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Students light up slopes at Coronet Peak


Coronet Peak’s first night ski event for 2019 was illuminated in a unique way last night, thanks to the creative juices of Arrowtown School students.

In a mountain first, the piste lights were switched off on Shirtfront to make way for an illuminated ski suit competition, with 10 Year 7 and 8 students skiing down the mountain lit up in costumes they designed and made themselves. Designed as a project-based learning module, the aim was to get students working alongside a real business – in this case, NZSki – while combining their skills to create the ultimate illuminated ski suit.

The suits were designed according to two competition categories. The ‘Safety’ category showcased innovative designs constructed to enhance the safety of night skiing, while the ‘Stoke’ category opened the doors for the students’ imaginations, with each suit designed for maximum visual effect, sharing the excitement and ‘stoke’ of night skiing at Coronet Peak. The students had a set criteria to work with, which included how visible the lights were, how practical and durable the suits were, and the crash resistance factor of the costumes.

Arrowtown School teachers Grant Hammond and Joe Bailey approached Coronet Peak with the idea at the start of Term 2, and Hammond says it was a fantastic experience for the students.

“We are incredibly proud of our Year 7 and 8 students in what they have achieved,” he says. “The kids felt empowered and engaged throughout the entire process as they worked towards an authentic goal. The partnership with NZSki made the students learning more purposeful and real, especially when Nigel Kerr from Coronet Peak came to Arrowtown School to launch the project. The students had to apply their scientific knowledge of light and design, create brochures, project manage, write speeches, utilise craftsmanship, collaborate and problem-solve.”

Kerr, Coronet Peak’s ski area manager, says the competition was a novel way to kick off an exciting season of night skiing, held at Coronet Peak every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday till 9pm.

“Watching the kids ski down in the dark, lit up by their own designs, was fantastic,” Nigel says. “Conditions were great last night and there was a bumper crowd of keen skiers and boarders getting in on the action and carving it up under the lights. It bodes well for a big season of night skiing which is a must-do experience when in Queenstown. Tomorrow night is our first official ELEVATE night ski party from 4pm till 9pm with Kiwi rapper KINGS taking to the stage. It’s sure to be a ripper!”

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