The Remarkables ski area in Queenstown has started the consent process towards the first stage of a major development which will ultimately result in a new chairlift and more terrain for skiers and snowboarders.
NZSki CEO James Coddington said applications made by the company to the Otago Conservation Board were to "start the consent process" for a large multi-million dollar development.
NZSki is applying to build a new chairlift to Curvy Basin, establish new ski trails from the top of the chairlift, install snowmaking facilities using water drawn from Lake Alta, and expand car parking.
"We have been working on development plans for a while and while it is good to have reached this point, it is likely the project will take a number of years to deliver," Mr Coddington said.
"The process of seeking consent is the next stage, then we can begin to look at when might be the right time to begin.
"I wouldn't like to raise people's hopes that this will be up and running in the next year or two."
Mr Coddington said NZSki had been looking at The Remarkables over the years to establish how it could be developed to grow with the market.
"We've seen strong growth out of Australia and good domestic growth over the last decade, and the medium to long term projections are that tourism growth will continue. It requires medium to long term planning to meet this opportunity," he said.
"We've got a lot of confidence in the Remarkables ski area, as it's a higher mountain with a lot of diversity, a good history of snowfall, and three North-facing natural basins.
"These all naturally lend themselves to fantastic skiing and snowboarding terrain, so we see the scope to provide even better product for our local, national and international guests."
The proposed 1.3km long, six-seat detachable Curvy Basin chairlift would begin in the lower of the two existing main car parks at 1600m and rise to a terminal at 1900m, just below the ridgeline at the head of the Rastus Burn, known as Curvy Basin, underneath Centurion Peak.
Mr Coddington said Curvy Basin was "significantly further" than where the existing Alta chairlift stopped and would open up a considerable amount of terrain.
The two extra trails would be about 1.5km from the top of the new chairlift to the base building, and the new chair would also access more high-intermediate to advanced terrain.
The first of two stages of earthworks would involve removing 80,000 cubic metres of soil, plus installing snow-making and doing the car park expansion.
Mr Coddington said he believed expansion at The Remarkables would not only benefit the ski areas by attracting more visitors to the area, but would result in more jobs and business confidence in Queenstown.
Mr Coddington said he was not prepared to speculate on the cost of the proposed development.