Despite having to open without inbound tourists from Australia, New Zealand ski resorts have still managed some incredible turnouts on individual days but overall visitors are down for the season. NZ Herald reports last Friday 10,000 visitors across Queenstown pistes (the highest single-day turnout at the Remarkables and Coronet Peak in seven years):
“It’s certainly busier than I can remember. That’s been down to a combination of great snow conditions and school holidays.” –NZSki CEO Paul Anderson
NZ resorts normally rely on visitors from Australia to supply 30-40% of their clientele and were “pleasantly surprised” to find daily numbers similar or better than last year whereby:
“More or less replaced every lost Australian skier with a Kiwi. We don’t have data on where the extra Kiwi skiers are coming from but you can infer that these 30-40 per cent are North Islanders or those who wouldn’t normally take a Queenstown ski holiday.”
Resorts were prepared to in a limited capacity under level 2 conditions but have been able to relax most restrictions and the resort was running “as normal” However a delayed start to the season and slightly fewer visitors mean that overall numbers are down compared to last year. Realistically, crowds are expected to thin considerably after the holidays and its looking increasingly unlikely that a transtasman air bridge will open before the end of the season so diehard Kiwi skiers should get some chill freshies before the September holidays come around.