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Coronet Peak going off (Screengrab: Bravo)
Coronet Peak going off (Screengrab: Bravo)

Pop CultureJuly 4, 2023

There’s no business like snow business, and there’s no crew like Snow Crew

Coronet Peak going off (Screengrab: Bravo)
Coronet Peak going off (Screengrab: Bravo)

Tara Ward carves up Bravo’s new reality series that captures the ups and downs of working on a Queenstown ski field. 

What’s it about? 

Snow Crew is a new factual series that takes us behind the scenes of Queenstown’s Coronet Peak ski field to meet the team of cheerful employees who keep the slopes running smoothly. Think Bondi Rescue, but with more puffer jackets. 

Another day at the office (Screengrab: Bravo)

“For some people it’s a sport, but for most people it’s a lifestyle,” the voiceover tells us at the start of the show. Queenstown’s ski and snow lifestyle is captured with plenty of beautiful scenic shots that international tourists should lap up, but Snow Crew also wants to prove that working at Coronet Peak isn’t just about having a good time. In a preview of the drama to come, we see the weather turn bad, skiers go missing and drivers go rogue in the icy car park. “Everything can change in a heartbeat,” the narrator warns. 

What’s good?

If you thought working in a ski resort was glamorous, think again. Snow Crew introduces us to the dedicated young employees who somehow stay upbeat and happy, no matter how tough the conditions get. They’re excited by long queues for ski hire, they’re thrilled to make announcements over the tannoy, and they’re even chirpy about the prospect of cars sliding into ditches. Is this what fresh air does to people? Blink twice if you need me to contact your union for you, snow crew. 

Ruby, champion of the chairlift (Screengrab: Bravo)

We meet 21-year-old Ruby, a human ray of sunshine who leads the chairlifts department. Ruby is a queue queen: “We can get queues that go all the way from here to all the way back there and all the way up there,” she tells us with a grin, anticipating the 5,000 skiers she’ll help that day. Next we meet Ellz, who looks after the ski equipment hire. She’s already starting her day five team members down when ski area manager Nigel pops by to tell her the car parks are full and the ski hire queue is out the door. They laugh about it, but it’s not even 9.30am yet. 

As promised, things go downhill when it starts to snow and staff have to ask skiers without chains on their cars to drive down the mountain early. Administrator Syrandin and her mechanic boyfriend Jason stand in front of a bubble machine (?!) and discuss the hectic car park situation. “It’s just too full,” Jason says as tiny bubbles pop on his beanie. As the snow thickens, an upbeat Vaughan – he’s in charge of roads – is on full chain alert, as we all are. We see footage of a chain parking bay, plus chains on tyres and chains coming off tyres, as well as Vaughan’s medieval chain implement that turns over the road grit. 

Chains (Screengrab: Bravo)

What’s bad

Snow Crew is quite similar to Mt Hutt Rescue, which screened on TVNZ 1 earlier this year, and it’s missing a little bit of the reality drama you’d expect from a Bravo show. While the first episode took us behind the curtain on what it’s like to work on a ski field, it certainly didn’t touch on some of the off-piste issues the snow crew must be facing, like Queenstown’s lack of housing for seasonal workers. 30 people crammed into one rental? Now there’s a situation where everything can change in a heartbeat. 

Verdict: If you love positive attitudes and mechanical chairlifts, this is the show for you. 

Snow Crew screens on Bravo on Saturday nights at 6.00pm and streams on ThreeNow.

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