Mt Hutt ski area in New Zealand has announced that it will be installing the country’s first eight-seater express chairlift during the coming southern-hemisphere summer, subject to regulatory approval and any virus-related limitations on the project.

Mt Hutt is often the first ski area in the southern hemisphere to open for the ski season each autumn, and is also already home to the South Island’s highest chairlift.

The lift should dramatically improve access to the mountain, taking two-minutes to ascend against the seven-minutes of the quad chair it will replace. It will also double capacity on the route from 1500 to a capacity of 3000 people per hour.

“This lift will follow the same path up the mountain as the Quad currently does so will provide the best access to our terrain parks. This means we expect to see less demand for our Summit Six chairlift and some of our upper mountain trails at peak times,” a resort spokesperson said, adding,

“The ride will be far more comfortable with padded seats and foot-rest bars. It will also be a lot more robust in variable weather allowing us to get up and running faster in the morning after snowfall and to operate in higher winds.” 

All being well the lift should open next winter for the 2021 season.