Huge Snow Falls Drive Record Numbers For Snow Sports Industry
Over 1.4 million ski area visits were recorded at NZ’s ski areas during the 2006 season. This is a record for NZ ski areas and the first time 1.4 million visits have been reached. The previous highest total was in 2004 when 1,333,000 ski area visits were recorded.
Provisional statistics released by the Ski Areas Association NZ today show the 2006 season has been one of the best ever. A total of 1,401,140 ski area visits (1 visit is equivalent to one day pass sold) and 1,311 open days were recorded during the season from early June to late October. Gross revenue was $75,434,233.
These statistics are key measures for ski area operators and have been collated by the Association every season since 1979. The figures for ski area visits, open days and gross revenue are the highest ever for the industry. The industry recorded 251,000 more ski area visits, 206 more open days and $9,700,000 more revenue compared to the 2005 season.
The season got off to a great start this year. The ski areas opened on time in June with fantastic natural snow and ideal snow making conditions. As a consequence there was sufficient snow to open all terrain and lifts from the outset. Regular storm cycles and suitable snow making conditions enabled ski areas to build excellent snow bases providing top quality snow throughout the season from day one. Snow sports participants took full advantage and made the most of some wonderful snow until the end of October.
‘The snow this year was from the 'top drawer' - we had plenty of it and it was top quality from day one’ says Miles Davidson, spokesperson for the Ski Areas Association.
Regular natural snow falls combined with machine made snow enables the industry to provide good quality snow at all times. Snow management is a key to everyone both industry and participants alike. Snow making, snow fencing and grooming are paying off for the industry and investment in snow management will continue to ensure more great seasons to come.
Over 40,000 season passes were sold throughout the country prior to and during the 2006 season. With such good conditions, season pass holders had a great season, maximizing their passes to the full.
Good snow conditions are the catalyst to skiers and boarders buying new equipment. ‘You could say the retail sector made snow while the storms raged.’ 15,454 pairs of skis and 7,120 snowboards were imported in 2005 and industry sources report that most of this stock has been sold. It is expected the industry will be importing greater quantities of equipment for the 2007 season.
Planning is underway for the 2007 season and skiers and boarders on Mt Ruapehu will be able to experience the new 6 seater detachable chairlift being installed this summer at Turoa. The new chairlift will take skiers and boarders from the top of the Movenpick quad chair to the upper slopes previously serviced by the High Noon T bar. Turoa’s snow making capacity is also being increased for next season to cover more terrain.