It will be the closest chairlift to Christchurch and the first to be installed in the Canterbury region in nearly a decade. The chairlift is part of a multi-million dollar work programme over the summer.
“The chairlift will make skiing on our main family slope even easier” said General Manger, Uli Dinsenbacher. “It has been talked about for many years so it is fantastic to see it happening. The chairlift loading area will make accessing the lower mountain more convenient for our customers. There will be considerably more skiable terrain, as the slope will no longer be cut in half by a T-bar lift track. It will also really appeal to intermediate snow boarders who prefer chairlifts over riding on T-bars.”
Other exciting developments include the construction of a new beginners slope practically level with the car park. With the beginner’s carpet lift located immediately beside the existing intermediate platter slope, this will mean a much easier progression for first time skiers and snowboarders. Learners will be able to walk directly from the car park onto the beginner’s area. Uli Dinsenbacher notes “we have eliminated that climb up the hill to the beginners area, a really welcome improvement, especially for kids and their families.”
The Sun terrace outside the Café will also be expanded to provide more seating as well as a new grill and a beverage serving area. “Our customers will have more space outdoors to enjoy the stunning alpine atmosphere while catching up with friends over a coffee,” said Mr. Dinsenbacher.
The chairlift has been manufactured in Austria by Doppelmayr, has an electric drive, is 689m long and has a vertical rise of 215m. The 93 chairs on the chairlift can carry 2,000 skiers an hour up the slope, doubling the current T-bar capacity.
Earthworks for the chairlift installation will start as soon as the ski season finishes in early October, while the chairlift towers will be installed after Christmas. Extensive earthworks will not only widen the terrain on the former T-bar 1 slope, but will also remove the narrow funnel known as D6, which has always constricted the bottom part of the area.
A new short T-bar will link the top of the chairlift to the existing T-bar 2 lift. In the future it is planned to replace all the remaining T-bars with a single new chairlift.
Managing Director, Simon Harvey commented “the great response we have had from customers when we built the new café, installed a magic carpet, and, more recently put additional snowmaking on the mountain, has given the owners confidence to make the most substantial investment in Porters’ history. This is the next exciting step in our plan to develop Porters into a major winter and summer resort over the coming years.”
Mr. Harvey said “it will also help the recovery of tourism in wider Canterbury and reinforce Canterbury’s role as a major Australasian ski destination. With the major rebuild now underway in Christchurch, the stellar economic growth in New Zealand, and, the continued growth of the Asia Pacific Region, we believe there is a compelling basis for tourism investment in Canterbury”.
“We will have a very busy summer with all these improvements, but the promise of a new chairlift with the added bonus of more terrain plus streamlined access for all our customers will make it worthwhile” said Mr. Dinsenbacher.
A public competition to name the new chairlift starts today. Customers can share their suggestions for the name via Porters website at www.skiporters.co.nz/chairname.
Porters are also offering customers the opportunity to lock-in 2014 season pass rates for next season simply by registering their details via Porters website at www.skiporters.co.nz/register.