A New Zealand ski area that had expected to close midweek have decided to stay open seven days a week for at least one more week due to the number of skiers wishing to hit the slopes.
Despite a lack of international skiers which normally make up close to half the clientele, the Remarkables and Coronet Peak reported their best daily visit stats in seven years reported 10,000 visitors across its Queenstown pistes on one day in the country’s school holidays.
The centre’s car parks were full by early in the day and centres appealed for skiers to car share or take the bus.
The numbers seem to result from a combination of good conditions and skiers heeding the call of the country’s Prime Minister, made in a ski resort last month, to support the country’s tourism businesses.
New Zealand’s ski areas are operating normally as the country has largely supressed the virus and does not require social distancing.
Many of the country’s larger commercial ski fields are reliant on international skiers arriving, particularly from Australia, to bolster numbers and income in order to turn a profit.
With that not happening this winter due to the pandemic, many opened later than usual for the season and announced that outside the peak school holiday period they’d only open at weekends.
After the busy school holidays period The Remarkables (pictured top) had been due to return to weekend-only opening this week, but has decided to stay open daily for at least another week instead.
However most centres are reporting skier numbers and income are none the less down on the average so far.
There have been hopes that an air bridge to Australia, which provides the lion’s share of international skier visitors in a normal winter, might be open before the end of the season in late September or early-October, although currently that doesn’t look promising.
More New Zealand ski areas opening this weekend including Broken River (above) and Rainbow. Most are now open, however Temple Basin has announced a target of August 1st, and Mt Cheeseman, Mt Olympus and Cragieburn are yet to announce opening dates.