A Positive Outlook For The New Zealand Ski Season As Some Mountains Shoot For June Opening

While the Northern Hemisphere is still reeling from the abrupt end to the 2019/2020 skiing and riding season due to the COVID-19 outbreak, it looks as if there is some positivity surrounding part of the Southern Hemisphere's upcoming 2020 season.

In this case, we'll be talking about some of the mountains in New Zealand, specifically those operated by NZSki, which are Coronet Peak, The Remarkables, and Mt. Hutt. All of these hills are in the Southern part of the country...a country that has been doing well in controlling the spread of COVID-19.

In New Zealand, they have been using an Alert Level system as part of the guidelines that have been governing the day to day operations of businesses and the people of the country. As a reference, Level 4 is essentially a full lockdown, Level 3 is restricted similar to several states here in the United States with essential businesses being allowed to operate, while most people are under a stay at home order. Level 2 allows for loose restrictions, allowing for the people to be able to travel locally, provided people are using social distancing guidelines. Level 1 is about as close to normal, everyday operation as any nation can be at times like these.

Currently, the country is sitting at Level 3, which has been good news for the NZSki mountains, as well as the country's other ski resorts. This has allowed for these mountains to bring in some of their staff to prepare for the upcoming skiing and riding season.

"Now that we are in level 3, some of our teams will be able to be on mountain to continue with the projects that are essential to prepare us for the season. This includes work on the Sugar Bowl chairlift at The Remarkables." - Paul Anderson, CEO of NZSki

This preparation will allow for a possible late June opening, though there is no definite opening date as of yet. The opening date will be determined when the country is ready to move to Level 2. But, will the resorts be able to operate under those conditions?

NZSki does have faith in its ability to be able to operate within the Level 2 guidelines. Similar to the recently reopened Mt. Baldy in California, if these mountains are able to pull off an opening, there will be several guidelines that will be enforced. Mainly, social distancing on chairlifts and within liftlines, limited food service operations, and enhanced cleaning protocols throughout each resort, including buildings, buses, etc.

"Along with others in the ski industry we have been meeting with the government to make sure they understand how we can all operate consistently and safely under level two. This includes things like making sure there is physical distancing on chairlifts and gondolas by spreading guests out or getting them to travel in their family bubbles, cashless operations, limiting the number of people accessing indoor facilities, and serving more F&B options in outdoor areas."  - Paul Anderson, CEO of NZSki

This Level 2 opening will also be mostly for the locals, as there will still be some traveling restrictions, both locally and internationally. Though there is an expected dip in visitor numbers, NZSki is confident that they will be able to handle it.

"In Queenstown, we are expecting around 25% of our normal visitation and at Mt Hutt around 50%. With significantly reduced skier numbers this year we won’t need to staff to the levels we normally would and are confident we have enough team members on the ground locally or in New Zealand to work the season." - Paul Anderson, CEO of NZSki

Though it could be a very limited season, there are hopes that there will still be a season. Maybe it won't be the season that skiers and riders were hoping to get, but it could be something to look forward to, which is a very positive thought and positivity is very necessary during times likes these. Even though it's unlikely that we here in the north will have to opportunity to play in the south this summer, we can still send our hopes and well wishes to them for a great season.

Photo: Mt. Hutt, Canterbury, NZ - Credit: NZSki.com

Coronet Peak, The Remarkables & Mt Hutt Ski Areas |NZSki

The home of good times, Night Skiing in NZ, World-class facilities, roller coaster terrain and Queenstown's closest ski field! During level 3 we have some of our team back on mountain getting things ready for the winter. For anyone coming up to ride bikes or go hiking we ask that you help keep our staff safe and remember social distancing.


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