Avalanche Damage, Mount Hutt

Avalanche Damage, Mt Hutt

Moment of truth for Mount Hutt, one of New Zealand’s most popular mountain resorts, which has probably lost the use of its Towers Triple Chair for the season after the base station was badly damaged in a controlled avalanche triggered by ski patrol. Strangely it’s an incident they’ve chosen to say very little about.

There are now just two chairlifts servicing the mountain.

Big deal, right? Worth communicating you’d think since it has a massive impact on the customer experience.

But Mount Hutt management thinks differently.

It is behaving as if nothing has happened and it’s business as usual.

There are no notices on the website alerting consumers to the changed circumstances and ticket prices remain the same.

The only mentions have been in the press release section, which is buried at the base of the home page and the incident has not been mentioned in the headlines.

The initial press release containing this important news was headlined ‘Safety first’ at Mt Hutt with ongoing avalanche control work’ – and Triple Chair damage was mentioned only in passing.

Two days later another release was issued, Mt Hutt To Re-Open After Record Snowfall,  which talked up the “as good as it gets” snow conditions while mentioning that Triple Chair “will be out of action for some time” with no firm word on that for a few weeks.

Mount Hutt management has said nothing since June 25 but it’s widely believed the Triple Chair will be out of action for the season.

Its current positioning in an avalanche zone would also have to be questioned. In fact why was it built there in the first place?

These are questions that management alone can answer, and are clearly pre-occupied with.

However, they also need to think about their customers and adopt a clear communication and business strategy that addresses the new reality.

And that may include cutting prices – three lifts have become two. It’s only fair.

Who’d run a ski resort?

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