Coronet Peak, Queenstown’s popular ski field, is amping up the snow magic opening a new interactive experience The Ice Slides by Ice Castles.
The attraction by Utah-based Ice Castles features tunnel slides, turrets, peep holes and a large throne that have been created by professional ice artisans, including an award-winning ice carver. The team has hand placed thousands of icicles and ice blocks each day since construction began in June to create the 4000-ton structure.
It is located next to the main Coronet Express chairlift within easy walking distance from the base building deck.
Guests will be able to race down winding slides encased entirely in ice and get those all-important photos perched on a frozen throne. The ice is illuminated at night with colour-changing LED lights which will add to the magic of Coronet Peak’s night skiing on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays.
Nigel Kerr, Coronet Peak Ski Area Manager, says the experience is all about sharing the magic of winter, especially with those who don’t ski or snowboard.
“The changing country-of-origin mix of New Zealand tourism means more people are attuned to sightseeing all year round, summer or winter. This is part of moving our product mix to appeal to them as well as our regular pass holders who will love the surprise.”
At only 20 minutes from downtown, Coronet Peak is by far the most popular sightseeing ski field in the region, with greater non-ski traffic than nearby Queenstown ski field, The Remarkables at 40 minutes from downtown.
Ice Castles CEO Ryan Davis said the icy attraction was the first for New Zealand.
“We love being able to bring our experience to the Southern Hemisphere. Our team is all about giving more people around the world another way to enjoy the outdoors together, make memories, and freeze time with their loved ones.”
Utah-based Ice Castles is a seasonal entertainment company that creates elaborate, frozen castles, slides, and other structures each winter in six cities across North America.
Made entirely of frozen water, the giant structure at Coronet Peak has taken 52 days to build. A crew of 6 ice artisans from across the United States and Canada have moved to area to construct the experience.
The team has had its challenges, says Davis.
“For example, every new location needs new suppliers for items such as plumbing parts and hard hats. While these were easy to source locally, other items had to be shipped from overseas, and this required a lot of patience.”
“Instead of a castle, we built something equally interactive and exciting. Ice slides, especially when you can race each other, are hugely popular, so we’re delighted with the result.”
The prices are $35 for 12+, $29 for 6-11, and 5 and under are free. Ticket sales are now available to purchase at http://icecastles.com/new-zealand, or with Coronet Peak guest services. As of tomorrow, it will open every day at 10am, weather permitting.
The light display will operate on Coronet Peak’s night ski evenings, running on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays from late July.