New $23m Remarkables chairlift on track for 2024 opening
Construction of an upsized new chairlift at the Remarkables Ski Area is on track and expected to open in time for winter, as concrete is this week delivered to the high-altitude site.
Work has been progressing up the mountain above Frankton since September, after NZSki Limited promptly pressed go on the project shortly after receiving the tick of approval for it.
Concrete has begun being poured for the new Dopplemayr chairlift, which has the capacity to take an extra 900 skiers and snowboarders up the slopes every hour.
The chairs for the estimated $23-million upgrade seat six, rather than four, and move at a faster speed.
Speaking to Crux about progress this week, NZSki boss Paul Anderson explains the new chairlift will come further down the mountain than its replacement did, closer to where other chairlifts begin.
He reckons this will encourage "more and more blue skiers" and snowboarders to give the Shadow Basin a go.
The now dismantled, 38-year-old Shadow Basin chairlift that used to transport punters was "quite a walk" from the Remarkables base, and Mr Anderson thinks this deterred people from hopping on.
The top station for the new lift will sit at a higher elevation than previous, just below the ridge line of Shadow Basin, requiring some new trails to connect up with existing ones.
Mr Anderson says these trails are almost finished.
There'll be the 365-metre-long, 30-metre-wide Upper Calypso Trail, to connect with the existing start of the Calypso Trail, and the 183-metres Cushion Trail, to take snowboarders and skiers to the Alta Chute.
Mr Anderson says the company is waiting to hear back from the Department of Conservation about a second application lodged, which if successful will allow it to operate on The Remarkables for the next 40 years.
Main image (Supplied/NZSki): Construction is underway on tower 11 of a new Dopplemayr chairlift at the Remarkables Ski Area.