The future of this year's ski season at Whakapapa skifield on Mt Ruapehu is more uncertain than ever with the Crown's preferred bidder for the field withdrawing from negotiations.
Whakapapa is operated by Ruapehu Alpine Lifts which is in receivership.
Tom Elworthy from the private equity group bidding for the field's assets has confirmed that, due to a number of factors, a commercial business case is not possible.
That now puts an even bigger question mark over whether Whakapapa will open this winter.
Ruapehu District mayor Wes Kirton spoke to Ben Strang.