Skifield bottlenecks addressed

Masks will enable skifields to once again load chairlifts to their full potential, thanks to a change in regulations.

NZSki general manager Paul Anderson and his opposite number at Cardrona and Treble Cone, Bridget Legnavsky, spoke to the Ministry of Health on Tuesday to raise concerns.

Mr Anderson, who oversees Queenstown skifields Coronet Peak and Remarkables Park, said the need to limit numbers on the chairlifts for social distancing in Alert Level 2 had created an issue with congregations at the bottom of the slope.

"It is quite brief on the lift, usually less than 10 minutes, so if all the people are wearing masks, we are now allowed to fully load the lift."

There had also been safety concerns during recent windy conditions when just a couple of people could use each seat, he said.

Before the change in regulations, those on skifields had to be spread out or limited to their bubbles.

Coronet Peak, which had run seven days a week while The Remarkables had predominantly only opened at weekends, had been full this week.

Mr Anderson said in normal times the field could accommodate up to 5000 people, but with social distancing measures numbers had been limited to 2500.

Numbers peaked once again yesterday; he said this was further proof the company was doing the right thing by expanding its operation at The Remarkables to four days a week, Thursday to Sunday.

This was also enabling the company to retain about 100 staff originally employed for school holidays, he said.


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