Heli-ski win­ner if warmer

Central Otago Mirror - - NEWS -

TC’s lower slopes can look a bit bare in such con­di­tions, and vis­ually, to peo­ple who don’t know the moun­tain, it can be de­cep­tive. The moun­tain’s staff put a lot of ef­fort and many many hours into mak­ing the lower slopes look the best they could, but none of the ac­tion hap­pens down there any­way. Any­one want­ing great ski­ing knows to head to the top, and even though we had some very try­ing weather I would say all in all, the sea­son was on par with av­er­age, and the bad weather in no way de­tracted from some over­all great ski­ing.’’ Cardrona got pos­i­tive in­de­pen­dent on­line re­views. Through the pow­der hounds.com web­site Mark Den­ney posted this re­view after vis­it­ing right in the heart of ‘dry July’: ‘‘I skied with the fam­ily at Cardrona last sea­son and was very im­pressed. My wife and daugh­ter (15 old) are be­gin­ner/in­ter­me­di­ate and I con­sider my­self to be in­ter­me­di­ate skier. The runs are well groomed and open with plenty of in­ter­me­di­ate runs. Rel­a­tively un­crowded all week with great snow.’’ Mr Crow said he sus­pected warmer tem­per­a­tures could be­come the norm. If this is the case the heli-ski in­dus­try seems to be the one branch of the snows­ports trade sure to ben­e­fit. Har­ris Moun­tain Heli-Ski Queen­stown op­er­a­tions man­ager Chris Cochrane said even with such a chaotic sea­son weather-wise, ski­ing or board­ing fresh pow­der was al­ways a short flight away. ‘‘You only need to go a bit west of the main di­vide, which is Mt As­pir­ing, and you’re onto Black Peak or Fog Peak, and your hit­ting great pow­der, which we’ve been do­ing this week. Our south­ern ski­fields are re­ally sit­u­ated in the foothills of the moun­tains rather than the moun­tains them­selves, and you only need to get into the west of the Matuk­i­tuki Val­ley to start get­ting into some nice high ter­rain. That said, we’ve had an av­er­age sea­son num­bers-wise and strug­gled a bit with cloudy weather un­til mid-Au­gust. If win­ter tem­per­a­tures do get warmer over the long term I think more and more peo­ple will be tak­ing the heli-ski op­tion and re­ally tak­ing ad­van­tage of the high ter­rain.’’ Tourism In­dus­try As­so­ci­a­tion rep­re­sen­ta­tive Penny Clark said even though Septem­ber was softer than ex­pected the re­gion’s hote­liers still had stiffer win­ter busi­ness this sea­son than last. ‘‘One thing that I no­ticed was the di­ver­sity of peo­ple that were here for win­ter this year, and that some of them were here for a win­ter hol­i­day that was a hol­i­day that did not ac­tu­ally re­volve around ski­ing. Which shows that all that mar­ket­ing go­ing on out there in the world is pay­ing off, and as a re­sult we are grow­ing up and di­ver­si­fy­ing as a re­sort. Al­though Aus­tralia is still a hugely im­por­tant mar­ket we are not see­ing the same kind of faces from the same places with the same kind of in­ter­ests.’’

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