25 Skiers and Boarders Rescued from Chairlift at Coronet Peak, New Zealand

Julia Schneemann | | Industry NewsIndustry News
Coronet Peak
Coronet Peak near Queenstown on New Zealand’s South Island is having a fantastic season, picture: Coronet Peak Instagram Page

Twenty-five skiers and boarders had to be rescued on Monday from Queenstown’s Coronet Peak skifield after the Greengates chairlift came to a grinding halt. Visitors had an unexpected interruption to their snowsports day this week when the six-chair stopped due to a technical failure.

Coronet Peak is located on the South Island of New Zealand about 25 minutes from Queenstown, making it the closest ski resort in the area. None of the ski resorts in the area have accommodation and all require driving up or taking a bus from Queenstown every day. Due to its proximity, Coronet Peak is the most popular resort in that area.

The resort reaches from a base elevation of 3,829 ft (1,167 m) to 5,410 ft (1,649 m), giving it 1,516 ft (462 m) of vertical spread across 280 hectares. The resort is served by two chair lifts, one t-bar, four surface lifts, and a gondola.

Coronet Peak
Trail Map Coronet Peak, NZ, picture: Coronet Peak Homepage

Around 3:45 p.m. a bolt holding the wheel responsible for driving the chairs around the lift station snapped, causing the Greengates chairlift to grind to a halt. After attempting to fix the broken bolt for 20 minutes it was decided that it would take too long and that people on the chairs had to be evacuated.

Ski patrol and other staff on duty rushed to retrieve the stranded skiers and boarders, but it was a long process that took a total of 2.5 hours before everyone was back on the ground. Coincidentally, the lift was fixed about 10 minutes before the last person was lowered down safely.

Chairlift rescue
Picture of the rescue from Mountain Scene Facebook Page

The lift is only 16 years old, so the broken bolt comes as a surprise. Luckily for everyone, it was a pleasant day. Inclement weather could have made the wait quite arduous. Skiers and boarders were compensated by the resort with a $99 credit on their lift pass that they could use towards food and beverage at the resort. The cause of the failure is being investigated in order to avoid a recurrence.

Coronet Peak is having a great season and announced two weeks ago that they were extending their season by a week to October 2nd. The resort has a snow base of 16-53 in (40-135 cm) and has had 82 in (208 cm) of snowfall this season.

Ski NZ
Coronet Peak, NZ, picture: Coronet Peak Instagram Page

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2 thoughts on “25 Skiers and Boarders Rescued from Chairlift at Coronet Peak, New Zealand

  1. Wow! That’s a solid credit by the resort. Fair too. Last time I was stuck on a lift for a couple hours, I received a hot chocolate voucher.

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