Kids take to slopes

Big boost: School kids at Coronet Peak PICTURE: CHRIS HOOPMAN/NZSKI

The number of local kiddies learning to ski is on the up.

More than 1800 youngsters took part in school skiing programmes this year at The Remarkables and Coronet Peak skifields.

That’s 257 school groups and 385 hours a week of instruction.

Numbers have tripled in the last five years, NZSki big cheese Paul Anderson says.

He’s stoked with the number of yellow training vests on the mountain.

“It is a way of life in the Wakatipu Basin and it is an important element for us to reach out to schools. We work closely with them to make sure programmes we’ve got suit them and work in with their curriculum.”

Logistically it takes a bit of work as children are ferried up the mountain, kitted out with gear and split into lesson groups.

Anderson says it is worth the effort – seeing the little ‘uns on snow and getting stuck in.

The programme is subsidised, working out at about $25 per day, including transport, gear hire, lift pass and lessons.

Anderson thinks it will have a knock-on effect and encourage more local families to ski – particularly those who are new to the area, taking advantage of discounted annual passes.