New ski area opens near Queenstown


Skiers can now shred the powder at an exclusive new ski area on previously untouched mountain land near Queenstown.

Soho Basin, boasting skiing similar to pioneering days of the sport in the 1930s, is nestled beside Cardrona.

It is open in a limited capacity – but be prepared to shell out, with a four-run half day costing $295 per person and a full day priced at $580.

Experienced ski area manager Hamish McCrostie, who ran Coronet Peak and The Remarkables in the past, said the company was going “slowly, slowly” but the idea was to develop Soho into a fully-fledged ski area.

The land is crown-owned and has been used by heli-ski companies and back country skiers for years.

“Soho Basin has been kept a secret for 85 years,” their website stated.

“Now it’s your chance to be a skiing and riding pioneer in these mountains.”

The terrain offers a vertical drop of 500 metres, with about 264 hectares of terrain, in the three linked basins of Little Willow, Big Willow and Soho.

Skiers and snowboarders are taken to the top of the slope in the cab of a snow cat after each run but, in time, it is expected chairlifts will be erected on site.

Soho Basin is owned by developer John Darby.

It is understood developer John Darby previously held the pastoral lease to the site and has since sold it, but retained the rights to develop a ski field there.

Darby was infrastructure supervisor for The Remarkables skifield development in the 1980s.