Congratulations New Zeland - together we made it to level 2. Thanks to all the sacrifices you have all made, many businesses like ours will be operating this winter.
We are confident at level 2 we can provide a safe and enjoyable experience for all of our customers, and we are quietly optimistic that we will see New Zealand at Level 1 before the end of the winter. After all, cross country skiing lends itself to creating space between people to despite it being very social; it naturally enables social distancing.
What does operating at level two means for our customers at Snow Farm? At level two, we need to keep a 1 m distance inside from other people and 2 metres outside, unless of course, these people belong to your bubble. Our building space will be limited to 100 people, but our trails will not be subject to the same limitations.
We have several strategies to minimize congestion, such as letting our seasons pass holders to access the trails without coming into the building. To accommodate this, we will have scanners just inside the door onto the learner’s area and the carpark, season pass holders will need to scan in and out for contact tracing.
Rentals seasons pass holders will be able to book equipment online the night before online, and we will ensure it’s out and waiting when you arrive at your specified time slot.
The great news is if you don’t have a season pass, we are extending our Pre-Seasons Pass Sale until June 18th. The pre-season pass rates are $199 for an adult and $99 for youth, and for unlimited rental, the pass price is $359 for an adult and $149 for a child. There are also deals for families, and the information is on our website.
We will also be increasing our diligence to ensure proper sanitization of all surfaces and facilities.
With that said, we are still a business, and we have to be realistic about what effects recent world events will have on our season and prepare for that. Snow permitting, we will open on June 19th and close on September 20th. We will be open seven days a week if the weather allows. We will still be grooming the trails to the same high standard, but we will be managing the frequency of grooming by the volume of skiers. We intend to have each trail open at some stage during the winter, snow permitting of course.
Our ski school will still be operating and offering all of the standard lessons and programs, but with our small team, we will be reducing the frequency and volume of lessons and programs. The youth programs will be operating as per usual on Saturday mornings, and we hope to introduce an adult program to run at the same time. We also have some exciting specials coming very soon for early season introductory packages.
Our backcountry huts will be open and soon we will releasing new pricing to fill off-peak spots. However, under level 2 guidelines we have had to remove the ability to book by the bed, and the huts will only be able to be booked exclusively, our revised pricing will make it an affordable option for everyone.
The Merino Muster is going ahead on August 29th, and while we will be missing our international guests and competitors, we are looking forward to the local flavour the event will have this year.
To reduce congestion in our guest services area, we will not be taking photos for seasons passes on the mountain this year, we are asking that our seasons pass holders take pictures at home and upload them through our website. This way, we can have them printed and ready for your arrival. We will be contacting season pass holders this week.
We will also be including a survey so we can better understand you and what you would like to see us have on offer Snow Farm this winter. This information is a valuable planning tool for us, so please keep an eye out for this email in your inbox.
The Southern Hemisphere Proving Grounds has made the difficult decision to close the lodge for the winter. This is only the accommodation and the restaurant/cafe facilities of the lodge. We are working on solutions to enable you to enjoy a cup of coffee and a snack while at Snow Farm and we will keep you posted on this.
Snow Farm is a non-profit organization, we rely heavily on the support of volunteers. If you think you might be able to help out this winter, no matter the capacity, please contact us, and we would love to get you involved.
Finally, we realize the current situation with Covid-19 is placing an enormous strain on our community. While we are excited about the winter, we are also mindful that many are experiencing some hard times right now. If you or someone you know could benefit from spending some time at Snow Farm, please let us know, and we will do our best to help. All communications will be kept strictly confidential.
Stay strong New Zealand, and from all of us at Snow Farm, we cant wait to see you all up at the Snow Farm this winter.