Earlybirds target NZ for winter 2010
11 Feb 2010
February is considered New Zealand’s hottest month but already the focus is turning to cooler times as the country’s top skiers ready for the Winter Olympics and the ski industry begins its early-bird marketing campaign.
New Zealand will be sending its largest ever contingent of snowboarders to the Winter Olympics in Vancouver this month and with them go the country’s top skiers who’re helping to firm up New Zealand’s reputation as a credible winter destination with world class snowfields.
Many of the Kiwi team have spent their summer training in the northern hemisphere, just as the world’s top skiers and snowboarders now move to New Zealand to train during the southern hemisphere winter.
2009 ski season
Last year was rated as the best on record for New Zealand ski fields. Consistently good conditions kicked off at the beginning of June with early major snowfalls and continued through until late October where prime spring skiing conditions were enjoyed at all of the country’s major fields.
The 2009 season was also a successful one in terms of tourism with Australia making the largest contribution - more than 70,000 Australians crossed the Tasman to hit the New Zealand slopes and it’s hoped the 2010 season will see a repeat performance.
Australian holiday arrivals over the winter season of June, July and August 2009 were up 28% on the same three months of 2008.
Early-bird ski campaign
Tourism New Zealand's new early-bird ski campaign has already begun on television in Sydney and Brisbane and is designed to encourage keen skiers and snowboarders to book early for the forthcoming season.
Those interested will have a greater choice of flights with Air New Zealand having announced it is increasing its trans-Tasman capacity by a further 20% this coming ski season - meaning the total number of direct services between Australia and Queenstown jumps to 12 per week.
Peak periods will also see an increase in return services from Sydney, and an additional weekly service from Melbourne, while Brisbane services will continue at three per week.
Flights from Auckland will increase by 30% over the same period, with four direct return services per day.
New Zealand ski season
The greater capacity will cover the busy school holiday period around the first two weeks of July, and late September / early October.
It will also open up more opportunities for people wanting to attend the Queenstown Winter Festival which runs from 25 June to 4 July this year.
The event, described as "10 days of outrageous winter fun" is now in its 36th year and is expected to again attract tens of thousands of national and international visitors.
While the New Zealand ski season is roughly from late June to early October, opening and closing dates for the various ski areas in both the North and South sslands, are always subject to weather and snow conditions.
During the off-season a number of ski fields have been carrying out upgrading work and further development. Cardrona Alpine Resort in the Southern Lakes area of the South Island is installing a fourth lift meaning it will have more chairlifts than any other South Island mountain.
The work is part of an expansion project that will see the ski resort’s boundaries and the number of intermediate and advanced runs extended. An additional car park will also be built for season pass holders to gain quick access to the lift.
Coronet Peak, Queenstown
At Coronet Peak, Queenstown, novices and families will benefit from a new express chairlift which has been installed as part of an upgrade in the ‘Big Easy’ learners’ area.
The sophisticated quad chairlift is the first of its kind to be installed in the Southern Hemisphere and has a number of advanced safety features.
The 2010 improvements are part of a five-year multi-million dollar redevelopment programme at Coronet Peak, which has included the installation of a six-seater lift, a large snowmaking system and a new base building with modern facilities and dramatic views across the Wakatipu Basin.
Located 20 minutes drive from central Queenstown, Coronet Peak ski area is scheduled to open on Saturday 5 June.
New Zealand’s main winters sports destinations
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