Tyre giant Pirelli is firmly backing Queenstowner Geoff Matthews’s bid for an exemption from fitting chains on skifield roads.
The international manufacturer contacted Matthews after spotting a Mountain Scene story last month about his rebellion against putting chains over his $6000 winter tyres.
“We are very much against the fitment of chains to winter tyres,” Pirelli Germany test manager Sven Stutz says in emails to Matthews.
Chains fitted on winter tyres put “the safety of the user at risk”, he says.
Team Pirelli regularly tests at Cardrona’s Southern Hemisphere Proving Grounds, Stutz adds: “I believe education on this subject in New Zealand is necessary as every year we witness the results of this ignorance.”
Matthews has forwarded Pirelli’s plea to Coronet Peak boss Hamish McCrostie, who says the skifield is powerless to grant chain exemptions because its access road comes under Queenstown Lakes District Council jurisdiction.
McCrostie advises Matthews to lobby the council for a bylaw change and exemption procedure for vehicles with suitable snow tyres.