Ski Fields On Slippery Slope

The unexpectedly long lockdown and end of the trans-Tasman bubble significantly impacted New Zealand's southern ski fields.

Between them, NZSki and Cardrona Alpine Resort claimed over $3m from the wage subsidy for a combined 1906 staff last month.

Both operators were expecting a busy season of Australian and Auckland tourists. However, following the rapid loss of both markets, the ski fields finally opened last weekend under level 2.

Despite promising numbers since reopening, both NZSki chief executive Paul Anderson and Cardrona chief experiences officer Bridget Legnavsky said they expected to meet the criteria for another round of wage subsidy payments.

Anderson said about 600 people arrived at The Remarkables on the weekend, forcing the ski field to announce capacity at 8.30am. Coronet Peak reached capacity at 11.30am.

To claim the wage subsidy in level 2, businesses must prove a 40 percent drop in revenue directly caused by Auckland being in level 4.

Anderson said if NZSki were to apply for more wage subsidy, it would be much less than what it had already claimed.

NZSki was making most of its annual profit in July, August and September, but the snap lockdown in the middle of the peak season meant its revenue dropped by 95 percent in the first two weeks, and Cardrona was down 100%.

Aucklanders make up approximately 25 percent of weekly visitors across The Remarkables and Coronet Peak, and Australians usually accounted for up to a third.

Legnavsky said they have 50 percent fewer visitors than they were expecting this year.

Both operators were grateful to receive the wage subsidy and expected snow conditions to remain good until late October.