By MATTHEW MCKEW
IT’S finally ready.
Two years after NZSki first pitched a multi-million dollar replacement Sugar Bowl chairlift, it’ll be cranking into action this morning.
The project at The Remarks was hampered a few times, first when seeking approval from Department of Conservation and then by Covid-19 border restrictions shutting out specialist workers.
‘‘It’s been a super-extended period, from the time of concept through to getting it handed over to us, but it’s very exciting,’’ says ski area boss Ross Lawrence.
‘‘It’s an amazing piece of terrain it opens up.’’
Snowboarders and skiers will get the chance to get out and explore 2.5km worth of freshly-groomed new trails.
The new installation takes ski bums from the bottom of the park to the top of the slopes in one go — whereas the old lift started part-way up the slope.
The new lift has six seats and takes just four minutes to ride 1.1km up the hill, so it’ll carry more people faster, and over a longer distance.
In July, one of the only metal cable splicers in the world was given permission by the government to fly from Switzerland to join up the main haulage rope.
Other specialists from Austria helped oversee the work by using ‘Google Glass’.
Those are specialist glasses with mounted cameras worn by Kiwi workers on the ground.
Lawrence points out there’s more work to be done this summer, including installing more snow machines and widening the trails.
‘‘We’ve got it to the point that we can groom through it and that’s what I’m really pleased about.
‘‘Wherever you put a groomed trail, skiers and snowboarders will follow.’’
The top of the trail is low intermediate, and slowly increases in difficulty.
Lawrence says the chairlift and the new trails will provide more space to ski and be important during the curtailed season, with just weekend opening times at The Remarkables.
The next project on the horizon is replacing the ski lift at Shadow Basin.