Queenstown ski giant freezes pass prices and dishes out $100 credits

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Queenstown’s snowfield op­­er­­ator plans doling out $100 credits to loyal season pass holders who sign up for next winter. 

NZSki, operator of Coronet Peak and The Remarkables, is introducing the $100 sweetener for skiers and riders who’ve held passes in 2010 or 2011 – and buy one for 2012. 

The company, heavily criticised for a 2011 season pass price hike, is also freezing pass prices for 2012. 

“We have absolutely taken on board the feedback from the community,” NZSki boss James Coddington says. 

“It’s a desire from our company to deliver the best product at the best price. We also wanted to give something back to those who have supported us over the years,” Coddington says. 

Queenstown 2012 season pass holders – for Coronet and The Remarkables – will get the $100 credit while ticketholders for just The Remarkables will get $50. 

The cashbacks aren’t a discount off the season pass price – they’ll be loaded onto NZSki Mypass cards which are being monetised for the first time. 

The personalised cards, which until now have been used for chairlift access and to check things like metres skied, will be opened up to buy food and beverage, rental equipment, lessons and first-tracks day passes. 

NZSki’s generosity follows a controversial $90 price hike in season tickets for the 2011 season that caused a public outcry. The Queenstown Pass earlybird price jumped 11 per cent from $799 in 2010 to $889. 

The company has chosen to publicise its 2012 season pass prices now – instead of a traditional February announcement – to give snow lovers up to eight months to pay it off. 

NZSki marketing boss Craig Douglas says there’s no pressure to buy now. 

“We’ve been thinking about this throughout the season and now that we’ve made our decisions we wanted to let people know as early as possible. It also provides the opportunity for people to drip-feed payments throughout summer.” 

The existing three-month payment plan will also be available from February, with the discounted pass price increasing to the full cost from mid-March. 

The company’s other ski field, Mt Hutt in Canterbury, will also freeze its season prices and offer the same $100 credit. 

NZSki has also decided to discount blocks of five group lessons by 37 per cent for earlybird pass purchasers. 

Holders of the newly monetised Mypass, introduced in 2010, will also next year be able to load money onto them via the internet. 

“The idea is people won’t have to take money up to the skifield,” Coddington says.