Cardrona is known for that beautiful corduroy each winter, the great snowy runs, fantastic accommodation and the café stocked with seriously yummy food.
But in summer, dust is the new snow with an exciting range of activities on offer. One sunny Saturday, James and I took the shuttle from Queenstown to Cardrona to try out the latest on offer – mountain carting.
Mountain carting is luging for the adventurous. A custom made three-wheeled cart with impressive steering and pretty good breaks, built to hurtle down a mountain in thrilling fashion.
The week had been very warm, so staff kindly offered us boiler suits to prevent us from getting too dusty. Full face helmets were a must and James, an avid downhill biker, had brought along a flash pair of goggles. The goggles were probably not needed, but I felt suave looking the part.
There’s three sizes of cart available to suit the rider. All of the carts sit low to the ground and have a wide wheel base so they’re pretty stable and surprisingly comfortable to sit in.
The two-and-a-half-hour passes gave us time for about eight runs, including a lot of time spent chatting to the friendly lifties.
Two ski runs are utilised for the mountain carting – with added tyres and tape to mark out a course just wide enough for competitive racing and ‘eat my dust moments’. The easier trail utilises the Skyline Ridge run and a more advanced trail is via Weston’s Gap.
I’ve never been mountain carting before, but no experience is necessary; gravity does most of the work and by the third run, we were mountain carting like pros.
Let it be known to the world – I was champion mountain carter of the day. James was a bit put out by my sheer speed and agility on the carts.
After a hearty lunch in the café, we got passes for mountain biking and I hired a trail bike (a veeeery nice bike for a hire bike, I must add). I was never going to achieve mountain biking champion of the day, James is a big fan of downhill biking and was out hitting the advanced trails before I’d even figured out how to put on my knee pads.
Protective gear in place, I asked Cardona mountain biking guru Jacob for a lesson on how to navigate the runs.
Despite face planting on the easiest corner on the easiest run, Jacob was really patient and had me navigating the tracks with (relative) ease within no time. By the end of the lesson, he offered to guide me down an intermediate run, a first for me.
With Jacob’s tricks and knowledge under my hat, I navigated the intermediate run without falling off, face planting or stopping. I spent the rest of the afternoon perfecting my new skills and wondering how many more hours of practice it’ll take before I can beat James at mountain biking too… next time, James, next time…