FROM THE FRONT PAGE
During the July-August season peak, at least 200 people will be employed on the mountain.
‘‘It is just getting to that exciting time of the year. Every week there are more staff starting back and things are now getting delivered, whether it is more skis for the rental shop or crockery for the new cafes,’’ Noble said.
Noble was on the mountain on Monday and reported ‘‘quite a buzz’’ as contractors worked on painting, signs and new cafes.
Treble Cone’s base building cafe has previously been one big open food court but this year, one-third of the area has been divided off to create The Cheeky Kea gourmet burger bar for seated dining.
The remaining cafe space will operate as the Tripe Treat Cafe, where people can grab a quick bite and return to the slopes.
Noble said s staff spent two months in the summer moving a ‘‘significant amount’’ of soil and rocks with big diggers to remodel the trails so intermediate skiers could make new terrain choices, Noble said.
Cardrona Alpine Ski Resort’s photos of snow also drew more than 1500 likes following a 20cm dump on Mt Cardrona’s upper slopes last week.
Cardrona plans to extend its usual 15-week season this year by two weeks, opening one week early on June 13 and closing at the end of the October school holidays.
General manager Bridget Legnavsky told The Mirror the snow had compacted a lot in warm and windy conditions since Friday but a decent base remained.
Snowmakers were now waiting for colder conditions so they could start snowmaking.
Cardrona has completed the bulk of its recruitment for the season, with 500 staff contracted to various positions.
Staff training starts on June 2 and the skifield has promised the beginners’ area will be ready for opening.
Cardrona has invested heavily in the quality of the snow this year, purchasing four new groomers and bringing in the computerised SnowSat system, which measures the snow depth to a greater degree of accuracy and allows for better snow management.
Legnavsky said Cardrona is the first skifield in the Southern Hemisphere to introduce the technology and should see snow spread evenly, a consistent base and ‘‘more honest snow reports’’.
Earthworks improvements have been made to the Olympic super pipe and the Little Bucks terrain park has been moved and improved. Some trail entrances have been widened, bottle necks have been reduced, roads have been widened and more road barriers installed. There are now two Magic Carpets in the beginners’ area.
Legnavsky said the skifield had worked with the Wanaka community to provide the 17 week season.
‘‘In the last four to five years, we’ve been running spring camps and there has consistently been enough snow to keep the top part of the mountain open. So we are encouraging people to come in the school holidays.’’
Efforts have also been made to employ staff with other language skills, particularly with the growth in skifield visitors who speak Mandarin and French.
Snow Farm ski area general manager Andy Pohl is delighted with last week’s ankle-to-knee deep snowfall, which has covered the small resort’s cross-county trails on the Pisa Range.
Pohl is looking forward to a tentative opening on June 20 and hoped this week’s forecast for more snow came true. ‘‘But there is that old adage that snow in May doesn’t stay,’’ he said.
He has finished recruiting, with 11 staff appointed to nine full-time positions and two part-time positions.
‘‘Things are going really well. I am happy with the progress over the summer and our maintenance projects,’’ he said.
There is a new toilet at the Bob Lee Hut, tussocks have been relocated off some of the trails and two new snowshoeing trails have been established. They are between 5km and 7km in length and start at the base building.
The Snow Farm is operated by the Pisa Alpine Charitable Trust.