Skifields’ $6m summer touch-up

SHARE

Queenstown’s skifields are getting a $6 million upgrade.

NZSki, which operates The Remarkables and Coronet Peak in the resort, is forking out for a host of improvements.

They include a new $500,000 medical centre and patrol base at The Remarks, replacing facilities in the old base building demolished earlier this summer.

There’ll also be a new transparent tunnel over the double conveyor belt on the learners’ slope – the first double in New Zealand.

Curvey Basin trail benefits from 39 replacement snowmaking guns, and there’s two new $500,000 Kassbohrer PB600 winch cats to groom the slopes.

About 5.5km of the access road gets a second and final coat of chip seal, sealing three-quarters of the road. It’ll be managed with new snow-clearing equipment.

Across the valley at Coronet Peak, NZSki is doubling the snowmaking capacity directly outside the base building and in the beginners’ fun zone.

It’s upgrading the T-bar drive at Rocky Gully, upgrading the restaurant and cafe, and renewing its rental equipment.

And for thrillseekers, it plans new freestyle features under the Coronet Express chairlift.

That’s a quiet year for NZSki compared to the previous two summers, when it splashed $45m on The Remarks alone for a new base building, chairlift and road seal.

NZSki boss Paul Anderson says: “It’s still very significant though.

“Our focus is on improving the on-mountain product.

“We need to ensure the locals see [the fields] as the premium places to ski out of Queenstown – and that we stay the number one choice for ski holidays in Australasia, from Australia in particular.”

Anderson says the company’s lucky to have shareholders who are prepared to continue to invest.

Anderson says it’s mulling over building a chairlift in ‘the Doolans’, over The Remarks saddle.

“We think the terrain is magnificent.

“The Remarkables offers some of the best hiking and backcountry skiing in NZ but we would love to make that more accessible by putting some lifts in.”

That’s a longer-term proposition though, he says. There are no immediate plans to seal the final quarter of The Remarks access road, either.

Another change is new freeski and snowboard development programmes, which are run in association with the newly-formed Queenstown Snow Sports Academy.

Meanwhile, The Kruiser school holiday programme at The Remarks will be canned in favour of a five-day mountain holiday programme at Coronet.

paul.taylor@scene.co.nz