Porters to get its first chair lift
The next step in Porters' plan to become a "major" destination is on its way - a four-seater chairlift.
Porters Ski Area, west of Springfield, will install the new chairlift to replace its first T-bar this summer.
It will be the closest chairlift to Christchurch and the first to be installed in the Canterbury region in nearly a decade.
Porters general manager Uli Dinsenbacher said a chairlift had been talked about for many years "so it is fantastic to see it happening".
"There will be considerably more ski-able terrain as the slope will no longer be cut in half by a T-bar lift track," Dinsenbacher said.
"It will also really appeal to intermediate snow boarders who prefer chairlifts over riding on T-bars," he said.
The chairlift, manufactured in Austria by Doppelmayr, is 689 metres long with a vertical rise of 215m. Its 93 chairs will be able to carry 2000 skiers an hour up the slope, double the current T-bar's capacity.
Its installation is part of the ski area's multi-million dollar summer work programme.
Earthworks will start as soon as the ski season finishes in early October. The chairlift towers will be installed after Christmas.
Dinsenbacher said the ski area was also planning to build a new beginner's slope. "Learners will be able to walk directly from the car park onto the beginner's area," he said.
Porters also celebrated the arrival of seven new snow-making guns at the start of this season.
Managing director Simon Harvey said: "The great response we have had from customers when we built the new cafe, installed a magic carpet and more recently put additional snow-making on the mountain has given the owners confidence to make the most substantial investment in Porters' history.
"This is the next exciting step in our plan to develop Porters into a major winter and summer resort over the coming years."
Porters is running a public competition to name the new chairlift, starting today, via skiporters.co.nz/chairname.