Megabucks Queenstown skifield boost takes shape

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A MULTI-MILLION dollar chairlift development at a Queenstown ski area is taking shape with huge towers – including one 16-metres high – being erected.

Ski field operator NZSki has brought in a 40-tonne crane to handle the installation of the towers and a terminal up The Remarkables.

The investment in the high-speed six-seater is just one part of a substantial upgrade at The Remarkables, where a major project to seal the lower part of the gravel access road has begun. NZSki revealed in February it plans to seal the first four kilometres in bitumen – and the entire 13.8km trail to the skifield base within a couple of years.

Latest developments also include road re-alignment, snow-making expansion, more car parking and trail growth – part of a $45 million spend all up, increasing visitor capacity by 1000 more per day.

A team of eight from internationally-renowned cable transport company Leitner-Poma, have been working with ski area staff for three months to carry out chairlift project.

The Remarkables ski area manager Ross Lawrence says he’s hugely excited with progress given engineering complexities involved.

Lawrence says terminal foundations at each end of the 1.2km chairlift required 95 cubic metres of concrete and each tower foundation had 12 cubic metres.

“Getting the towers up is a huge milestone for us and it’s all really exciting. You can start to get a really good idea of what the lift and trails will look like in the middle of winter.”

Once finished, the Curvey Basin chairlift will carry a total of 63 six-seater chairs enabling up to 2400 passengers per hour.

It opens a further 10.1 hectares of formed trails and together with increased off-piste opportunities, increases the ski area’s capacity by 40 per cent.

A new trail map has been created for The Remarkables showing the line of the new lift and runs to be accessed.

All the towers are due to be installed by early May, with the cable being hauled along the assemblies soon after.

Another group of staff will then run electrical services to the lift, and commissioning is scheduled for the start of June.

The Remarkables ski area is scheduled to open on June 21.