Will you be able to ski in Queenstown and Wanaka this winter? YES!
We’ve been keeping a close eye on the future of skiing in New Zealand for 2020. Snopro founder Justin is keeping his ear close to the ground and finding out the best possible scenario for the ski season.
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So the awesome news is that you can ski from late June. A few weeks later than usual but the mountains will be open in time for the school holidays.
Everyone is collaborating – from the top of government to local businesses in order to ensure the safe opening of ski fields.
What is the best scenario?
Well, things change quickly in this strange new world and nothing is set in stone. Currently, it looks like the country will remain in level 2 alert for Covid-19 restrictions. These restrictions can ease within Alert Level 2 as NZ continues to do well on the Covid front.
Level 2 allows for domestic travel and the opening of ski fields. That means, if you’re in New Zealand you can go skiing. You can travel to Queenstown and Wanaka from inside NZ and enjoy the mountains!
What are the ski fields planning?
NZSki has released its scaled back plans and things are really positive. Coronet Peak is opening daily from the end of June and is even offering First-Tracks daily and night skiing on Wednesday and Fridays. Nearly business as usual.
The Remarkables is set to open daily from the start of July for the two weeks of school holidays. Following this, the ski field will open on weekends at least with hope for more ski days if demand requires. The team are even hopeful the brand new 6-seater Sugar Bowl chair lift will be ready in time for opening too!
Some of the big news for the season is that Cardrona and Treble Cone are now one big family. In case you missed the news, Cardrona Alpine Resort has been going about buying Treble Cone to bring you a more seamless ski experience. Cardrona continues to keep its plans flexible and currently Cardrona Alpine Resort is due to open 26th June and Treble Cone 27th June for the duration of the school holidays. The team is staying up to date with government guidelines and will ‘make the best decisions based on current information, alert level guidelines, and domestic market interest.’
To sum up. All four ski areas will be open daily for the July school holidays and after that we’ll see what happens.
What About Visitor Numbers?
Naturally, there will be fewer skiers in the area with only domestic travel allowed currently. You can still expect all ski areas to monitor capacity closely particularly with limited resources and staffing. Safety and economics need to be balanced for all. Initial ideas suggest anywhere between 25% – 50% normal capacity.
Bad weather days will likely result in closures of the ski areas with worries of large numbers of people flocking into cafes and restaurants during storms. Cafes and restaurants will be open where possible with tight restrictions on numbers, hygiene and social distancing.
What about the trans-Tasman bubble?
The latest news on the trans-Tasman bubble looks to be a little while off. Which sucks, as we know a lot of you Aussies love a winter ski break in QT and Wanaka (Although, you Kiwis can have your mountains back…)
Prime Minister Jacinda Arden has warned that it’s going to be a while before travel to and from Australia is open. There are hopes it can still happen by July or August so it’s not off the table. News today states that we can remain in Level 2 and still achieve a Trans Tasman Bubble. Realistically, Aussies might well be able to squeeze in some spring skiing in New Zealand this year.
The Bottom Line
Everyone is working to get ready for the end of June for skiing across Queenstown and Wanaka. Nerves about whether the ski season will go ahead are quickly settling with the 4 major ski fields announcing their opening plans. The general approach is opening for the school holidays at the beginning of July and then wait and see. If New Zealand remains at Level 2 Alert then a domestic ski season is clear for the go-ahead.
Cardrona, Treble Cone, The Remarkables and Coronet Peak will all be open daily from late June/early July. Visitor numbers will be monitored and particularly restricted indoors.