an Ice Castle!
Having the opportunity to work with the incredible people of Cardrona was one we will cherish for years to come. The employees have hearts of gold, and were so accommodating to the unusual requests that come with building an Ice Castle at a ski resort.
If you ever have the opportunity to visit the south island of New Zealand, checking out the Cardrona Ski Field is a MUST! Really, how many people (from the Northern Hemisphere) can say they went skiing in July?! You can find more information about Cardrona here: https://www.cardrona.com.
We stayed in an Airbnb in Wanaka, about 40 minutes north of Cardrona. Midway, Utah site manager, Jesse Stone, had quite the experience converting to the metric system upon arriving in New Zealand. It wasn’t just the metric system that threw us off- driving on the left side of the road definitely took some getting used to!
The New Zealand experience was amazing. We are excited to see what the future holds with Ice Castles in New Zealand.
Jesse enjoys the gorgeous views as he prepares the water manifold to be taken up to the site. The temperatures varied significantly in the short distance from where he lived in Wanaka, to the Ice Castle on top of the mountain.
Jesse working on site in Cardrona.
The views on the drive from Wanaka to the Cardrona Ski Field were amazing.
Jesse’s family exploring the island. Amazing is everywhere you look in New Zealand.
Lighting up the mini castle with “aquatic runway lights”. We did a lot of improvising- as we didn’t have the same resources that we do in the Northern Hemisphere.
Queenstown, a bigger city and major tourist destination near Cardrona, was a frequent stop to pick up tools and other supplies for the castle.
Halfway through the build.
Jesse with his wife, Ashly and daughter Jane, for the Cardrona Opening Ceremony. They got to see the Haka performed by the Mt Aspiring College students, an awesome experience!
Jesse was thrilled with the icicle harvest!