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Coronet Peak closes after 'perfect' ski season

Author
Otago Daily Times,
Publish Date
Tue, 4 Oct 2022, 9:34am
Coronet Peak ski-field on its opening day, in June this year. Photo / ODT
Coronet Peak ski-field on its opening day, in June this year. Photo / ODT

Coronet Peak closes after 'perfect' ski season

Author
Otago Daily Times,
Publish Date
Tue, 4 Oct 2022, 9:34am

Much like the start of the ski season, the weather well and truly turned it on for Coronet Peak's closing day.

From the first mammoth dump of snow in June, to yesterday's bluebird skies and spring temperatures, Coronet's ski season had been the "perfect" way to emerge from the pandemic, ski area manager Nigel Kerr said.

"We've had some amazing snow all season and an early opening and an extended season — that's a pretty good outcome."

While sturdy visitation numbers were expected, it wasn't until after the first week of operating the "penny dropped" and "a hell of a season" took off.

"We didn't really budget for Covid to come off ... but we've had an amazing season. It's certainly the biggest season at Coronet Peak that I've seen while I've been here.

"The count continues, but I think we're slightly over 60 per cent ... compared to where we budgeted."

As well as welcoming Australians back to the slopes, officially marking Matariki up the mountain and celebrating Coronet's 75th anniversary have been the highlights of the winter, he said.

However, the season wasn't without its challenges.

From the get-go, it was a process of "fighting fires", including avalanche risks, clearing "non-stop" snow in the early winter and developing a robust workforce, he said.

"One [challenge] was staffing and, to be fair, we haven't been able to manage fantastically well; but what it means was those that were here worked really hard.

"A lot of staff have come through the season with us and they are the [cream of the crop] and I have nothing but my admiration for all of them."

Although things were still pretty snowy up Coronet, he was already looking forward to getting on his mountain bike for the peak's summer offerings, Kerr said.

"We'll just have a pause now ... and then start working towards next season."

- Lucy Wormald, ODT

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