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Snowstorm ‘perfect timing’ for start of New Zealand ski season

May 27, 2014 Ski No Comments Email Email

A winter snow storm that’s dumped significant amounts of the white stuff on New Zealand’s South Island ski areas is “perfect timing” for the opening of Queenstown’s Coronet Peak in less than two weeks’ time.

Picnic tables at Coronet Peak are under the snow somewhere_mediaAround 40cm of snow has blanketed Coronet Peak, scheduled to open on Saturday June 7, and freezing temperatures have meant the ski area’s 215 snow guns have been blazing day and night.

“Its impeccable timing from Mother Nature, right on cue,” said Coronet Peak ski area manager Ross Copland.

“Well over 100 people have made their way up to the ski area this morning, no mean feat in itself given that chains were needed on all vehicles from the bottom of the access road.

“Most of them have been hiking up various parts of the mountain to get in their first runs of the season, and the powder skis are out in force!

“The picnic tables on the deck are just about buried so we’ll have fun digging those out.”

Even at lunchtime today (Monday May 26) the temperature on the mountain was a chilly minus-7C, which had Mr Copland rubbing his hands with glee.

“It’s just what we need after a good natural snowfall,” he said. “Snowmaking has been going full blast since Friday night and we’ve been making snow right down to the base building.”

Queenstown college students hiked up Meadows trail at Coronet Peak_mediaOver at The Remarkables, scheduled to open on Saturday June 21, a heavy snowfall of around 50cm has also blanketed the field, although access is closed due to heavy machinery on the road.

The Queenstown ski areas, as well as Canterbury’s Mt Hutt, have all received consistent early snowfalls since March, some up to half a metre deep in places. It’s snowed at Mt Hutt almost every two weeks since the start of April, including a large 50cm dump at the beginning of May.

Mt Hutt is also scheduled to open for the season on Saturday June 7 and snowmaking is well underway, adding to natural snowfalls.

Australian snow lovers looking to cross the Tasman for their ski holiday can take advantage of improved air connectivity into Queenstown, with 25% more trans-Tasman flights this winter, up from an average of 40 a week to 50 this year. Mt Hutt is an easily accessible 90-minute scenic drive from Christchurch Airport

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