Queenstown, New Zealand – Mountain bikers in Queenstown are in for a real treat this summer.
NZSki is opening high-speed chairlift access to some of Queenstown’s most exhilarating biking trails on Coronet Peak and the Rude Rock track, finishing at Skippers Saddle. The Coronet Peak Express chairlift will open during the height of summer from Dec. 26, 2014 to Jan. 11, 2015.
Coronet Peak ski area manager Ross Copland said he was excited to open up the chairlift to bikers and summer sightseers following a five-year hiatus.
“We have some incredible trails up here but the big uphill pedal isn’t for everyone. Opening the chairlift will make it much more accessible for riders of all ability and fitness levels to reach the top, meaning more time riding and less time pushing,” he said. “We’re rapt about bringing back chairlift access and giving mountain bikers something extra special to look forward to over the Christmas and New Year break. Having the free Coronet Peak bike shuttle right from Skippers Saddle is an added bonus that opens up the ‘Rude Rock’ trail and huge vertical for riders which we’re confident they’ll love.”
Mountain biking at Coronet Peak is on again thanks to a joint effort between Coronet Peak and the Queenstown Mountain Biking Club, which will be responsible for overall maintenance of trails. Club president Tom Hey said he was “stoked” to see the chairlift re-open.
“It’s awesome that Coronet Peak’s doing this,” he said. “The trails up there are really fun and people will be thrilled to be able to lap them out all day. Mountain biking’s blown up in Queenstown over the last few years, plus its peak mountain biking season, so we’re expecting to see high numbers of locals and visitors coming up to Coronet Peak.”
Queenstown Mountain Bike Club’s “Wednesday dig crew” – who build and maintain trails all over Queenstown – will be helping get the downhill track back into shape before Christmas.
He said the excitement “didn’t stop there” as a to-be-confirmed Club downhill mountain bike race is in the planning stages for January.
The Coronet Express chairlift will operate from 11 a.m. until 7 p.m. each day and a shuttle bus and trailer will wait for bikers at Skippers Saddle, at the bottom of the Rude Rock track, to take them back to the chairlift. The shuttle is free for anyone with a valid day or season MTB pass. Facilities open at Coronet Peak will include food and drinks from the substation, toilets, and sports retailer Outside Sports will set up on the deck for bike rentals and minor repairs.
Bike taxis around town will offer regular taxi connections from Queenstown to Coronet Peak, and free onsite parking is available all summer for drivers.
Tickets for adults range from NZ$69 for a half day, NZ$89 for a full day, NZ$199 for a three-day and NZ$399 for a season pass along with a full range of discounted children’s passes. 2015 NZSki winter season pass holders can purchase the season pass for a discounted rate of NZ$299 for adults and NZ$149 for children.
Non-biking spectators can come along for a scenic ride to the top of Coronet Peak for NZ$15 (adult) or NZ$10 (child) single ride ticket, or hikers can hop off at the top, take in the views and enjoy a leisurely walk down the mountain.