Could a city-to-mountain gondola be coming to two New Zealand ski fields? Stuff reports that two separate gondolas are being proposed that would access two of Queenstown’s ski resorts: Cardrona Alpine Resort and The Remarkables. These additions could benefit locals and tourists who are trying to avoid the traffic that their access roads are increasingly facing.
For Cardrona, they are soon planning on filing a resource consent application to put a gondola from the Cardrona Valley to the Cardrona and Soho Basin ski areas. John Darby, the previous owner of the Soho Ski Area before entering a partnership with Cardrona, is the one who is behind the development plans. John Darby believes the all-electric gondola would drastically reduce Cardrona’s carbon footprint. He previously worked on an approved proposal to have a gondola up to Treble Cone, but these plans were shelved in 2010 due to the recession. Cardrona is currently working on adding a chairlift to the Soho ski area.
For The Remarkables, a gondola from the Remarkables Park urban and retail center in the Queenstown suburb of Frankton to the ski resort could be built. The ride from Queenstown to The Remarkables would take around twenty-seven minutes.
For those that want this proposed gondola to The Remarkables to happen soon, it seems like you’re out of luck. In 2018, Alastair Porter, who is the developer of Remarkables Park and the proposed gondola, began reaching out to investors to secure funding for the lift, but the pandemic altered those plans. The developer is now waiting on international tourism to get back to pre-pandemic levels, along with waiting for the ski resort to become a 365-day-a-year operation so they can still operate the lift during the off-season. A timeline has not been set yet on when the gondola would be built/open.
The Remarkables is also shifting its focus toward other projects. A new high-speed lift in Shadow Basin will open in 2024, and the potential expansion onto the backside of the ski resort, which is known as The Doolans, is a bigger priority.
Alastair Porter, who is The Remarkables Park developer, said the following about the city to ski resort gondola proposal:
“We are still keen on the gondola project but for it to be economically viable we have to get a feel for how well the numbers grow back and how quickly…We are keeping all our options open for it. We’re not closing anything off. We will see how it goes.”
Paul Anderson, who is the Chief Executive of NZSki, which owns The Remarkables, also put a damper on it immediately being built:
“We would welcome the chance to work with others to bring that gondola in if it was still feasible…From our perspective [a gondola] would be a fantastic addition to link Remarkables Park and Remarkables ski area, but we’re not depending on it for our aspirations.”