Snowmobile tours on the Pisa Range, near Wanaka, will not
be available this winter. Photo supplied.
New Zealand's only snowmobile touring operation has been
OverSnow Tours Ltd, owned by Barbara and Kerry Poots, of
Wanaka, has been running snowmobile tours each winter since
2010 from its base at the Snow Farm on the Pisa Range above
the Cardrona Valley.
However, Mrs Poots told the Otago Daily Times this week she
had been told by Snow Farm's owner, the Pisa Alpine
Charitable Trust, the tours could not continue.
She said it was a ''real shame'' because the tours were
increasingly popular and the business was expanding.
''It was another way of enjoying the snow environment without
having to be committed to riding lifts.''
The trust took over the Snow Farm business from the Lee
family in 2012 and creates groomed cross-country skiing
trails on reserve land leased from the Queenstown Lakes
Mrs Poots said Mary Lee - operator of the Snow Farm for 20
years and now a trustee - had encouraged and supported them
while they set up the snowmobile touring business.
''Mary played a strategic role in developing our first tours
on Snow Farm trails.''
OverSnow had been a sponsor of the Merino Muster at the Snow
Farm over the past three years.
''We had a very healthy working relationship with all other
operators at Snow Farm,'' Mrs Poots said.
However, the change of ownership had introduced a culture of
favouring non-motorised activities such as snowshoeing and
Nordic cross-country skiing, she said.
She considered that was ''absolutely understandable''.
''We have absolutely huge respect for the other activities.''
Despite negotiations over ways the snowmobile operation could
carry on, the company had not been able to come to a
satisfactory agreement, and the touring side of the business
had been closed down.
The company would continue to use its 12 snowmobiles for its
other winter transport work - particularly in the film
Mr and Mrs Poots had considered conducting tours in other
places on the Pisa Range but had concerns about the safety of
unskilled snowmobile drivers using ungroomed terrain.
''The Snow Farm offered a very easy, safe, viable
environment,'' Mrs Poots said.
Trust member Peter Soundy told the ODT this week the land
used by the Snow Farm was now council reserve and the terms
of the lease agreement precluded motorised activities.
''We're not happy about Barbara not being able to operate,
but it's a question of compatible activities and
compatibility with the reserve status of the land.''