NZSki has unveiled a plethora of improvements to Queenstown operations ahead of the upcoming winter season.
The firm has taken control of Coronet Peak ski field road in a bid to avoid a repeat of last winter’s transport debacle.
It will clear snow from the access road after council-contractors failed to show up after huge snow dumps overwhelmed Queenstown.
NZSki boss James Coddington announced the change at the bi-annual update to Queenstown Chamber of Commerce earlier this evening.
Coddington also detailed a host of improvements the firm has been working on over the summer.
They include physical improvements to ski runs and parks at The Remarkables and Coronet Peak, changes to the ‘mypass’ system, smartphone accessible websites and snow reports, cheap beginner lessons for locals, new ski run signs, multi-ride bus tickets, and more performance rental equipment.
NZ Ski has invested heavily in bulldozers and gritters to service the roads, along with a 57-seat bus, new 4WD and 2WD passenger trucks, more lease buses and new slope groomers.
Snow chain fitters will operate on roads to the ski fields, where there will be new car parks and road signs.
Coddington says: “We were certainly challenged last year in many respects.
“No more so than the transport. We had 26 days waiting for the snow to happen and when it did hit, boy did it hit.
“We were certainly caught out. So we’ve done a lot of work in the transport.”
NZski now has 10 4WD trucks, seven 2WD and the fleet overall has increased from 23 vehicles to 32 this year.
Coddington highlighted tourists’ inability to fit snow chains as a major problem.
“It clogged up the road. We saw them in the ditches; we saw them scrawled across the road, sometimes upside down – really challenging when you’re trying to operate a transport fleet up and down the road.”
Gates have been situated at the bottom of the ski roads, so they can be cleared, along with new LED signs communicating conditions.
The vehicle dispatch system and hotel direct services have also been refined.
Coddington also says after talking to airlines, travel firms and feeling the chill in the Queenstown air, the firm is very positive about the upcoming season.