Twelve skiers and snowboarders banned for life in twelve days in New Zealand

So you bought a five day lift pass and you leave the resort a day early, what do you do with the fifth day?

Do you think you’re doing someone a good turn and give your lift pass to them?  Do you try to make some quick cash and sell it to the highest bidder but still at a reduced discount from the advertised price? Or do you rip it up and throw it in the bin?

The legal thing to do is to rip it up but with single or multi day paper passes it is just as easy to hand it over to a mate without consequences.  Yet if you flipped it over and read the fine print you’d see that your lift pass is ‘non transferable’ so if someone else skis on the pass you bought then you’re busted and your wallet will be emptied.

In Europe where lifties are a dying breed it’s hardly a problem. When you do find them they are no doubt smoking a laced Gitane in the warmth of a shed more concerned with keeping their tootsies warm than playing fun police.

In New Zealand NZ Ski’s new mypass radio frequency lift pass system that uploads photo id and monitors your spend, your time on the slopes, vertical metres and astrological star sign rising means that if you ski at Mt Hutt, Coronet Peak or the Remarkables this season you’d better make sure you’re skiing with your own pass.

If you’re not then expect a ban for life like these folk were no doubt not expecting.  Though the season pass holders should have known better. It’s like playing a game of chance with the parking police.  How many times can you overstay your parking metre welcome before scoring a ticket?  Numbers games always mean you’re going to get caught.

Radio frequency cards are here to stay. Mt Ruapehu introduced them last year for season pass holders and Mt Buller have them for Buller club members only this year. The ski passes at Verbier in Switzerland and other European resorts mean you leave it in your pocket and let the electronic turnstiles do the rest.

NZ Ski claim a world first by allowing their RF card to hold financial value, topping it up with credit to purchase new lift passes, equipment from the rental shop and food in the base lodge. They can also now monitor more closely those who are trying to rip them off.

the company are trying to protect their revenue,  have a right to do so and the message has been sent loud and clear. But would a dollar fine equivalent to a season pass make the same impact and stop the offenders from doing it again without losing them for life?

Do you make them do community service with ski patrol once a week and turn their outlook around or do you lock them up in stocks in the Queenstown mall and start handing out the rotting fruit?

What would you do if it were you, lifetime ban or throw away the key?   Have you ever ‘borrowed’ a mate’s ski pass or lent your own to someone for the afternoon? Would you do it again? 

Are lift pass cheaters just another term for Scrooge or are they the anti establishment heroes?


  1. Ski resorts are way to uptight.
    Sure with a season pass they have a point, but with a day pass, I dont see what the problem is if i buy a full day pass and use it in the morning and then give it to one of my kids in the afternoon. Its still one person using the lift.
    Add that to the high prices and you can see why people steer clear of certain resorts.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here