It is snow guns at fifty paces in the lead up to the Australasian ski season as rumours and gossip fight with reality in the snow world. Who doesn’t love this time of the season, the frenetic excitement before the main winter storm.
Snow Park in New Zealand, however, is far from feeling that love. The terrain park resort announced earlier this month that they would not be operating this year, only a month after announcing the park was back in the lease hands of original owner, Sam Lee. The resort simply did not have the turnaround time for mountain repairs and upkeep.
This is good news for Cardrona who will no doubt pick up the terrain park slack across the valley and hopefully some of the Winter Games NZ events originally scheduled for Snow Park in August. There is talk that Cardona may even assist with opening Snow Park during that week to ensure the games go on.
Cardrona, however, is on the market. Melbourne’s Vealls family who currently own Cardrona put the profitable resort on the market earlier this year. Rumours of buyers include a Russian and a Chinese consortium but these have both been slammed by our Cardrona source who will only say there are a number of interested parties.
The word on the street last week was that NZ Ski (owners of nearby Coronet Peak and The Remarkables) had formed an alliance with Real Journeys, Sky Line and Ngai Tahu Tourism to put in a bid. This would give NZ Ski a three resort monopoly of the five (now four with Snow Park closed for this season) resorts accessible from Queenstown and put Treble Cone on alert.
However word from another source today says that Skyline are the ones who have made the bid without the other three. No doubt all will be revealed by early June as the current owners need to hand over in the first week of July. Watch this space.
In Australia, the style obsessed QT Hotels have secured the key to the Quay West Resort and Spa originally designed by Elenberg Fraser and managed by Mirvac then by Accor Hotels. The new QT Falls Creek will open at the start of the season with a complete interior refurb from Nic Graham featuring the interactive marketplace Bazaar, a Stingray Lounge cocktail bar and spaQ day spa.
QT Hotels are owned by Amalgamated Holdings Limited who also own Thredbo Alpine Village, one can only hope they let QT loose on the Thredbo Alpine Hotel to bring the design into 2013. Now there’s a rumour I’d like to see come to fruition.
Winter Olympic broadcast rumours were finally put to bed this month when Network TEN announced they had purchased the broadcast rights to the Sochi Winter Olympics in 2014 after both Seven and Nine pulled out. Rumour is that TEN got the free to air, subscription television, internet and mobile broadcast rights for a $20 million song.
The news comes just in time for Australia’s Winter Olympic hopefuls. We had our most successful northern competition season in history with twenty-five medals won by fourteen athletes at World Cup and World Championship level.
That’s it for the snow grapevine this week.
Have you heard any more rumours, gossip and news for the snow season in Australia and New Zealand this year? Post a comment on the blog and share your thoughts.
Since publishing this blog Real Journeys has been announced as the preferred bidder for Cardrona and it has been revealed that Merlin Entertainment also put in a bid.