15 June 2020

Thredbo snowed under by unprecedented demand for passes

| Michael Weaver
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Thredbo snow fields

The ski and snowboard trails at Thredbo last week ahead of massive demand for lift passes. Photos: Thredbo Resort Facebook.

After more than 30,000 people were stuck in an online queue for Thredbo lift passes last week, Perisher Resort will stagger its release of tickets from Tuesday morning (16 June).

Guests without a season pass will be required to purchase lift tickets in advance, as on-the-day lift ticket purchases at all resorts will not be available this season.

“We have made the decision to sell our lift tickets, lessons and rentals in stages to improve your purchase experience,” a spokesperson for Perisher Resort said.

“On Tuesday, 16 June, from 8:30 am, three-day consecutive lift tickets, lessons and rentals will be available for sale for the 24 June to 19 July period.

“We understand that the mandatory pre-purchase of limited availability lift tickets is new and we thank you in advance for your understanding, patience and kindness as we strive to provide you with the best possible experience booking your snow holiday.”

While the ski fields officially reopen on 22 June, there has been unprecedented demand for lift passes, with visitor numbers strictly regulated via a ‘book ahead’ system to help keep resorts and surrounding towns safe.

Delays of up to 36 hours are also being experienced for online order confirmation emails.

For those that made it past the cyber queue, tickets were scarce.

Lift tickets at Thredbo for June, most of July and part of August sold out within hours last week.

The process frustrated thousands of people who flooded the resort’s social media accounts complaining about the booking system. Season pass holders were particularly upset about not getting priority, which rival resort Perisher has provided.

Season pass holders and people who had pre-booked accommodation have also been left in the cold, meaning many have accommodation but no access to the snowfields, while others have lift passes but no accommodation.

One Canberra resident paid $1200 for four nights at a lodge in Thredbo across two separate weekends in July but was unable to secure lift passes in the online scramble last Thursday.

Another skier said he joined the online queue at 11:12 am and about 7,000 people were already ahead of him. By 4:00 pm, he was still 5,827th in line.

Others were keen to remind snow enthusiasts to be grateful the season is even going ahead.

Making the most of man made snow at Perisher on the opening weekend of the ski season. Photo: Perisher Facebook.

A snowboarder enjoying the man-made snow at Perisher during last season.

Thredbo Resort general manager Stuart Diver said the demand for passes was three times the amount of passes that could be made available. Mr Diver made a statement via the resort’s social media channels to apologise.

“I understand the past 24 hours has been a frustrating time for some of you who have been trying to purchase passes to ski or snowboard at Thredbo for 2020. I understand your frustrations and I’m really sorry that our systems did not cope,” Mr Diver said.

“Our guest services team will be contacting those of you who made enquiries and that includes our valued season pass holders.

“Based on current limitations, we don’t have any passes available from 26 June to 19 July. I’m hoping that as conditions change and restrictions ease, I’ll be able to release more passes and we’ll let you know as soon as that happens.”

All resorts will operate at approximately 50 per cent of normal capacity to enable physical distancing measures in line with current government guidelines until any changes allow for greater access.

“We have never seen this level of demand for our passes in Thredbo. We greatly appreciate it, as it means it’s going to be a great season down here, but the team really is working hard, so please be patient and they’ll get to your enquiry as soon as they can,” Mr Diver said.

NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service has announced that tobogganing and snow play is strictly prohibited in Kosciuszko National Park during the 2020 snow season.

Original Article published by Michael Weaver on The RiotACT.

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