Skiers plucked from chairlift


Thirteen people had to be roped down from a Queenstown ski chairlift after 150kmh gusts blew through Coronet Peak.

The skiers and snowboarders were going up on the skifield’s main chairlift for “first tracks” at 8.30am on Saturday.

NZSki’s Coronet Peak ski area manager Ross Copland says chairlifts automatically slow or stop in high winds for safety reasons.

Ski patrollers lowered the 13 down over two hours.

They were ferried back down the mountain in a snowcat groomer.

No-one was injured.

Copland says the wind was stronger than predicted – some of the strongest gusts in his four years on the mountain.

“It was unusual because it happened so quickly,” he says.

“You usually get a couple of gusts and can get people off the lifts and then stop them. But there wasn’t the chance to do that.”

The skifield remained closed for the rest of the day and at night because of both “unsafe” winds and showers.

Coronet Peak reopened yesterday morning.

Otago Daily Times