New OnePassNZ successful in its first season, skifield operators say

A new ski pass which debuted this year, giving access to Wanaka's four ski areas plus another four further north, has performed well in its first season, skifield operators say.

OnePassNZ was announced in February and a marketing campaign launched in Australia.

The interchangeable pass uses snow dollars for a range of on- or off-mountain activities and provides access to Cardrona Alpine Resort, Treble Cone, Snow Park and Snow Farm, in Wanaka, Ohau, Mt Dobson, Round Hill in the Mackenzie region and Porters ski area in Canterbury.

While declining to release figures on OnePass sales, citing commercial sensitivity, Cardrona sales and marketing manager Nadia Ellis said the flexible nature of OnePass had proven popular.

"Treble Cone and Cardrona have seen an increase in Australian visitor numbers. And the feedback we've had from guests has been very very positive," she said.

While the increase could be attributed to a "combination of factors", including good weather and some of the country's best snow conditions in the latter part of the season, the OnePass had certainly contributed.

It had also provided a good opportunity to market the Mackenzie region to Australians and to push the "road trip idea", where people could fly into Christchurch and visit the skifields on the way south to Wanaka.

Ohau Snow Fields owner Mike Neilson said it had been a "season of two halves".

While July had brought the skifield's usual Australian holiday guests, there were few OnePass users. However, August saw a marked increase in visitors using the pass.

"It's a different type of Australian tourist that we get in August ... what I call the skiing safari Australian skier or snowboarder.

They don't have a definite destination when they leave, they go where the snow is," he said.

"I suspect that OnePass is not as well-suited to the holiday market as it is suited to the travelling Australian."

The product had "significantly greater" uptake than any other previous vouchered lift pass deals, and Ohau would "certainly be doing it again next year, maybe with some new thoughts on how it's packaged", Mr Neilson said.

"There is a saving to the purchaser for the cost of the OnePass, but there was a cost to us.

"We have to be mindful of yields and degradation of the product."

Treble Cone sales and marketing manager Nick Noble said the number of Australian visitors was up slightly this year compared with 2011, but he was unable to provide specific data.

-lucy.ibbotson@odt.co.nz