New Zealand's first 8 seater chairlift for Mt Hutt

snow action team 17.09.2020

Great news for Kiwi skiers – Mt Hutt is getting New Zealand’s first 8 seater chairlift for 2021!

The Mt Hutt winter experience is set to be transformed with the installation of New Zealand’s first 8-seater chairlift – the Nor’west Express.

The new Nor’west Express lift from Leitner Ropeways will replace the current Quad chair and Mt Hutt Ski Area Manager James McKenzie says it will improve how guests access the mountain.

View of top station for new Nor'West 8 seater chairlift at Mt Hutt
How the new Nor’West 8 seater will look © NZski.com

“The ride time of the Nor’west Express is only two minutes and it has capacity to carry up to 3,000 people an hour. The Quad currently takes at-least seven minutes to reach the top and can only move around 1,500 people an hour on a good day so we’re excited that our guests will be able to enjoy more time on the slopes with this new addition.

“This lift will follow the same path up the mountain as the Quad currently does so will provide the best access to our terrain parks. This means we expect to see less demand for our Summit Six chairlift and some of our upper mountain trails at peak times.” 

Comfort, speed, safety, and resilience are key highlights of the new 8-seater with features including padded seats, foot-rest bars and a loading carpet with access gates.

Each chair weighs nearly a tonne and is equipped with a chair swing dampener meaning the lift will be more stable and operate at higher speeds in windy conditions. A cable de-icing and night-drive system coupled with fully automated in-terminal chair parking will drastically improve start-up times on icy mornings.

“It will be much more robust in variable weather allowing us to get up and running faster after new snow and to operate in stronger winds which in turn will reduce our closed days during the season and provide added value to our guests,” McKenzie says.  

NZSki CEO Paul Anderson says the ski area has seen sustained growth over the past five years and the investment is part of a long-term commitment to Mt Hutt and the ski industry.

“We are thrilled to be making this investment for Mt Hutt and our loyal community of skiers and snowboarders.

“Our ongoing investments across our three ski areas are key to ensure we provide our guests with world-class experiences and the latest innovations in technology and safety.”

Work is set to start on the new Nor’west Express lift at the end of October and continue through summer. Construction in time for the 2021 season is subject to regulatory approvals and COVID restrictions.

James McKenzie says it’s an exciting time for Methven. “Between the new chairlift at Mt Hutt and the Opuke Thermal Pools and Spa development in town there’s significant investment happening in the community over the next 10 months.”

We love Hutt, and Methven is a unique base town – Kiwi country meets world of snow. Can’t wait to get back over in 2021 when this COVID-crap is over/under control ..


Mt Hutt has multi level park set ups
Two minute laps of the parks, gotta love that © Owain Price