(This competition is now closed. Congratulations to micekyb!)
Skiers and snowboarders heading to Mt Ruapehu this season will be able to use new smart gate technology to hit the slopes faster.
Electronic gates and swipe cards with radio frequency identification chips would save time for customers and staff, Mt Ruapehu customer relations manager Annah Dowsett said.
"It's fast and efficient. You can reload online instead of having to queue up," she said.
The gates will cover all access chairlifts at Mt Ruapehu's Turoa and Whakapapa skifields. Their introduction will result in a reduction in staff employed to check passes.
"There have been four to five fewer staff employed," Dowsett said.
Installing the new technology at both skifields cost skifield operator Ruapehu Alpine Lifts in excess of $700,000.
Dowsett said more than 31,000 new cards had already been issued. She anticipated between 300,000 and 400,000 skier visits over the season.
Ruapehu District mayor Don Cameron said the skifield operator had been talking about the move for some time. "They're dead keen to catch up with technology," he said.
He said the region was increasingly focused on luring tourists in the 60 plus age bracket. "They're looking for soft adventure and are keen to head up the mountain, even it it's just for half a day."
Cameron said he was optimistic about about future ski seasons, as new snow making technology could mitigate the impacts of climate change.
"Queenstown and Cardrona can start with a minimal cover of snow. Up here you've got to have a good cover first, but the machines can help."
Dowsett said weather permitting she was looking forward to a good cover of snow for the start of Mt Ruapehu's ski season on June 28.
"We've made snow, we're making snow and it's forecast to snow," she said.
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Mt Ruapehu is opening in just over a week and Stuff Travel has two adult and two child Flexi Passes to give away to one lucky reader. Simply comment on this story, before noon on 27th June 2014, and tell us why you think you should win. One commenter will be picked at random and notified by email.
The Flexi Pass offers ultimate flexibility at a great price, buy one day and get two extra for a cracker deal. A three day Flexi Pass is $249 for adults and $155 for youths aged 5 to18-years-old. These passes are only available until 30th June so make sure you don't miss out.
For more information on how to purchase a Flexi Pass, visit mtruapehu.com - sale online only.