Queenstown’s officially firing on all cylinders for winter with the opening of alpine playground The Remarkables ski area on Saturday (June 18).
All four chairlifts at The Remarkables (Alta, Sugar Bowl, Shadow Basin and Curvey Basin) will start turning from9am, whisking skiers and snowboarders onto the snow where excellent groomed trails and a choice of off-piste terrain await.
For those taking their first tentative steps on the slopes, the learners’ area will have all three conveyors open, and will be perfectly groomed wall to wall.
At the other end of the scale, Homeward Run will also open. Arguably Queenstown’s best-kept secret when it comes to an off-piste in bounds snow experience, ski area management say that care is required towards the track out at the bottom of the basin.
More adventurous skiers and boarders may venture even further afield to find lines through Outward Bound but caution is advised in this area with limited snow cover in places.
On the Terrain Park front, crews are working hard to have features in place on the beginners and Intermediate lines.
Ski area manager Ross Lawrence says they’re all “pretty excited” to be welcoming everyone back to winter at The Remarks.
Putting out the ski racks ready for first guests at The Remarkables
“Everyone’s prepped and amped to see guests arriving and getting out onto what could be considered some of the best snow conditions anywhere in New Zealand right now,” he says.
“We’re stoked to be opening with 100% learners’ terrain, 80% intermediate terrain and 80% advanced terrain, and hiking to those far away lines is available with access off Sugar Bowl, Curvey Basin and Shadow Basin lifts.
“When temperatures allow we’re in full swing with up to 100 snowmaking guns fired up across the ski area creating the perfect groomed corduroy for everyone to enjoy. Hat and goggles are a must though!”
First skiers and boarders on the Curvey Basin Express will wear their 2016 ‘First on the Chair’ T-shirts with pride, and there’s plenty of fun and colour planned for opening day celebrations, including Amisfield bubbles and some surprises in store for early risers.
The ski area’s first day will also mark the official ‘opening’ of the newly-sealed Remarkables access road, taking skiers and boarders up the mountain with ease and in comfort.
Grooming the beginners’ area at The Remarkables
When Homeward and Outward bound areas have full snow cover, keen experts will be able to enjoy an additional45.5ha of new lift-accessed skiable terrain ending at car park 4, below the Homeward pick-up point.
In tandem with road sealing over the summer months, an additional 150 car parks have been created on the on upper road area, meaning there is now capacity for 940 vehicles to park.
“It is, of course, early season and for a lot of people their first time on snow for eight months, so we’re asking guests to please go with caution and enjoy the atmosphere and environment to make their winter a successful one over the next three months,” says Ross.