Saturday 9 June 2012

NZ Ski Season Opens Today

New Zealand has one of the strongest starts to the opening of its ski season with the opening of not one, but two ski areas today.

Mt Hutt, in Canterbury (only 90 minutes from Christchurch) and Coronet Peak, near to Queenstown, welcomed the first skiers and riders for the season with great excitement when they both opened this morning.

Mt Hutt was buoyed by a severe storm on Wednesday which delivered over 70cm of snow to the mountain, packing down to a base of 65 cm for opening day today.    Staff, who were on the slopes for their induction day during the storm day on Wednesday, found themselves behind shovels helping clear snow drifts away from the base building.   Clearing the access road was a major challenge for grader drivers and snow groomers had plenty of snow to prepare for opening day.

A sunny day in Canterbury welcomes skiers and riders on opening day, with current air temperature of only -0.6 degrees.    First to ride the lift were Edward O'Brien, Roby Crowther, Kate O'Brien and Nikki Crowther (pictured in red t-shirts).   Bubbles were on offer for all from 8.30am to 9.30am this morning.

The closest ski area to Queenstown, Coronet Peak opened today heralding the beginning of the Queenstown ski season.  Snow lovers were up at the crack of dawn to be the first to the lifts at Coronet Peak and celebrate the opening of the season.

"It's snow time!", said Destination Queenstown CEO Graham Budd.  "Queenstown looks picture perfect with fresh snow on the mountains and there's a real buzz around town now as everybody gears up for winter."

Cold weather during the week provided perfect conditions for Coronet Peak's multi-million dollar snow making system to pump out the snow, day and night.    Last night 5cm of natural snow fell on the slopes last night.

Today was the scheduled opening day for both Coronet Peak and Mt Hutt, so the openings were according to plan.  

Other ski areas around the South Island are scheduled to open progressively during June:

·         SnowPark NZ – 15 June
·         The Remarkables – 16 June
·         Cardrona- 22 June
·         Ohau  - 23 June
·         Treble Cone – 28 June
·         Mt Dobson – 29 June

New Zealand is known for its long ski season.  Most ski areas will remain open until 7th October, giving visitors four months to experience a winter ski holiday in New Zealand.  ENDS.


Mt Hutt:  First lift riders of the day – from left to right – Edward O'Brien, Roby Crowther, Kate O'Brien, Nikki Crowther.




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