Hopes for Coronet reopening


Lack of snow has forced the temporary closure of Coronet Peak skifield, near Queenstown.

The decision has left hundreds of skifield workers on limited hours and some WinterFest events have been rescheduled to the Remarkables ski area.

NZSki boss Paul Anderson hopes the field will reopen this weekend.

Coronet Peak opened on June 11 but unseasonable weather has stripped the mountain of snow.

The three events relocating are this weekend’s Mountain Bikes on Snow and Skin to the Summit, and Dog Derby next Thursday.

Winter Festival director Lisa Buckingham hopes for a change in the weather conditions and would reassess the situation next week.

Anderson says the field is operating on a day-to-day basis.

It’s unlikely to reopen today but he’s confident a cold snap is on the way.

“[On Friday] we might get the opportunity to push some snow in and fix some of those bare patches. There is a possibility we will be back up running for the weekend.”

He confirms the closure means “a couple of hundred” staff are on limited hours.

Wherever possible, NZSki would redeploy staff.

“Staff welfare and retention are top of mind for us.

“We need these guys to hang around, and we need them to be able to pay their rent and feed themselves.”

“We have an obligation to pay a certain number of hours per week depending on the different contracts … The goal is to get them all back working as soon as we can.”

Anderson says workers are warned pre-season that hours are dependent on weather conditions and business levels.

Staff were told to bring enough money to plan accordingly but he understood it’s a tough time for them.

Salvation Army community worker Hine Marchand says an extended closure could leave seasonal workers feeling the pinch.

She didn’t expect to see them for “a week or so” but anticipated support might be required should it continue.

Otago Daily Times