Bigger faster high-capacity chairlift plans

Cardrona Alpine Ski Resort is blanketed in snow ahead of Friday’s opening. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
Cardrona Alpine Ski Resort. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
A proposed chairlift next to Cardrona Alpine Resort would ferry roughly 1500 people per hour up 235 vertical metres.

The resort, owned by the Wayfare Group, has applied to the Queenstown Lakes District Council for resource consent for a lift in the Willow Basin, characterised by steep-sided creeks, rocky crags and alpine flora and fauna.

The lift would be 748m long with 75 four-seat chairs dropping skiers to a point above the resort base buildings.

The application is being vetted by council staff.

Consent has already been granted for a yet-to-be-built 1.2km-long lift in the nearby Soho Basin to the top of the Captain’s Basin.

That consent lapses on June 22, 2022.

Both lifts would be in the 630ha Soho Ski Area owned by the resort and Glencoe Station Ltd.

Resort general manager Bridget Legnavsky yesterday said the Willow Basin lift would be the same one previously used on the McDougalls run and replaced by the Chondola before the 2017 ski season.

The lift was in storage at the resort.

Ms Legnavsky said it was hoped to have it in place before next season but "we need to make sure the consent is completely finalised before we promise it to our guests".

Installation of a "much bigger, faster high-capacity lift" in the Soho Basin would depend on how well the resort did next winter, she said.

"That’s a big investment and it takes a lot of capital to put that one in.

"We’re ready to go with it; we want to put it in over the next couple of years ... we just need the money to stack up."

Installing the Willow Basin lift would affect areas of Alpine grassland, although the application contained detailed plans for repairing the damage.

An area would be created for helicopters to operate from during construction with 400 trips carrying concrete proposed over five days and 50 carrying materials on one day.

In July NZSki opened a new chairlift at Remarkables Ski Area costing $17million — the project took two years to complete.

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