NZSki reviews power at Remarks

Packed: A slice of Cardrona's record day yesterday

While most southern skifields surged with visitors yesterday, the Remarkables was struck by its third major power cut in five weeks.

Cardrona reported its busiest day yet and Treble Cone its busiest in 22 years.

Coronet Peak had to close its access road when its car parks filled up.

The Remarkables could not open until noon because of the power outage, which occurred just after midnight.

Since opening on June 10, the ski area has lost three and a-half days’ operation because of power supply issues.

Ski area boss Ross Lawrence says yesterday’s cut was caused by the failure of a connector on an overhead line.

The fault was not linked to the ones that caused last month’s cuts, but their regularity meant NZSki was undertaking a review of the power infrastructure.

One question to be put to contractors was whether some of that infrastructure was showing signs of age.

Two possums were blamed for a power cut that prevented the ski area opening on June 13, while an underground cable fault kept it closed on June 28 and 29.

The ongoing issues have a financial cost in lost ski pass sales and ”dented” the skifield’s reputation, Lawrence says.

He praises contractor Peak Power Services, whose staff member found the fault in the dark, allowing it to be repaired several hours earlier than expected.

It was frustrating the cut had affected a ”sunny day in the school holidays”, he says.

But 1500 visitors came up for the afternoon, which was extended by 30 minutes to 4.30pm.

The morning’s closure had a knock-on effect on other skifields in the district.

NZSki’s other Queenstown skifield, Coronet Peak, had to close its access road for part of yesterday morning after its car parks filled up.

Across the mountains, Cardrona Alpine Resort made history when it had its biggest crowd on the skifield.

More than 5500 people flocked to Cardrona after an unexpected storm delivered 20cm of new snow on Monday morning and the forecast was for perfect weather.

Cardrona Alpine Resort boss Bridget Legnavsky says the resort had to close the access road at the bottom for about an hour to process skiers on to the skifield.

The road reopened but only to visitors who had their own gear. Ski rental stock was depleted.

Treble Cone skifield recorded its largest number of guests since records began 22 years ago.

Marketing and sales boss Dayrel Williams says school holidays, 40cm of fresh untracked natural snow, The Remarkables opening at noon and Cardrona closing its access road all contributed to more than 3000 heading up the mountain.

She says Treble Cone visitors were shuttled up the mountain in vans and a bus after the access road and car parks reached capacity by noon.

Otago Daily Times