Mt Hutt skifield is getting New Zealand’s first 8-seater chairlift – the Nor’west Express.
The new chairlift will replace the current Quad chair and work will start on installing it in late October. It is expected to be open for the start of the next ski season.
Mt Hutt ski area manager James McKenzie says it will improve how guests access the mountain.
‘‘The ride time of the Nor’west Express is only two minutes and it has capacity to carry up to 3,000 people an hour.
‘‘The Quad currently takes at-least seven minutes to reach the top and can only move around 1,500 people an hour on a good day, so we’re excited that our guests will be able to enjoy more time on the slopes with this new addition.
“This lift will follow the same path up the mountain as the Quad currently does so will provide the best access to our terrain parks. This means we expect to see less demand for our Summit Six chairlift and some of our upper mountain trails at peak times.”
Comfort, speed, safety, and resilience are key highlights of the new 8-seater with features including padded seats, foot-rest bars and a loading carpet with access gates.
Each chair weighs nearly a tonne and is equipped with a chair swing dampener meaning the lift will be more stable and operate at higher speeds in windy conditions. A cable de-icing and night-drive system coupled with fully automated in-terminal chair parking will drastically improve start-up times on icy mornings.
‘‘It will be much more robust in variable weather allowing us to get up and running faster after new snow and to operate in stronger winds which in turn will reduce our closed days during the season and provide added value to our guests,” Mr McKenzie says.