Celebrating 50 years of Skyline Enterprises
Skyline has come a long way since its humble beginnings in 1966. A group of pioneering individuals rose up to the challenge, paving the way to create the ignature attraction that Skyline has come today. Over the decades, there have been significant milestones that shape not only Skyline itself, but the locations that Skyline Enterprises is immersed in.
2016 marks the 50th birthday of Skyline's inception. Let's take a look back over the past 50 years and meet some of those people and remember some of those milestones...
A rich and pioneering history
1966. A time in New Zealand where innovation was all around. The first episode of the iconic ‘Country Calendar’ was screened, President Lyndon Johnson visited our shores being the first US President in New Zealand and some passionate individuals were making waves down in Queenstown. It wasn’t all easy going — hauling gear up the steep terrain, losing a half-tonne tower and a compressor down the hill and dealing with all of the weather elements that the Central Lakes area could throw at them in the process.
Nothing could deter their efforts, and in 1966, Skyline Enterprises was established. With the completion of the Skyline Chalet and restaurant at Bobs Peak, the idea of an aerial cableway began to create an easy way for people to access the mountain top attraction. By 1968, in combination with the newly installed Gondola, the Chalet started hosting over 80,000 visitors each year.
The people, past and present
Introducing some of the individuals who helped shape Skyline Enterprises into what it is today. Enjoy a brief reflection of some of their most memorable events over the past decades.
Some significant events in my 35 years include the opening of Skyline Skyrides Rotorua in 1985, being our first experience with the Luge business and also operating outside Otago, South Island. Reshaping Skyline Queenstown in 1987 when we replaced the original Gondola with the new Doppelmayr Gondola, and also in 1993/94 obtaining the first casino license and establishing in Christchurch as the first ever casino in New Zealand.
Taking the Luge offshore was a natural progression for the Company following the success of the attraction in New Zealand. Our first venture at Mt Tremblant in Quebec opened in 2003 and was profitable in its first operating season. This success encouraged further investment and in due course further facilities were established in both Singapore and Calgary. A new Luge in South Korea is scheduled for completion later this year.
The really significant step for Skyline was the purchase of our Rotorua site by Hylton Hensman. This in combination with the creation of the idea of the Luge and the consequent development of it as a great amusement ride by the company changed Skyline from its beginnings in scenic viewing and dining. Rotorua was the test bed which led Skyline offshore to Sentosa and other properties. Skyline Luge is a point of difference which holds great potential for the future.
I have been fortunate to be connected with Skyline for the past 37 years; in fact my first job in tourism was with Skyline, employed as Bar Manager in 1979. Now as Chairman of Skyline I am proud to reflect on an organisation that has grown from strength to strength over the past 50 years. There are exciting times ahead for Skyline; it is now our responsibility to continue developing of our diverse range of businesses and delivering world class experiences to our guests over the next 50 years.