A Braveskimom.com interview with Jessica Podzebenko, a mom and native New Zealander now living in Australia.
Why Treble Cone?
For me, it’s my happy place where history, location and serious skiing collide.
I have been coming to Treble Cone since my University days in Christchurch (South Island, NZ). We are lucky that my parents now have a holiday house in the nearby town of Wanaka, so it has become a bit of a ski pilgrimage for my husband, children and myself to travel there from Australia every August.
Aside from my connection with the mountain, Treble Cone is my pick in New Zealand for its challenging and un-crowded terrain, excellent off-piste skiing and generally great snow (although the coverage in the lower mountain can be a bit unpredictable some seasons). Treble Cone allows me to get my much-needed skiing ‘fix’, while also soaking up some incredible scenery – you could say Treble Cone has become my spiritual skiing home.
The surrounding Central Otago area is also amazing – truly one of the most invigorating, beautiful places in the world with plenty of outdoor activities aside from skiing.
What makes Treble Cone good for family skiing?
By way of disclaimer, Treble Cone is not a big, fancy resort and lacks some of the high-end facilities/infrastructure that you would find in some of the cash-rich, well-developed Northern Hemisphere resorts. However, it is a true skier’s mountain for families who really love to ski without pretension or too many bells and whistles.
The main café has a superb deck overlooking the beginner slopes (a magic carpet and ski platter) – so you can watch your little one while eating lunch and having a beer in the sun. For really little ones who don’t ski, the resort is used to babies in strollers being pushed around the base and sleeping in the café. There is also a good, small childcare facility in the base building that caters for kids over 3, and kids under 3 if accompanied by an adult.
Our 3-year-old son has been going to Treble Cone every year since he was 3 months old – the first year I would breastfeed him in the café, and then head out for an hour or 2 skiing while he slept perfectly in his stroller in the café! The next few years were spent tobogganing, and this year he learned to ski at the excellent Treble Cone ski school and, separately, hopped on a snowboard like a natural.
We didn’t take this option, but the ‘Kitty Cat Club’ offers young children a combination of childcare and a semi-private lesson (max 3 hours in total), while the ‘TC Cat Club’ offers older kids a full day ski school program.
Families also include grandparents, and my parents still love to ski at Treble Cone as it offers runs for everyone, and we can all reunite at the base café easily for lunch.
What would make Treble Cone even better?
An interchangeable parent ski pass would be fantastic…. And a more comprehensive childcare offering which allows you to leave younger kids in care for longer than the limited few hours currently.
Where’s your “secret” stash?
Motatapu Chutes on a powder day…. Watch out for the Keas!
Any advice for families coming to Treble Cone?
Make sure you are aware of the nature of the mountain access road, and have an appropriate vehicle and confident driver to get you up the hill! Alternatively, shuttle buses do run to and from Wanaka town.
Where do you like to eat?
The café at the base of the mountain (it also happens to be the only place to eat at TC!). Obviously there are plenty of options in Wanaka itself – the Federal Diner has to be top of my list there.
How about a place to rest your head?
There is no on-mountain accommodation at Treble Cone. Most skiers stay or live in the nearby town of Wanaka (about 30 minutes drive from the mountain). Some people travel further from Queenstown, but I wouldn’t recommend that for young families.
What makes this resort unique?
The views, the challenging terrain and the location – Treble Cone sits at the top of a slightly harrowing gravel road with hairpin bends, overlooking the amazing Matukituki Valley and back to Wanaka. What you get is utter serenity combined with the best skiing out of all NZ commercial fields.
What is your favorite memory of Treble Cone?
Driving up the Treble Cone road for the first time with a baby in the backseat (and husband in the front), seeing my son on skis here for the first time, University holidays spent skiing and après-skiing with friends, and the view – every time it gets me.
Any fantastic family skiing tips?
Pull-ups for a 3-year-old toilet trained boy! Snacks and more snacks. Managing a parent’s expectations of how much skiing you might get…. For me, any run without dependents is a bonus!
What is your favorite thing about family skiing?
Seeing my extended family again and knowing we are all doing something together that we truly love, and importantly the family ski races which invariably take place!
Jessica Podzebenko is a New Zealand-born mother of 2 young boys, married to an Australian and living in Sydney, Australia. She currently works as a lawyer part-time, and dreams of how skiing can realistically become more of a part of her daily life.
- Why Our Family Loves to Ski Coronet Peak, New Zealand, June 12, 2012.
- Why My Family Loves Skiing (and Riding) Perisher, Australia, August 4, 2011.
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