Cardrona Alpine Resort, New Zealand, Employee Charged as Australians Admit to Free Skiing Scam

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Cardrona New Zealand
Cardrona, New Zealand.

Four Australian skiers have admitted to using free passes to ski at Cardrona Alpine Resort in Wānaka, New Zealand, obtained dishonestly through a resort employee. The individuals admitted their wrongdoing between August 31 and September 3 in Queenstown District Court, Debbie Jamieson reports for

Judge Russell Walker informed the defendants that their actions were dishonest and aimed at securing a few days of free skiing. In light of their actions, the four have repaid the ski area $160 per day and have made charitable donations to the Salvation Army.

The skiers had repaid their dues and contributed to charity, so Judge Walker discharged them without conviction. The defendants would have been eligible for police diversion, but the time frame did not permit this before their return to Australia.

According to a police summary, Michelle Nguyen, 34, who worked for Cardrona Ski Field, provided the passes. Nguyen was charged with dishonestly using a Cardrona ski pass and accessing the resort’s computer to provide the free passes. She is due in court on October 16th.

According to Wikipedia, Cardrona Alpine Resort is an alpine resort in New Zealand’s South Island. The ski field ranges from 4,130 feet (1,260m) to 6,100 feet (1,860m). The distribution of slopes is 20% beginner, 25% intermediate, 30% advanced, and 25% expert. There are two detachable quad chairlifts, two fixed-grip quad chairlifts, one detachable express chondola, three surface conveyor learner lifts, and one platter lift to service the halfpipes and big air jump. Snowmaking supplements the 115″ (290cm) average annual snowfall. Freestyle Snowboarding and skiing are well catered for with two half pipes and four terrain parks. There is also a “high-performance center” that trains more advanced skiers and snowboarders. Families with infants and young children can use childcare facilities provided by the Cardrona Nursery and Ski Kindy.

The resort is located near Wānaka, a 5.5-hour drive from Christchurch, a three-hour drive from Dunedin, and a 50-minute drive from Queenstown. On-mountain accommodation is provided in the form of 15 self-contained apartments.

Cardrona trail map
Cardrona Alpine Resort 2023 trail map.

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