NZSki is going “back to its roots” and pledging to look after locals next winter.
The owners of Coronet Peak and The Remarkables ski areas are creating a “Queenstown” earlybird season pass to offer the best price to locals and avoid outside ski visitors from reaping the benefits.
At a season debrief two weeks ago, NZSki boss James Coddington told about 90 businesspeople that the local pass will only apply to residents living in Otago and Southland.
A separate Canterbury locals’ earlybird pass will be available for the company’s other mountain, Mt Hutt.
Out-of-towners like Aucklanders, plus Australians and other overseas tourists won’t have access to the cheap price unless they bought a season pass in 2010 – instead they’ll pay full price following the locals’ earlybird purchasing period in February/March.
“That was never the intention of an earlybird pass,” Coddington says of overseas skiers and snowboarders taking advantage of the cheaper price for their Queenstown holidays.
“It’s very much about the locals. We are getting back to the roots of why season passes are designed.”
Non-locals who own property in Queenstown will also be able to benefit.
Coddington won’t reveal prices just yet but says “I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised”.
New sales and marketing manager Craig Douglas told the meeting that the all-important Australian market is still forecast to grow.
“There are one million skiers and boarders in Australia. We are getting 10 per cent of that now but there’s huge growth predicted.”
Eighty per cent of Aussie ski visitors stay in Queenstown for seven days or more, skiing four to seven of those days. They spend $2400 per person – twice that of non-skiers.
Aussies are the predominant users of local ski areas – 58 per cent of all Coronet Peak’s customers are from across the Tasman, while Kiwis make up 29 per cent.
At The Remarkables, 68 per cent of customers are from Australia while 20 per cent are from New Zealand.
The next biggest market is from UK and Ireland.