Big numbers for Qtown slopes
Queenstown skifield expansion is likely if growth continues to defy patchy winter weather.
NZSki chief executive Paul Anderson said despite one of the warmest winters on record, there was a 15 per cent rise in visitors this season across Coronet Peak, Mt Hutt and The Remarkables, including more than 600,000 firsttime customers.
Cheaper season passes, down to $599 for all three fields, helped attract new customers, he said. Prices would remain the same next season.
The company was especially happy with the growth in Queenstown, where expansion was being investigated.
The possible long-term expansion would be at the back of The Remarkables, which was used for back country skiing and ski touring.
‘‘We’ve started looking at Doolans this year,’’ Anderson said.
Doolans, a basin east of the skifield, was less exposed to the sun light and held the snow better, he said.
Forty per cent of Remarkables visitors were Australian and half were Kiwis.
Coronet Peak was the favourite among locals this year, with two thirds of customers from the Otago region.
Among the immediate upgrades is a new patrol building at The Remarkables to be ready for the 2017 ski season.
NZSki chief executive Paul Anderson is happy with the growth in Queenstown.