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Under construction: Work's finally started on Coronet Peak's Upper Rude Rock trail, in the planning since 2005, which will open by year end

By TRACEY ROXBURGH

Construction started late last week on a new mountain biking trail at Queenstown’s Coronet Peak, which has been 16 years in the planning.

Department of Conservation (DoC) initially approved construction of the 3.3-kilometre grade 4 ‘Upper Rude Rock’ in 2005, along with the downhill and cross country trails.

Ski area manager Nigel Kerr says he understands after the latter two were built, management of the day decided to ‘‘take a breather’’ before cracking on with Upper Rude Rock, but didn’t get around to it.

In the interim, changes to the conservation management strategy put the kibosh on new
biking trails in the DoC estate.

Kerr says they applied for the trail anyway and, fortunately, because of the trail’s history, the department gave it the go-ahead.

It’s being built by Kepler Rek, with help from Elevate Trail Building’s Tom Hey.

Kerr says they’re pushing to get it complete for Coronet’s summer opening day, on December 11, though that’s weather-dependent.

At latest, it’ll be open by Christmas, he says.

On completion, it’ll connect to the world-renowned Rude Rock trail, before joining Hot Rod — which opened last summer — taking riders to the valley floor.

At 1200 metres, from top to bottom, it’s thought to be the longest vertical metre formed
single-track descent in New Zealand.

‘‘That’s a lot of single track … it’s very exciting.

‘‘It’s been in the [Queenstown Mountain Bike Club’s] 10-year strategic plan for about 10 years, I understand.

‘‘Good things take time.’’

From December 11, Coronet’s opening from 10am to 4pm every Friday to Monday, and 10am till 8pm every Thursday, but it’ll open daily from December 28 to January 11.

tracey.roxburgh@scene.co.nz