Coronavirus: Ski fields plan to reopen on Thursday after preparing for Covid alert level 2

Coronavirus: Ski fields plan to reopen on Thursday after preparing for Covid alert level 2

Queenstown’s night skiing opened with the largest crowd in years, as hopes fade of a Tasman bubble coming to the rescue. (Video first published July 2, 2020)

Ski fields around New Zealand will open on Thursday after closures and preparations to operate in Covid-19 alert level 2.

Cardrona, Treble Cone, Mt Hutt and Coronet Peak ski fields all closed on Wednesday. The Remarkables is closed on weekdays but will open on the weekend.

The Porters and Ohau ski areas in the South Island and Tūroa and Whakapapa ski areas on Mt Ruapehu in the North Island were open on Wednesday but with social distancing and contact tracing conditions in place.

The Covid distancing restrictions include having only one person, or two from a bubble, on a chairlift together.

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The Ohau ski area website noted queues were not expected to form.

A Coronet Peak Facebook post says alert level 2 protocols were developed before the ski season started, but given the short notice they considered it responsible to close for the day to prepare the staff and mountain.

The Obsidian Big Air, the first of five Winter Games NZ 2020 challenges, continued at Cardrona Alpine Resort on Wednesday after practice days earlier in the week.

Mt Hutt ski field received a healthy dumping of fresh snow on Tuesday.
Mt Hutt ski field received a healthy dumping of fresh snow on Tuesday.

Spokeswoman Sophie Luther said it was decided, in conjunction with the team at Cardrona, that the event could continue as a private event of fewer than 100 people.

Video recordings of the event will be available.

Mount Ruapehu operators Ruapehu Alpine Lifts (RAL) deferred Wednesday’s 10am bookable parking release for the weekend to combine it with the usual 6pm release on Wednesday evening. The company said both Tūroa and Whakapapa ski fields would be open on Thursday.

However, skiers and snowboarders would have to observe distancing and hygiene requirements.

RAL advised those visiting the mountain to keep track of who they had been with, and where, and for anyone unwell to stay away.

“We need you to be patient with us as we adapt to ensure your continued enjoyment of the maunga,” a company social media notice said.

At Cardrona and Treble Cone indoor spaces would be limited to 100 dining guests at a time, and will be run on a one-in/one-out basis.

Every visitor must have a standard lift pass, which should also be scanned when entering indoor spaces.

All guests will be required to log in or create a Cardrona/TC MyCard profile for contact tracing purposes.

There will be no first tracks at Coronet Peak on Thursday morning.

Coronet Peak and Mt Hutt will have signage around the mountains indicating appropriate social distancing places in queues, on chairlifts and while skiing.

Restrictions will be in place at restaurants.

Spokeswoman Libby Baron said the company had some cancelled bookings from Aucklanders and two school groups that had planned visits.


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