Queenstown slipped into the final week of the 2018 ski season yesterday with the closure of Coronet Peak skifield.
Hundreds of a die-hard skiers and snowboarders took to the slopes to make the most of spring conditions, many in fancy dress, the bravest attempting a water jump outside base building.
The skifield, particularly popular with local families, had extended its season by one week due to heavy snowfalls at the end of last month.
It was operating on a skeleton crew of 65-70 staff yesterday, compared to 450 in peak season.
NZSki’s other Queenstown field, The Remarkables, closes on Sunday, as does Real Journeys-owned Cardrona skifield between Queenstown and Wanaka.
Coronet Peak ski area manager Nigel Kerr said yesterday: “We got off to a good early start on June 2, mostly for season pass holders.
“Snowfall has been good this season but the key thing is it’s also been fine weather.
“It’s been low, light, winds through most of the season and very few weather events we’ve had to deal with. So we’ve had momentum and been consistent.
“Customers have got a lot of value, good skiing. When the Peak’s good, it’s great.”
Arthurs Point mum Valeria Bevan, originally from Slovakia, was enjoying the day with her son Ketah (9), his friend Lennon Cole-Bailey (10) and her dog Eddie.
“They’ve loved it,” she says.
“They usually ski but decided to learn snowboard and have loved every minute basically.
“They learned in one day.
“They spent the whole day on their arse but the last couple of runs [were] much better and they’ve been able to do it since then.
American adaptive ski-racer Patrick Halgren with a skier wearing a panda mask, at The Remarkables…
American adaptive ski-racer Patrick Halgren with a skier wearing a panda mask, at The Remarkables skifield on Saturday. Photo: the Remarkables
“It’s been a good season.”
NZSki has increased its full season 3 Peaks pass price by $200 for 2019. The full season triple pass covers the two Queenstown skifields and Canterbury’s Mt Hutt.
But it has frozen the earlybird offer at $649 for the 2019 season and released it earlier. There will also be an option to pay over six instalments.
NZSKI chief executive Paul Anderson said the overall goal was to keep the price that locals paid as low as possible, for as long as possible.
They will have January 31, 2019, to buy it.
The 3 Peaks pass increase was to reflect its value and “cover the inevitable cost increases we face as a business”.
Outfits at The Remarkables on Saturday’s ‘Svend It Day’ were just as colourful as those at Coronet yesterday.
Brightly-dressed skiers and snowboarders performed jumps and tricks into a large airbag to raise funds for American adaptive ski-racer Patrick Halgren who dreams of winning a gold medal at the 2022 Winter Paralympics in China.
He wants to honour the memory of his twin brother, Lucas “Sven” Halgren, who died in a motorcycle crash near Mount Cook in 2016.
The event raised more than $1600.
Meanwhile, Wanaka-based Para Alpine skier Adam Hall was awarded the title of Overall Athlete of the Year at the Snow Sports NZ Annual Awards Night held at the Lake Wanaka Centre, on Saturday night.
Queenstown teenager Alice Robinson won Alpine Ski Racer Athlete of the Year, Arrowtown’s Alison Duder was Women’s Masters Ski Racing Champion and Queenstown’s Geoff Hunt was Men’s Masters Ski Racing Champion.