It’s all about the snow at Wanaka’s Treble Cone ski area

Crisp clear days and freezing cold nights have proved the perfect snowmaking cocktail for Wanaka’s Treble Cone ski area.

A series of snowstorms that dumped just over a metre of snow in the Saddle Basin and on the upper mountain, and up to 50cm at the base, has been followed by a solid week of snowmaking.

Working around the clock in two shifts, the Treble Cone snowmaking team has been flat out producing even more of the precious white stuff.

The week’s snowmaking has seen 180 pump hours translate into 16.5 million litres of water blasting through snowguns scattered around the ski area’s Home Basin.

The ski area’s new 380hp Pisten Bully’s along with two winch cats for steeper terrain have been put to work compacting the snow to form a superb base for the season to come.

In the Saddle Basin, 1.2km of wind fencing has collected tonnes of natural snow that is being used to form trails.

Treble Cone Field Operations Manager Dave Crotty, the ski area’s longest-serving staff member now on his 19th season, is in his element in the early snow.

Having worked in the industry for 31 years, (he has worked every winter in NZ since 1987, including 25 seasons aboard), his experience in New Zealand and overseas is unparalleled.

Dave has travelled all over the world, working in Asia, Europe and North America, with highlights including grooming and building World Cup and Olympic downhill race courses.

“I grew up on the farm so I like driving machinery and I obviously love skiing,” he says.

“I love the job because I want people to be able to ski down safely and enjoy the mountain and the snow. Wherever I go I still want to come back here because I still rate New Zealand and Treble Cone as pretty amazing for skiing.”

* Treble Cone ski area is scheduled to open for the 2018 season on June 28.

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World-class freeride coaches hit the slopes at Treble Cone

Some of the best freeride and ski race coaches in the world hit the slopes at Wanaka’s Treble Cone this winter, joining internationally-renowned instructors at the mountain’s Snowsports School.

Local young skiers (and snowboarders) can take skill levels and confidence up a notch or three with full and part-time children’s development programmes throughout the season.

Two-time New Zealand Freeride Athlete of the Year Sam Lee joins Team TC as head freeride coach for the first time, in something of a coup for the mountain.

His solid competition results around the world — including a podium in Alaska in 2017 — secured him a spot on the Freeride World Tour in 2018 and 2019. As well as coaching Team TC this winter he’ll be coaching the NZ Freeride Team.

Sam will coach alongside Louis Charnaud, who has instructed all over the world including New Zealand, Japan, USA and Switzerland. Louis also competes in Big Mountain skiing in the Freeride World Qualifier events.

Meanwhile head ski race coach Michael Shenkel is no stranger to Treble Cone’s slopes, embarking on an impressive 24th season at TC in 2018.

Mike holds USSA National Coach Level 400 and PSIA Level 3 qualifications and has had a long and successful career of ski race coaching in New Zealand and the States, with 72 seasons under his belt.

Yes, he loves his US mountains, but TC is his ‘favourite’ when it comes to leading the coaching team and seeing the progression and growth of kids on and off snow.

Meanwhile, youngsters aspiring to work their way up to Team TC level have plenty of other ski and snowboard packages and lessons to choose from.

Already renowned worldwide for Mother Nature’s natural bowls and challenging upper-mountain runs, in recent years the much-loved ski area has developed rewarding intermediate terrain.

It’s unique among Southern Lakes ski areas in having a Northwest-facing learners and beginners area alongside the base building, bathed in sunshine and warmth all season-long and perfect for those having their first ‘on-snow’ experience.

TC’s renowned Snowsports School delivers superb value lessons and packages range from tailored learn to ski and snowboard packages to high intensity adult packages that sell out year after year.

Littlies happily start their time on the slopes with a Ski School Kitty Cat Lesson for five-and-unders including a one-hour rental, one-on-one lesson and all-day learner lift access for just $99.

A full-day solution for families is a child lesson (ages 6 to 17) which includes drop off from 9am, two group lessons, lunch and pick up at 4pm (rentals and lift additional).

School holidays are a breeze with five-day school camps starting on July 9, July 16 and July 23 for youngsters wanting to hone ski race, freeski or snowboarding skills. Camps include two group lessons daily and are a steal at just $499 per camp (a saving of $171 on full retail child group lesson prices).

Treble Cone’s official Burton Learn to Ride Programme provides specialised snowboard equipment designed to smooth the transition from beginner to intermediate rider.

TC’s much-loved Riders and Sliders and Riders (for kids aged from four to 17) and Sliders Mini (three and four-year-olds ski only) runs for six consecutive Sundays from July 29.

For Wanaka, Queenstown and Central Otago parents (and others!) Treble Cone’s premium ski improvement and development camps for adults are back after a highly successful 2017 season. Sofa Ski Camps have top hand-picked coaches leading five-day intensive camps suitable for intermediate to expert skiers.

Sofa Ski Camps run over seven weeks throughout the season and two programmes in August are already sold out – so get in quick!

Value-add packages across the board include a Learner Lift Package, Lift Package and Lesson, Progression Package and Learn to Ski Package.

About Treble Cone

Renowned for its 550 hectares of skiable terrain and the longest vertical in the Southern Alps, Treble Cone is the perfect destination for every level of skier or snowboarder.

The sheer size of its skiable terrain, from 30% to more than 50% bigger than surrounding areas, means lift queues are a rarity, even on a powder day, and slopes are wide open and crowd-free.

Access to the mountain in 2018 will be easier than ever with a free TC Mountain Shuttle driving guests from the bottom of the access road straight to the slopes.

Kids under 6 ski or board for free ($20 card fee applies) and there’s free helmet rental with every child rental or child lift and rental package, subject to availability. The Magic Carpet and snowplay area remain free to all.

Treble Cone’s 2018 season runs from June 28 to September 23. For further information go to www.treblecone.com

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Treble Cone welcomes new Brand Manager Richard Birkby

One of Australia and New Zealand’s most experienced and passionate brand management and marketing professionals, Richard Birkby, is joining Wanaka ski area Treble Cone as Brand Manager.

An experienced marketer with 20 years’ experience working for internationally-renowned brands in New Zealand, Australia and the UK, Richard Birkby starts his new role in mid-June.

Richard moved to Wanaka nearly five years ago because he wanted to spend more time skiing. And, not surprisingly, it was a certain ski area that was the catalyst for the move.

“I moved to Wanaka because of Treble Cone,” he says. “I called it a ‘ski change’ because after having skied and worked all over the world the one place I felt most comfortable, the one place I kept coming back to, was Treble Cone.

“I love TC because of the incredible terrain and also because of the community around it, and although I’ve had amazing roles since I’ve been in New Zealand, this is the one I’ve always wanted. This is my dream job.”

Richard, 45, came to Wanaka from Sydney in 2013, where he worked for leading advertising and marketing agency HOST. In his first year in Wanaka he commuted weekly to Auckland where he was Group Business Director for world-class creative agency Colenso BBDO, before spending three years as Head of Brand and Marketing at Wanaka-based Mons Royale.

Richard believes Treble Cone has the potential to be an incredible “cult brand”.

“What’s important about Treble Cone as a brand is that there are very few ski areas in this country that spark such an emotive response in people. The potential that represents for TC is enormous. People love this place.”

Treble Cone ski area manager Toby Arnott says Richard brings the “perfect” skillset range to the role.

“We’re thrilled to have found someone of his calibre right here in Wanaka who will help us in our drive to collectively deliver an exceptional guest experience.

“The fact that he is so passionate about snow sports and about Treble Cone in particular is a huge bonus!”

When he’s not skiing at TC in winter, Richard and his family enjoy surfing and cycling.

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