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Cardrona Alpine Resort has opened with a bang for Winter 2017, with more than 1000 skiers, snowboarders and sightseers riding the new McDougall’s Chondola for the very first time. The McDougall’s Chondola is New Zealand’s first cabin-style lift on a ski area, with a combination of six-seater chairs and 8-seater gondola cabins on the same lift.

The official Chondola Opening Ceremony began at 8.45am, with a karakia from Kaumatua Bubba Thompson, followed by a haka by the Mount Aspiring College kapa haka group. QLDC Mayor Jim Boult and X Games gold medallist Jossi Wells opened the cabins & chairs respectively in a ribbon cutting ceremony, and early guests were greeted with a glass of Mumm champagne.

The first chondola cabin ride was donated to the Tawaki Project, a scientific research project to learn more about the Tawaki (Fiordland Crested) Penguin – the third rarest penguin in the world. Scientist Thomas Mattern and his family joined Cardrona mascot Pengi, Real Journeys CEO Richard Lauder, and Jim Boult in the first cabin.

First chair rights were won by a group of local Wanaka youngsters, including Cardrona Grom Team members Finley Melville-Ives, Campbell Melville-Ives and Rocco Jamieson. The five keen skiers and snowboarders, who queued from 5.30am this morning, joined Jossi Wells for the first ride up the chair.

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