Remarkables first skifield to open

About 500 enthusiastic skiers marked the opening of this year’s ski season with a run on the learners’ slope at The Remarkables ski area on Saturday.

Happily, snow was even falling during the official opening.

The Remarkables was the only one of Queenstown’s two skifields able to open at the weekend, albeit on a limited basis, with only its learners’ area — the Tahi and Rua conveyers — open.

Remarkables area manager Steve Hall marked the occasion by popping open a bottle of sparkling wine as the conveyers were turned on, watched by about 60 people at the 9am opening.

The popping of the cork also marked the start of Mr Hall’s first season as area manager of The Remarkables.

Having worked there in the late 1980s, it was a full-circle moment for Mr Hall, who said it was "pretty exciting".

Despite only the learners area being open, about 500 people hit the slopes throughout the day, he estimated.

"Any skiing is good skiing this early in the season."

It was weather dependent, but he was hopeful The Remarkables would be able to open one of its chairlifts on Wednesday. There was snow on a few trails, which was a good sign, Mr Hall said.

"I’m constantly checking the weather, and it looks like we have some good snow-making temperatures coming through."

Self-proclaimed ski addict Natalie Urbani, of Queenstown, was the first person up the Tahi conveyor for the season.

Having attended skifield openings for the past 10 years, Ms Urbani said it felt awesome to be the first person up.

The Remarkables ski area manager Steve Hall marks the opening of the 2024 ski season with a...
The Remarkables ski area manager Steve Hall marks the opening of the 2024 ski season with a bottle of bubbles. PHOTO: OLIVIA JUDD
"My summer has finally arrived."

Jenny O’Leary and Blyth Matlock, of the Gold Coast, had made the trip from Australia to attend The Remarkables opening.

Neither woman had skied in 15 years.

Ms O’Leary said they were excited "to have a crack at it again, and hopefully not injure ourselves".

Following a a record season at The Remarkables last year, Mr Hall was enthusiastic about the season, and suspected similar numbers, especially with the new Shadow Basin chairlift.

"People will want to come and see the new lift.

"We’ve got 400 staff this season, so we are well prepared for numbers."

Coronet Peak was planning to open today.

NZSki chief executive Paul Anderson said Coronet Peak was almost ready.

"There are just a couple of patches that need to be stitched together.

"All going well the learners’ area and Meadows and Express lifts will be ready."

Mr Anderson said the days leading up to opening were a bit of an emotional rollercoaster due to the weather, but he was excited to be at The Remarkables on Saturday, even taking his touring skis for an outing.