New joint-mountain venture ‘no cure’ for business levels

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A joint initiative between two battling Wanaka ski fields isn’t an attempted cure for a dip in business, according to one mountain.

Treble Cone and Snow Park have joined forces to come up with the Park ‘n’ Powder upgrade pass for earlybird season ticket holders, offering unlimited access to both mountains.

It’s the first time the two separately-owned resorts – which have both taken a hit in patronage in recent years – have worked together.

Treble Cone spokesman Nigel Kerr says the idea is “irrelevant” to helping claw back business.

“I don’t see this message as being a panacea for business levels or as building a better, stronger offering for what’s already [there].

“We’ve made a huge effort to keep the customers we’ve got. Let’s make the relationships stronger and make the experience better all the time. At Treble Cone the goal is about improving the relationship with our core customers because they are so important to us – more so than the inbound tourism focus.”

He hopes the joint pass scheme will lead to further collaboration between the two ski areas – but a merger is out of the question.

“We’ve got to build trust, and working together in this way…it is a start. The ski areas are so different. We’re at the other end of the market really.”

Snow Park NZ operations manager Sam Lee says: “Both mountains have different weather patterns and it will give seasons pass holders more flexibility from day to day.”

Kerr’s “yet to find out” whether the price – $1345 – will be welcomed by skiers and snowboarders.

“We’ll be looking at the uptake and learning from it. We can’t auction these things and figure out the market price on it.

“We’ve put a value on what we think is fair and reasonable for the range of offering that you get from it. Let’s see what the market tells us.”

The price is a $276 increase on Treble Cone earlybird passes and up $596 for Snow Park earlybird pass holders.

Both mountains are also offering a three-day pass upgrade – it costs an extra $200 to ride Treble Cone for three days with a Snow Park season pass and a further $150 for Treble Cone pass holders to head to Snow Park.