Temperatures are dropping and the daylight hours are becoming less and less as the core winter months draw ever closer! The mountain had a fresh snowfall earlier in the week and this sloppy wet snow has hung around longer than previous ones which is a sure sign of colder temps and its also doing its bit to get the winter excitement and fizz going!
Pre-season preparations are continuing at pace in the lead-up to opening on July 4. Having lost significant on mountain-time during the lock-down has meant a very condensed time-frame to get things ready but we are on track and are thankful to a number of members, outside businesses and contractors who have / are helping get the hill and its facilities ready. There is a lot of compliance related work and sign-off’s required to be completed, normally done during April / Early May, these requirements don’t go away – even for Covid-19!
Since our last communication the country has moved into Level 2 and the Ski industry has been busy preparing for a different style of operation across the country. Obviously things are still very dynamic, moving rapidly on a daily / weekly basis and its unclear at this stage where the alert level will be once opening day rolls around but we will either remain in level 2 or see a drop to Level 1. In either scenario the winter season will be different to all others and our focus remains to provide a safe environment for all members, customers and staff.
We are working hard to ensure we meet government requirements around contact tracing, social distancing and cleanliness / sanitizing within our operation and this will all mean a number of changes to how various areas of the operation function – for example our Daylodge which is often full on busy days will be limited to the amount of people we can have in it at any one time. Lift ques and T-Bar usage will be another area where we will need customers to help out with appropriate social distancing. We are looking at Contact Tracing App’s and are also preparing for some new signage around the mountain , some of which will explain a list of our expectations from Customers and a list of what we are doing to help our customers.
To help us fulfill some the of above requirements for a safe environment, we have some areas of the operation that are unfortunately suspended for the 2020 season and these include: Snowline Lodge, Rentals and Ski School.
The Cafe will continue to operate but will only be selling packaged food and drinks – our popular Hummingbird coffee will also continue to be served.
Sam Moore is exploring ways to have Forest Lodge functioning in some capacity over winter to smaller groups / families / bubbles so we encourage you to get in touch directly with her via the Forest Lodge Website
We truly do appreciate everyone’s support and patience over the last few months – its certainly been a learning curve for us all individually and as a country! We are very excited to be in a positive position and have certainty about the ability to operate for the season – albeit a little different from the normal.
Stay tuned as we’ll be back in touch real soon – for now just add snow……………….
Kia pai tō hauora. Stay well.
Cam Lill – Club President.
Members will be aware that the Committee postponed the AGM scheduled in March due to the increasing Covid-19 situation and have been awaiting the appropriate time to reschedule.
As the Alert Levels drop and gathering numbers are being increased this is a heads up that Committee have it on their radar and will be discussing the rescheduling of the AGM. We will be in touch with members regarding details once a date is set via a separate E-Chat to the membership database.
Things have moved forward in a positive direction since our last correspondence so we thought it time for another quick update. As New Zealanders we should be extremely proud of the efforts we have all made to stem the spread of this very contagious and devastating virus.
Since moving into Level 3 we have been able to regain access to the mountain and despite some concerns it was positive to find everything was ship shape after a 5 week hiatus! Another cold snap passed through earlier in the week depositing another coating over the hill and there is a distinctive chill in the air with winter looming!
A start has been made to finishing up some final outdoor maintenance along with looking at how we need to make some physical changes to areas of the operation which will align with a Covid level 1 – 2 winter season. Unfortunately our hopes to have the learners area re-development, upgrade of the Snowline kitchen and chiller facility (which was collected today from Diamond Harbour and will be stored at CBL Contractings yard until next summer) have been dashed but some preparation work that was already commissioned for these projects has continued and in some cases completed!
Yesterdays announcements from Government around what Level 2 will look like are very positive and although there has been a cap of 100 people for outdoor gatherings introduced, the Ski Industry, should be considered as an “Open Air” activity and there would “be a different set of circumstances”. This certainly gives us the confidence to continue towards our season opening goal of Saturday 4 July. Although the open air of the hill makes things clear cut from a perspective of skiing and riding on the slopes some of our other facilities such as the Daylodge, Cafe, deck area and lift lines for example will still fall under the rules of maintaining social distancing, cleanliness and regular sanitizing measures so we will be continuing to focus hard on these over the next few weeks in the build up to the 2020 season
The Committee met earlier this week to continue its planning for the season. Focus was around refining details of the various aspects and departments. Some positive decisions around operation of the Cafe were made in an effort to try and maintain some normality to the changed operation for 2020. Coffee is as much a part of the trip to the mountains as is getting on the slopes so we can reassure you there will be plenty of coffee!
A reduced staff team is well advanced and its great to be able to report a number of familiar faces returning for the season. Unfortunately we are unable to get a couple of our long serving field staff team, Aaron & Brian, back from the states and whilst its a blow we really hope to see them back in 2021!
Government announcements next week will further set our direction both personally and professionally and fingers crossed the outcome is a positive one. For Cheeseman and the entire industry its is certainly looking positive and we’ll be back in touch very soon once there is some more detail available to share.
Kia pai tō hauora. Stay well.
Cam Lill – Club President.
Welcome to another quick update. Whilst there’s not huge amounts to report on we feel maintaining contact is important and things are looking more and more promising for the upcoming winter season – so hopefully as the old saying goes “Any new is good news”?
As you will have seen from our recent Facebook posts the Webcams have been doing a fantastic job capturing some snowy images over the past few days. Whilst its still early days its great to see temps dropping and some white gold to cool down the ground!
Its just over a week since our last update post Easter so we hope you are all doing well out there? Its great to hear that NZ has united together to stomp hard on this terrible virus and whilst we are not in the clear yet there is visible progress being made!
Whilst moving from Alert Level 4 – 3 still has its restrictions its a positive move in the right direction and one that looks promising to see us in the Level 1 – 2 arena by winter. Our industry association is pushing hard for the Ski industry to be able to operate in a Level 1 – 2 environment and is currently working on a government submission which will include a set of operational protocols.
As mentioned in our last E-News, Cheeseman is committed to having the lifts open this year for our Members, Season Pass holders, Chill Pass holders and day-tripper customers to enjoy. The operation will be very different to a traditional season but essentially we want you all to be able to get into the snow and enjoy it in a safe and healthy environment. The Committee continue to push forward with plans and we hope we can bring everyone along on the journey towards winter 2020.
Below is a small update on Workparties and Vouchers for our members.
Enjoy the snowy webcam photos and stay safe out there – we will be back in touch very soon.
As members will be aware, we have been unable to commence the latter stage of the workparty season and are unlikely to be able to do so in the current Covid-19 Alert Levels. That, coupled with the time of year when access to the mountain becomes hard, the Committee have agreed to waive any workparty requirements for all members ahead of this season. Anyone who has already completed workparties will be issued vouchers for your contribution.
Because we are not opening Snowline Lodge this season, we have also agreed to extend any vouchers that will expire this season into the 2021 season.
Well, here we are approaching the end of week 3 of lock-down I think it’s fair to say no one could have anticipated the impact that Covid-19 would have on the world and everyday life here in New Zealand, we are truly living in an unprecedented time! Generally in our past as a smaller and more isolated country we have tended to escape this type of sceanrio, but with travel being so easy nowadays it really highlights how we can be impacted very easily in our normally peaceful and beautiful country!
We hope you have been keeping safe and sane within your bubbles during lock-down and I know how keen you are to plan on coming to see us at Cheeseman this winter – believe me we are keen to see you too and planning continues to be open for the 2020 season, albeit likely to look a bit different operationally from a normal run of the mill season.
We want to reassure you that our top priority is to protect the health and well-being of our guests and staff. With this in mind, looking at our 2020 Winter Season and what that might be post Covid-19, the committee have made the difficult decision to suspend all Snowline Lodge operations for 2020. As disappointing as this is, it allows us to focus our planning on a daily operation at the ski field. We need to be fluid enough to respond quickly if we move up and down through Covid-19 alert levels post lockdown. We continue to plan to be open on Saturday 4 July 2020.
Since we made this call and in fairness to pre-booked accommodation, our priority has been to contact existing bookings for the 2020 winter at Snowline Lodge. Charlotte has been doing an amazing job contacting all our guests but for some reason you have not heard from us, something has gone amiss. Please Click Here to get in touch.
As I mentioned, we continue to keep pushing forward to open the hill for a Daytripper operation, this includes compliance work, staff recruitment and reviewing how the slimmed down operation will work. Once the Alert levels ease and we can get back to the mountain there is a bit of physical work to tackle but all in all we are in pretty good shape to kick off the season.
We will continue to keep in touch post lockdown via electronic means including, E-Chat, E-News, Facebook and the new Covid-19 page on our website. If you don’t believe you (or someone you know) are receiving these updates please either subscribe here, let us know or pass them on.
We are all in this together, and while Covid-19 has effected each of us differently, we thank you for your continued support as we navigate an extremely tricky and unknown future for our club.
Stay safe in your bubbles, be kind to each other and take care.
Kia pai tō hauora. Stay well.
We hope everyone has made it through the first week of lock-down? Life has become very different for many of us and like past events, Earthquakes for Cantabrian’s springs to mind, will hopefully make us all stronger. Its perhaps a chance to take stock of life, spend a bit more time with family or who-ever is in your bubble and appreciate how lucky we actually are to live where we do!
Whilst we don’t have a great deal of information to pass on yet, we thought it important to keep the lines of communication open to everyone. There will be more information to share over the next week – 2 weeks and we will make it a priority to share with our members, pass holders, customers, stakeholders and supporters.
The Committee met during the week, via the Zoom platform, to work through scenarios of what the winter operation might look like. Whilst the season is still 3 months away it is important that we have some direction as there are many different factors and areas of the operation to consider, all of which are affected in some way by Covid-19 Alert Levels so having a plan moving moving forward is key.
Even although there is an unknown future over the next few months, we have agreed to continue pushing forward with preparations to open for the 2020 season and if it is safe to open (dictated by Alert Levels and any regulatory requirements) we will be ready to do so on Saturday 4 July. The viability and final call of this will be made during early – mid June when the Alert Levels and any new requirements for businesses or operations such as ours will hopefully be much clearer but in the meantime what preparations we can move on with will continue – this includes such things as annual compliance requirements & staffing etc.
We are lucky that a good amount of work has already been completed on the hill prior to lock-down and this included the huge amount of work that was required on the Lifts this summer so we are in pretty good shape to be ready for opening day from an operational perspective. Our new Mountain Manager, Sam Timbrell, is busy putting together a staff team for the season and as you can imagine this is no easy task (even in business as usual times) given the uncertainty of the season and the likelihood of not being able to use overseas staff for at least a couple of key positions. We do however have a good base of names to work with and are confident there will be a team in place and ready to go for July!
The Committee also agreed that the 90th Annual General Meeting of the Club, which was postponed due to rising Alert Levels, will be held as soon as it is safe to do so and again this will be dictated by Covid-19 Alert Levels and any other requirements that may be put in place for social gatherings.
Again I would like to assure everyone that the Club is in extremely good hands with the current Committee in this extended term. This is a team who is very focused and driven to insure the ongoing viability of the Club and even more so during what will be an extremely tricky and unknown future for the club and at large, many other New Zealanders and organisations.
We will be back in touch very soon and hope to be able to reach everyone via electronic means including, E-Chat, E-News, Facebook and the new Covid-19 page on our website. If you don’t believe you (or someone you know) are receiving these updates please either let us know or pass them on.
Please take care and be kind to others.
Kia pai tō hauora. Stay well.
Firstly we would like to extend a big thanks to our Members, Season Pass Holders, Customers and Supporters for you understanding during these unprecedented times. We appreciate the positive messages we have received and hope that everyone is doing well?
We are sure there are many questions that you may have and will need to be answered over the next few weeks so I can assure you that the Committee will be working hard to address these and pass on information as it becomes available.
We are already looking at what the possible scenarios for the season might look like but with just on 3 months until we are due to open (Saturday 4 July) its still very early to be able to make any specific decisions around the season operations. A lot will depend on how the country comes through the current 4 week lock-down period and beyond. If we are able to open its possible the operation will be somewhat different to what a normal winter season looks like but again we cannot specifically make any announcements on this. The Management Committee is meeting later this week, via online technology, to further discuss the options and we will provide further updates after that which will include questions surrounding Membership, Season Passes, Accommodation that has already been booked etc.
In the meantime, we can advise that both Forest Lodge & Snowline Lodge have been closed. Forest Lodges re-opening will be handled by Manager, Sam Moore, when it is appropriate and safe to do so and she will have updates via her social media and website. Snowline Lodge will form part of our winter scenario plans and we will advise of this when appropriate but in the meantime it is closed for any further off-season bookings.
Unfortunately we need to suspend our workparty programme for at least the next 4 weeks – beyond this will depend on where the current alert levels go to and how successful the lock-down is on eliminating / reducing the virus. If we cannot reasonably have time to run further workparties before the winter we will waive workparty requirements for this year and we will advise on what will happen with members who may have already completed their 2 workparty days (these will possibly be credited for next year)
Please stay safe and do your bit during the lock-down – look after those in your bubble and stay in touch with others by the wonderful means of technology we have available to us nowadays
Kia pai tō hauora. Stay well.
Cam Lill – Club President.