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Nigel Kerr was speaking on the final ski day of the year at the Queenstown mountain and said even if there was enough snow, they could not continue to operate as a large number of staff on working holiday visas had left on Friday.
Overall, the ski manager was positive about the season, with the huge number of New Zealand visitors surprising the company.
"It’s been interesting. To a certain extent the internationals were replaced by domestic skiers. People who would normally holiday offshore chose instead to add a ski holiday into the mix."
He said the mountains had provided "entertainment" at a time when there were not many other options and people had "made full use of the opportunity" the skifields provided.
The situation was certainly boosted by falls of good-quality snow and excellent conditions for snow-making, the manager said.
Staffing, Mr Kerr said, had been challenging, especially once July school holidays kick-started the season, meaning NZSki needed more recruits.
"The Government subsidy for New Zealanders, for 12 weeks, worked against us."
He said the Government Income Relief Payment, offered to those who lost their job between March 1 and October 30, meant Kiwis were "incentivised out of" seasonal jobs.
The payment provided to formerly full-time staff stood at $490 a week, as opposed to the $250 jobseeker benefit.
"If you’re a New Zealander in Queenstown and you think, well, the Government is going to give me $500 a week or I could go work on the mountain, you think ‘Hmm, no, I’m going to go ski’."
With international workers returning home when their visas expired, the company was concerned about finding staff with the right skills and experience for the next season.
"You can’t treat people as warm bodies, they do need to know what they are doing, so staffing will be one of our challenges for next season."
Mr Kerr said NZSki was talking to staff about filling grooming, snow-making and instructing roles now, to ensure there were enough Kiwis trained.
He doubted the Government would make visa exceptions for the ski industry to bring in those overseas workers with the necessary qualifications, but added "it’s a long way to go until next winter".
Coronet Peak closed yesterday with a pond-skimming event for snowboarders and skiers unafraid to get wet.
Mr Kerr said opening in the school holidays was not realistic, with minimal snow at the bottom and the depleted workforce needed to be shifted to The Remarkables.
Treble Cone, in Wanaka, also closed yesterday and was unable to operate on the final day of the season because of 100kmh winds.
The Remarkables Ski Area, which was to open seven days a week for the remainder of the season, was to close on October 13 and Cardrona Alpine Resort was to round off the season on October 18.