NZSki’s season report

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Queenstown’s skifields were kept open for all but five days during one of the warmest ski seasons on record.

NZSki bosses say investment in its local snow fields Coronet Peak and The Remarkables enabled staff to overcome Mother Nature.

Snow guns helped Coronet Peak remain open except for three days of the season, although it did close a week earlier than planned.

The Remarkables took up the slack, retaining its snow and opening a week longer. It was closed twice due to high winds.

Coronet Peak ski area manager Ross Copland: “You can’t change the weather, you can only react to what’s in front of you. A massive highlight was getting through the Winter Games in the fashion we did – we had one delayed event, no cancelled events, and that was in the warmest year on record for Queenstown, I believe. To pull that off is a credit to the team.

“It demonstrates the investment we’ve made in the hill and the product with snowmaking and all those things that allow us to be very consistent.”

NZSki marketing boss Craig Douglas says numbers were down at Coronet Peak but increased numbers of skiers and boarders at The Remarkables made up for it.

The company plans a sizeable improvement to The Remarkables for 2014 with a six-seater chairlift. Part of a multimillion development, the 1.3km Curvy Basin lift will run from the bottom of the two carparks at 1600m to almost the top of the mountain at 1900m.

Douglas: “We’re in the final stages of negotiating with lift manufacturers. The following summer we’re looking at the base building.”

The chairlift will increase the total skiable area by 15 per cent with capacity for 18 extra snow guns on the upper trail alone.

Douglas was bullish about the resort’s ability to attract Aussies, noting the airport’s ever-improving passenger statistics.