LAKE WANAKA, New Zealand – The Lee family in the Cardrona Valley received approval today to build the first gondola in New Zealand to access a ski resort.

    The $16.6million gondola project will service Snow Park NZ, Waiorau Snow Farm and a third planned ski area, Roaring Meg Resort.
   
    The 3.8km-long gondola will ascend 975 vertical metres from the Cardrona Valley floor to the ski facilities on the Pisa Range. It will transport up to 1000 people per hour in gondola cars each holding eight passengers.
   
    This is a landmark decision for the future of snow holidays in New Zealand said Sam Lee Snow Park NZ manager. “We have world class facilities available and can now deliver the whole package to ensure safety, ease of passage and an enjoyable mountain experience to our visitors. It is immensely important we can develop not only the ski fields but the means of access to them. There are so many benefits, we are thrilled,” he said.

    The proposed 300 acre Roaring Meg Resort will offer downhill skiing and an expansive beginners’ area. With five chairlifts and the longest run covering 1800m the resort will exponentially add to the freestyle and cross country sports already on offer.

    The approved proposal, submitted in July 2007, carries very few amendments relating to the engineering, design and environmental aspects. The consent’s key conditions focus on the development of public walking tracks around the top gondola station and across the valley. All of which have been agreed to.

    The plans will now include the creation of an ecological walk around the top gondola station and to link with the Thouy’s Gully DOC track, information cards in each of the gondola cars educating passengers about the history and important ecological sites along the gondola path and to allow the Cardrona Valley trail connecting Cardrona township to Wanaka crossing the Lee family property.