Skip the lift: Catskiing with Soho by Amisfield

Fresh turns, knowledgeable guides and a decadent lunch with Amisfield wine pairings. Level up your ski day with catskiing in Soho Basin. 

Photos by Michael Bollen

There’s no denying that Wanaka is home to some epic skiing terrain, both in and out of the resorts. If you find yourself wanting to wander outside the boundary lines, we highly recommend Soho Basin. With over 1800 acres of skiable terrain, Soho by Amisfield catskiing is an unspoiled playground ripe for indulgence.

And as if the riding isn’t enough, alpine fine dining awaits you post-skiing, with an Amisfield three-course lunch with wine pairings.

Do we have your attention? Good. Let us show you more.

Kicking things off

We were lucky enough to wake up to the makings of a beautiful bluebird day on the morning of our catskiing experience. Driving up the Cardrona Alpine Resort road, the pink sunrise began to crest the valley’s opposing mountainscape, pre-empting the day’s clear skies.

Breakfast by Amisfield at Soho Basin catskiing in Wanaka, New Zealand

We arrived at the hut to a colourful breakfast spread, complete with speciality coffee. Chef Giulio whipped up some perfectly seasoned scrambled eggs for those riders who wanted a little extra protein and after a quick safety briefing, we were loaded up into the cat.

Testing the waters

We began our first few laps at lower altitudes and worked our way gradually upward from there. The previous night’s chill had frozen the top layer of the snow, so the powderhounds of the group looked to our guides’ expertise to help us find the fluffy sections. Luckily, Steve, Mags and Rachel are seasoned pros and were able to point us in the right direction.

Skiers in Soho Basin catskiing in Wanaka, New Zealand

Whoops and hollers began to fill the quiet morning air as we found the sweet spots, carving designs into the untouched snow as we made our way down to waiting cat.

To the summit

The highlight of the morning came as cat driver Geoff effortlessly delivered us to the true summit of Mt. Cardrona. Below us lay the full expanse of Soho Basin and an uninterrupted descent of some 500m.

Skier looks at views on Cardrona Summit with Soho Basin catskiing in New Zealand

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Lunch is served

After cruising down from the summit, we arrived back at the hut for lunch. Greeted with some bubbles, we warmed up by the fire as we waited for the first course to be served.

Catskiing in Soho chef2Catskiing in Soho lunch break3Catskiing in Soho bar2

We started with a Jerusalem artichoke bisque with white truffle cream, followed by the main course; Wagyu and black truffle stroganoff. We chose to pair our lunch with the 2016 vintage of Amisfield's RKV Reserve Pinot Noir Amisfield (which we were told is made from only the very best fruit selected from Amisfield’s very best spot).

Lunch at Soho Basin catskiing in Wanaka, New Zealand

We capped off the meal with apple crumble and whiskey cream for dessert, before anxiously loading the cat again and heading back into the mountains – the early afternoon corn snow was waiting.

Now for the real fun

With the afternoon sun graciously softening the snow’s surface, plus the addition of some lunch and bubbles in our systems; things really kicked off for our afternoon of skiing. Our guides found us some incredible pockets of powder and natural features that made the terrain feel like an unending playground. Even when we hit the last lap, the group was begging for just one more lap – even with our bodies whining at us to stop.

Skier in Soho Basin in Wanaka, New Zealand

This is how we après

We arrived back at the hut again for some marshmallow roasting and more bubbles. Nestled up in beanbag chairs overlooking the incredible view, we buzzed from the afterglow of the incredible day.

Apres charcuterie at Soho Basin catskiing in Wanaka, New ZealandDrinking champagne in beanbag chairs at Soho Basin catskiing

If you’re in the market for a truly unique backcountry day, Soho Basin is the experience of a lifetime. To book your own Soho adventure, click here.