A new lift for next winter?

The proposed Willow Basin chairlift is to be located adjacent to the existing Cardrona Skyline trail and extending southward.

Cardrona Alpine Resort Manager Bridget Legnavsky has estimated a 30 per cent loss of business this year compared to last, but that hasn’t stopped the resort from looking forward.  

Earlier this month, a resource consent application was submitted to install a new chairlift within Willow Basin, which is located in the lower portion of the Soho Ski Area. 

The agreement to expand into Soho was confirmed in July 2018, providing Cardrona with 500 hectares of skiable terrain to develop. Resource consents have already been approved for the construction of a ski lift in the Soho Basin (the upper portion) and earthworks to extend and create tracks and establish staging areas within the Soho and Willow Basins. Once the expansion is complete, Cardrona will be the largest ski area in New Zealand.

The proposed Willow Basin chairlift is to be located adjacent to the existing Cardrona Skyline trail and extending southward. At 748m long and with 75 chairs, the lift would have the capacity to ferry 1,487 people per hour up 235 vertical metres at 2.1m per second.

The construction process would include over 500 helicopter trips to deliver materials and concrete pours.

Legnavsky confirmed that they would be using the existing lift replaced by the McDougall’s Express Chondola in 2017, which had been “completely repurposed and upgraded and is now waiting to be installed.”

The application was still being vetted by Queenstown Lakes District Council (QLDC), but Legnavsky hoped to have the lift in place before next season.

She added that the consented installation of a brand new lift in the Soho Basin would depend on how well the resort does over the next few years. 

"It’s a significant investment and the timing needs to be right to make it possible,” she said. The consent for the Soho Basin lift is currently set to expire on June 22 2022.

Read edition 997 of the WānakaSun here.


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