Skint ski workers make do for now

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As Queenstown’s warm temperatures continue, spare a thought for 220 Coronet Peak staff who aren’t getting paid. 

The seasonal skifield workers were due to start work last weekend but because the mountain hasn’t yet opened due to lack of snow, they’re not earning money. 

Lifties, guest services and other crew often come to Queenstown just to work over winter and with no income, it makes living in the expensive resort a tough task. 

NZSki bosses have this week begun putting on free daily lunches, activities and training for their workers to help ease the pressure of not having wages. 

Soup, bread and barbeques take place at the Recreation Ground daily, plus the company provides transport to free or discounted activities. 

“We did make this very clear when everybody signed up,” NZSki boss James Coddington says. 

“We let them know that the weather was not looking favourable and that they should be saving their money and not going out every night and ensuring they’re budgeting very carefully. 

“There’s not a lot we can do about the weather, everyone appreciates that. But it’s certainly having a massive impact on everybody’s lives right now.” 

Till either consistent cold temperatures or enough snow arrives, Coronet Peak remains closed. 

Coddington adds: “It’s incredibly disappointing for not only the staff but also the guests who have travelled from Australia, the locals, local businesses and season pass holders.” 

More than 150 Australian pre-paid ski tourists have been refunded their passes. 

“Everyone is philosophical that we can’t control the weather,” Coddington says. 

“The weather will change and we are confident that we have the firepower and technology and when the weather allows, we will make snow.”