Sensational Season Ahead At Queenstown and Methven Ski Areas
Snow lovers heading to the slopes in New Zealand’s South Island this winter can enjoy an array of improvements and changes at the Queenstown and Methven ski areas.
Coronet Peak and The Remarkables in Queenstown, and Canterbury’s Mt Hutt have been busy over summer to ensure their teams are all set to provide a jam-packed winter full of fun for visitors.
The Mt Hutt crew is looking forward to getting loads of families up the mountain as part of the Methven ‘Kids 4 Free’ campaign. They’re delighted to offer a ’10 and under’ ski free deal for youngsters, part of a resort-wide community promotion that will see kids 10 and under stay, eat and ski for free for the entire winter season.
Mt Hutt ski area manager James McKenzie said that as colder weather set in, enthusiasm around the deal grew by the day.
“Mt Hutt is really proud to be part of the Methven Kids 4 Free deal and the feedback we’ve had from families, especially those with two or three children, is that it’s re-ignited their passion for a winter ski holiday and means record numbers of families will be able to realise their dream of taking the kids on a skiing holiday.
“Mt Hutt really is an all-round adventure playground for kids,” he said. “We’ve got the infamous Dinner With The Stars on Saturday nights, complete with huskies and snow groomer rides, plus we’ve given the kids centre a refresh over the summer.”
In another move to improve the ease of the overall experience, the mypass card that was launched in 2010, and removed any need for the paper and wire lift ticket, has reached a new level of use.
Guests can now preload money onto their mypass card, known as mypass money, leave the wallet at home and use it at any of the three NZSki mountains. It becomes an on-mountain debit card, used as easily as swiping a credit card at mountain outlets such as cafés, ski schools or the rentals department.
Mypass money can also be used at Coronet Peak’s hugely popular Icebar at the top of Greengates. Credit card and EFTPOS facilities have been installed at the Icebar, trialed last year for the first time, so guests can use their preloaded mypass money to pay for drinks and snacks.
Coronet Peak ski area manager Hamish McCrostie said the Icebar would be bigger and better than before.
“Last year’s trial showed us just how hugely popular an outdoors bar with amazing views could be,” he said. “It became ‘the’ spot to be on the mountain last year even though we could only take cash, so over summer we installed the equipment to enable electronic transactions to make it easier for guests.”
Another trial at Coronet Peak in 2011 has meant the expansion of the kids Funzone in the novice and beginners areas. This year small boxes and features will be available for kids to ‘have a blast’.
Work’s also been undertaken at the Race Arena at Coronet Peak’s Rocky Gully so international race teams visiting the resort to train will have access to a full-time Giant Slalom course.
Mr McCrostie said mountain visitors would be thrilled to know that all race activity would happen at Rocky Gully, meaning no more race events or training on The Hurdle or Eighth Basin.
Investment in new product continues across the valley at The Remarkables with new snow groomers being added to the fleet. The Remarkables ski area manager Ross Lawrence said the new groomers would suit the terrain at the Remarks especially with new earthworks carried out over summer.
“We’ve been working really hard to improve the trail network that we focused on the previous season,” he said. “This year we’ve concentrated on the improving the flow of trails and opening up more terrain for our visitors, which is especially good news for intermediate and beginners.”
Guests visiting the Queenstown ski areas will also benefit from further investment in the performance rental range, meaning more guests than ever before will be able to rent ‘top-of-the-line’ ski and boarding gear.
“Last year we tested the popularity of high performance rentals equipment and it was huge,” said Mr Lawrence. “People visiting our ski areas need to know they can get the latest equipment and not have to compromise.”
Mt Hutt ski area will also update equipment in their performance ski rentals department.
Back in Queenstown, Coronet Peak and The Remarkables have invested in two brand spanking new buses to take ski and boarding buffs up to the mountains, and they’ve introduced a new five and ten trip concession pass so people can buy multiple trips at a discounted rate.
Coronet Peak and Mt Hutt ski areas are scheduled to open on June 9 and The Remarkables on June 16, subject to conditions. For more information on each ski area go to www.nzski.com. For more information on the Kids 4 Free campaign, go to www.kids4free.co.nz