Queenstown’s NZSki slams snow survey

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Queenstown’s NZSki is rubbishing an official snow tourism survey which claims more customers plan heading to North Island slopes this winter. 

The Automobile Association’s latest ‘Mood of the Traveller’ survey ranks Queenstown’s Coronet Peak fifth on a list of “where people are actually going” to ski – behind the North Island’s Whakapapa (No. 1) and Turoa, Canterbury’s Mount Hutt and Wanaka’s Cardrona. 

For “where people are actually going” for snowboarding, Whaka-papa and Turoa are first and second, followed by Cardrona, Coronet Peak and Manganui. NZSki’s snowboarder-targeted field The Remarkables doesn’t make the list. The Remarkables also misses out on the top five “best places to go” snowboarding. 

Like AA’s June 2011 survey, Coronet Peak stays number one for “best place to go” skiing. 

The Tourism Industry Association released the results at annual tourism pow-wow TRENZ held in Queenstown two weeks ago. Colmar Brunton interviewed 1032 Kiwis aged 18-plus online for a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 per cent. 

NZSki chief executive James Coddington says he doesn’t believe the survey is credible. 

“We know the numbers for what every ski resort does from last winter – we all share them at the end of each season – so that’s why we know it’s not a very accurate report of where people are skiing,” he says. 

“To have Mount Hutt ahead of Coronet Peak as to where they’re actually skiing is interesting. We know Coronet Peak numbers are about 300 per cent higher than Mount Hutt numbers.” 

NZSki doesn’t publicly release its customer numbers. 

Coddington adds: “It’s ob­­­­viously a North Island survey so people surveyed are up in Auckland. That definitely skews the response. It’s the same survey that’s put Wellington as the No. 1 place to visit in winter for two years. 

“Based on their numbers and the actual numbers of where people go, we don’t believe it is credible. Our focus is on delivering the very best product where we can and people will ultimately vote with their feet,” he says. 

According to the survey, seven per cent of Kiwis will ski, four per cent will snowboard and two per cent will do both. Of those intending to hit the slopes, 63 per cent say the activity’s high cost stops others going more often. 

Overall, it says more than 40,000 Kiwis are expecting to hit the slopes for the first time. 

Best place to go skiing
1 Coronet Peak (Queenstown)
2 Treble Cone (Wanaka)
3 Cardrona (near Wanaka)
4 Whakapapa (North Island)
5 The Remarkables (Queenstown) 

Best place to go snowboarding
1 Cardrona
2 Coronet Peak
3 Whakapapa
4 Turoa (North Island)
5 Treble Cone
Source: Automobile Association’s Colmar Brunton survey of more than 1000 Kiwis

Snow bunnies can grab a bargain when Wakatipu Ski Club holds its huge annual ski sale on Sunday. The sale, at the Events Centre, is a major fund­raiser for the club. Sellers are to drop off their gear from 9-11am. The sale is from 1.30-3.30pm