Huge Snow Falls, Record Numbers For Snow Sport
19 November 2008
Huge Snow Falls Drive Record Numbers For Snow Sports Industry
New Zealand skifields had their best year ever in 2008.
Ski Areas Association members sold 1,402,000 passes, up 116,000 from last year‘s 1,286,000.
The 2008 result surpasses by 1,000 the previous record of 1,401,000 ski area passes sold in 2006.
Skiers and snowboarders experienced fantastic snow conditions at all areas during the season. Ski areas were well underway with most lifts and terrain open for the July school holidays thanks to both natural and machine-made snow.
More snow than usual fell during the rest of the season. Skiers and riders had top quality conditions until October in the South Island and mid November in the North Island when the season ended.
“Providing quality conditions for skiers and riders is paramount especially at peak times such as holidays and weekends,” says Ski Areas Association spokesperson Miles Davidson. “Everyone is more enthusiastic and wants to participate more often when conditions are right,”
Snowmaking is making a huge difference to the industry. Areas can open slopes in June in time for the school holidays in early July. Snow bases can be built up when conditions allow, resulting in a longer season. It also provides the ability to improve snow quality throughout the season particularly in high traffic areas.
Snow sports retailers played their part supporting the season with innovations such as the NZ Snow Industry Federation’s free ski and snowboard equipment checks.
“Malfunctioning gear can lead to serious injury, and it’s important for the industry as a whole that its customers feel safe on the mountain,” Davidson says. “The free checks are a good way of focusing on the safety issue and the NZSIF plans to continue the programme for the long haul.”
More than 40,000 season passes were sold throughout the country prior to and during 2008. “With such good conditions, season pass holders had a great season, maximizing their passes to the full,” Davidson says.