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Fancy Owning Your Own Ski Field?

Fancy Owning Your Own Ski Field?

Mt Dobson
Click to enlarge
Mt Dobson
Click to enlarge

Media Release
Date 14.10.2008

Taking the piste –
fancy owning your own ski field?

A ‘sleeping giant’ of a ski field – with potential to substantially increase its capacity without adding any new equipment – is on the market for sale.

Mt Dobson is on the main highway between Christchurch and Queenstown, and is 76 kilometres from Timaru. It was opened in 1980 by husband and wife team Peter and Shirley Foote and their family, and has since built up a loyal customer base. With 400 hectares of slopes, Mt Dobson has runs for all abilities and an abundance of water for snowmaking in leaner years, as well as the capacity to expand tows and lifts to open up new runs.

The company which operates the ski field, Mt Dobson Ski Area Limited, is for sale through Bayleys Queenstown... and with a price tag of just $2.95 million, there is speculation that the potential new owner could well be a wealthy New Zealander wanting to own their own ski field as a commercially viable ‘hobby’. The operation employs two permanent staff and 25 seasonal workers

Bayleys Queenstown sales consultant Warwick Edward said that Mt Dobson was spread over two large basins and had trails to test skiers and snowboarders of all levels – with 25 per cent of terrain grades rated ‘beginner’, 50 per cent of terrain rated ‘intermediate’ and 25 per cent graded for ‘advanced’ enthusiasts. Recent trail development has improved accessibility around the mountain – especially to lower ability skiers and snowboarders.

“Mt Dobson’s south-westerly aspect, altitude and position close to the main divide of the Southern Alps are key attributes in gaining and retaining natural snow cover – allowing the season to run from late June through to October,” Mr Edward said.

“Meanwhile, an abundance of water on the mountain in natural waterways allows for the development of significant snowmaking. Mt Dobson Ski Area Limited is planning to install tank water storage with a 100,000-litre capacity which will give seven hours snowmaking per day – with daily tank replenishment through natural watercourses.

“The four lifts on the mountain provide a carrying capacity of 4000 skiers or snowboarders per hour – allowing for an average of five ascents or descents per hour. However there is the potential for an increase in patronage without the need for capital expenditure on infrastructure. There is ample uphill capacity from the triple chair, T-bar, beginners and platters lifts that will be able to absorb any immediate growth – up to a total of 50,000 visits annually.

“At 1725 metres above sea level, Mt Dobson has the highest ski field car park in New Zealand. At the top of the lift, the ski field is 2020metres above sea level. With a rental based on turnover, Mt Dobson can be operated on a perpetual lease. The current concession from the Crown has 45 years left to run and encompasses a total area of
10,500 hectares.

“Innovative marketing has seen Mt Dobson set up training programmes with 100 primary, intermediate and secondary schools in the Canterbury and South Canterbury regions. However, there is substantial room for greater promotional activity. In fact, Mt Dobson ski field has significant potential for increased business – particularly through investment of further capital and a wider marketing programme.”

Mr Edward said that a three-bedroom home in Fairlie, 26 kilometres from the Mt Dobson ski field, is also included in the business assets. The home features an office, two bathrooms and large kitchen. With a rock exterior to keep heat inside, the home is north facing and has underfloor heating. Next door is a nine-bay maintenance workshop and buildings used for servicing much of the machinery used up the mountain – such as the snow groomers and snow making equipment.


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