SHARE
Gearing up: NZSki CEO Paul Anderson

By CASS MARRETT

NZSki boss Paul Anderson is looking forward to a much more ‘‘normal’’ ski season on Queenstown’s mountains this year.

‘‘It’ll still be different to pre-pandemic, but I think it will be far more normal now that we can relax some of the health measures that we’ve had in place,’’ Anderson says.

The company is in full recruitment mode, looking to fill 1250 positions across Coronet Peak, The Remarkables and Mt Hutt.

Last year recruitment posed a steep challenge due to closed borders.

Subsequently, ski resorts ramped up efforts to recruit Kiwis, including working collectively with Ski Areas Association of New Zealand on a sustainable workforce strategy.

The strategy lays out training for entry-level staff and progression opportunities for skilled staff.

‘‘That’s helped us this year go back to Immigration [NZ] and say ‘we’ve got everything in place that we should have to train young Kiwis up, but we also need to be able to get access for sort of skilled positions from the northern hemisphere’,’’ Anderson says.

Last week, the industry as a whole was given approval from the government for 275 critical workforce border exemptions.

‘‘It’s very significant, because what it allows us to do is bring in some high-level ski and snowboard instructors, patrollers, groomer operators and snowmakers for those very technical roles that we’ve got,’’ Anderson says.

Though hesitant to put a number on the amount of people already recruited, Anderson estimates NZSki has made offers for two-thirds of their positions, but says there are still more roles to fill — particularly in hospitality.

Up on the mountains, Anderson says, summer maintenance programmes are in ‘‘full swing’’ but have been affected by several Covid-related absences.

‘‘But we’re looking in pretty good shape.’’

New this year are more efficient snowmakers, which use less energy and water, while there’s also been a deck expansion at Heidi’s Hut and upgrades to The Remarkables’ ice bar.

Anderson says Coronet Peak’s 75th anniversary celebrations in August will be something to look out for, as well as September’s Snow Machine festival.

New staff are expected to come on board at the end of May.

Coronet Peak’s scheduled opening is June 17, and The Remarkables’ the following day, while Cardrona Alpine Resort’s planning to open a week prior, on June 11.

cass.marrett@scene.co.nz