All ski field restrictions lifted
Posted at 6:00am Thursday 18 Jun, 2020 | By Joanna Perry firstname.lastname@example.org
From midnight on June 9, as the country dropped to Alert Level 1, the last remaining restrictions on ski fields were lifted, and hopes for Wānaka's ski season became a reality.
“We're on the final stretch now,” read a Lake Wānaka Tourism (LWT) update. “And there's snow on the mountains!”
Snow Farm NZ will be the first of the southern mountains to open this Friday, June 19, closely followed by Cardrona Alpine Resort on June 26, and Treble Cone on June 27.
Cardrona Alpine Resorts (Cardrona and TC) confirmed that, because they were expecting around 50 per cent of their usual visitors, there would still be a few changes to operations at Level 1.
“The biggest difference is that we won't have as many staff as normal, so we appreciate in advance your patience and kindness with our whanau as they adapt to the changes this season,” read their update.
Across both mountains, the plan is to open all chairlifts apart from Valley View Quad at Cardrona, and seven of eight food and beverage outlets will be open at Cardrona. The resorts have also committed to introducing some exciting new features for their 40th anniversary, including new water stations for BYO water bottles (to help them with providing zero plastic ones) organic coffee and a limited edition Cardrona 40th Anniversary Hazy Pale Ale.
Wānaka's Heli-Ski operators have also confirmed they will be fully operational. Southern Lakes Heliski promised “no queues or crowds, just pristine terrain and big smiles,” whilst Harris Mountains Heli-ski manager Hugh Barnard said “if you've ever thought about heli-skiing, it's a great year to go” with the added flexibility and smaller ski groups that the quieter season would bring when it starts up in July.
With 70 percent of their usual market being international, Barnard was nevertheless enthusiastic about the growth of domestic tourism that is already being seen across the country, and said he expected support from Kiwis who usually took ski holidays to the northern hemisphere or did not ski every year. “All our Kiwi guests are still intending to come,” he said. “Booking in the sector is still strong, it's just a smaller sector.”
Barnard added that there were also set to be discounts for locals and Kiwis, as well as partnership deals for Cardrona Alpine Resorts passholders.
And with Snow Farm extending their pre-season pass sale until June 18, and Cardrona continuing their multi-day pass sale until June 26, “There's only one thing left to ask,” said LTW, “when are you coming down here?”
Read edition 979 of the Wānaka Sun here.