Mt Hutt 8 seater chairlift opens tomorrow with 80cm snow base

It’s all systems go for Mt Hutt’s opening day tomorrow after a winter blast has coated the mountain with an average 80cm base.

All three of the resort chairlifts will be spinning, including the new Nor’west Express, New Zealand’s first 8-seater chairlift.

The new lift will transform the way people access and use the mountain. It follows the same path up the mountain as the old Quad did, providing faster access to our terrain parks, and a more comfortable ride to the beginner slopes for those new to the sport.

“Guests will be able to enjoy a broad range of groomed terrain on the upper mountain from day one. The Summit Six chairlift will be spinning, the Triple will be running from Mid-Station, and we’ll have the best offering in our terrain parks for an opening day in well over a decade,” says ski area manager James Mckenzie.

“This new chairlift is world-class and comes with very clever features that will help us deal with some of the more challenging weather conditions that we get up here from time to time.”

Mt Hutt on June 1.

Each chair weighs nearly a tonne and comes with a chair swing dampener meaning it will be able to run in higher winds – reducing closed days.

The eight seater has padded seats and headrests with foot rest bars and will be the preferred lift to access terrain parks allowing guests to enjoy faster park laps and reducing queues for the Summit Six.

All the chairs can stow in the bottom terminal so chair clamps and seats will stay free of ice. The cable also has a de-icing system and can be run at night allowing staff to get the lift operational faster after snowfall.

The lift can run at 5m/s and comes with 6 extra chairs that can be rolled on to increase the capacity from 2400 to 3,000 people per hour to meet demand whilst minimising power requirements on quieter days.

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Rachael Oakes-Ash is the name behind @misssnowitall and the founder of SnowsBest.com. A long time travel and lifestyle journalist and ski writer, she's been published in ESPN, TIME, Wallpaper*, Action Asia, Inside Sport, Australian Financial Review, Emirates Open Skies, Conde Nast Traveler and more. She was the Fairfax snow blogger from 2007 to 2017 and the Southern Hemisphere editor for OnTheSnow. Rachael is also a documentary producer, author, radio announcer and humorist.