A MAMMOTH off-season project to transform a Queenstown skifield and access road is all but complete.
The Remarkables opens in 10 days after seven months of feverish work on $23 million improvements.
“It’s been a phenomenal project with an unmoveable deadline,” The Remarkables ski area manager Ross Lawrence says.
“We’ve had a very successful summer. We’ve come in under budget and on time. [It’s] a great achievement and we’re ready for the season now.”
The NZ Ski-owned skifield boasts a new 1.2km-long six-seater high-speed Curvey Basin, from the bottom of the expanded learners’ slopes at 1600m to a top terminal at 1900m – just below the ridgeline.
It will carry up to 2400 passengers per hour on 63 chairs to two new long winding runs – so far named Curvey Basin A and B.
The lift opens up 10 hectares of formed trails and, together with off-piste areas, increases the skifield’s capacity by 40 per cent.
“It’s been load-tested and signed off to New Zealand standards, so it’s ready to go,” Lawrence says.
Forty-eight new snow guns have also been installed, with water pipes and communications to each gun, along with a state-of-the-art new pump house drawing water from Lake Alta.
The first four kilometres of access road has been tar-sealed, with asphalt on heavy-wear sections, while at the top the road has been re-aligned. The car parks have been expanded, increasing capacity by 150 cars to 700 spaces.
“Earthworks started in November,” Lawrence says.
“The amount of work, people and machines has been incredible to bring together.
“The lift itself, for example, has 320 cubic metres of concrete in total at the base of its 14 towers.
“The snow guns were shipped from Italy, while three workers from the lift manufacturer Leitner-Poma came out from the US to help.”
Scores of workers from 10 different firms have brought the project to fruition – including BASE, Contrax, Fulton Hogan, Leitner-Poma, and TechnoAlpin.
Local firms involved include Allied Concrete, Queenstown Engineering and project management firm Arrow International.
“We’ve also worked closely with the Department of Conservation, especially on the pipe to Lake Alta,” Lawrence says.
NZSki has buried the section of pipe on its land and is working with DoC to bury the rest.
“Retired DoC ecologist Neil Simpson came up to have a look and said ‘when are you going to lay that pipe’. So we feel we’ve done a good job.”
Workers have also laid the foundations for the new base building coming next summer. That will bring the total spend to an estimated $45 million.
The Remarkables opens June 21.