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1/09/2014

Wanaka skifields launch a competing credit pass

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Cardrona Alpine Resort is gearing up for the start of its winter season, which begins tomorrow. This photo overlooking the McDougall’s and Whitestar Express quads was snapped on Tuesday after recent fresh snowfall. Snow-making has helped produce a good base on main trails and there’ll be limited off-piste riding. Cardrona’s Captain’s Basin quad is expected to open this coming Monday. Snow Park NZ is also scheduled to open on Monday while Treble Cone is expected to open Thursday next week. Queenstown skifields Coronet Peak and The Remarkables opened during the past two weekends.

Wanaka skifields have launch­­­­­ed a product to compete with NZSki’s NZSuperPass in a bid to target more overseas tourists. 

Cardrona Alpine Resort and Treble Cone have a new eight-mountain pass spanning Wanaka, Mac­kenzie Country and Canter­bury skifields – it also incorporates a raft of activity providers in Queenstown and surrounding areas. 

Called OnePassNZ, it’s similar to NZSki’s NZSuperPass – which can be used to make bookings at Coronet Peak, The Remarkables, Mt Hutt and three other South Island ski areas, plus activity providers in Queenstown, Wanaka and Methven. 

Besides Cardrona and Treble Cone, the OnePass includes access to Wanaka fields Snow Park NZ and Snow Farm, Mackenzie’s Ohau, Roundhill Mt Dobson and Canterbury’s Porters. 

Skiers and riders can load credit or “snow dollars” on to their OnePass card and via radio frequency technology it can be used on the mountain to buy lift passes, lessons, ski hire, food and drink. 

Guests can also use it to buy downtown activities or meals at participating restaurants and bars, whereas the NZSuperPass system involves some paper vouchers. 

The OnePass is a joint venture between the eight mountains and owned by a newly-formed company Hukarere. 

Cardrona’s marketing manager Nadia Ellis says it provides an alternative for predominantly-Australian skiers and snowboarders. 

“Where it’s different from what’s currently being offered is the sheer size in terms of hectares, vertical, parks and pipes, kids’ facilities,” she says. 

“And because of the size of the mountains involved, we were hoping to attract skiers and riders back to NZ who traditionally might have gone to Japan or North America – those real dedicated skiers and riders. 

“The aim is to grow the market as opposed to fight for other bits of the pie.” 

Wanaka resorts already attract large numbers of skiers and riders who stay in Queenstown and travel over the Crown Range daily, Ellis adds. 

“The drive from Queenstown to the base of The Remarkables is 45 minutes. The drive from Queens­town to Cardrona and Snow Park bases is 60 minutes from Queenstown – the difference is not that great.” 

Nineteen Queenstown activity businesses, including Skyline, Real Journeys, NZone Skydive and Shotover Jet, have also signed up to OnePass since it went live last December. 

“We really just want to offer more options to people in Queenstown. This is why we’re working with all of these Queens­town operators,” Ellis says. 

“Anything that’s going to encourage more skiers and riders to NZ as a skiing destination has got to be good for all of the ski area operators and all of the activity operators.” 

NZSki marketing boss Craig Douglas agrees: “Anything that promotes skiing in this part of the world has got to be good for us all.” 

The NZSuperPass has been around for several years, is established in Australia and has plenty of scope for growth, he adds.

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