Winter made a late return to Southern Lakes mountains
yesterday, with fresh snow providing a much needed boost for
Queenstown's Coronet Peak, and Wanaka skifield operators
reporting the new snow added to the already good coverage on
the area's three skifields.
Heavy snow began falling in the mountains around Wanaka and
Queenstown yesterday afternoon.
Coronet Peak, which last week hosted Winter Games races, had
visible bare patches in some areas before yesterday's
snowfall and the skifield's ski area manager, Ross Copland,
said the new snow was a ''good morale booster''.
''There's a lot of celebrating going on,'' Mr Copland said,
adding ''it's been pretty tough, especially for the staff''.
The skifield is hosting the NZ Nationals today and tomorrow
and the fresh snow means ''some extra work for the groomers''
and it is unlikely world record times will be broken due to
''I'd take the soft stuff any day to be honest.''
He expected the snow guns to fire up last night and said a
solid three days of snow making was on the cards as the cold
weather was expected to continue until Saturday.
Remarkables ski area manager Ross Lawrence said around
10-12cm of snow fell on the skifield yesterday, creating a
''good blanket across the hill''.
Snow was accumulating at Wanaka's Treble Cone at a rate of
2cm an hour and by 4.30pm, there was an additional 8cm in the
Saddle and 5cm in the Home Basin.
Treble Cone marketing and sales manager Nick Noble said
before yesterday's snowfall, the Saddle Basin was already
sporting a ''well above average'' snow coverage, with a base
of more than 3m and all-over snowboarding and skiing both on
groomed and off-piste terrain.
The Home Basin was in good condition on the groomed trails,
but yesterday's snowfall meant all areas were well set up for
the rest of the season.
''It's a really exciting way to go into September.''
About 5cm of snow had fallen at Cardrona Alpine Resort and
Snow Farm by about 4.30pm and more was expected overnight.
Snow Farm events and promotions manager Anna McConville said
a top-up of several centimetres of snow last week had helped
maintain good coverage at the cross-country ski area leading
up to yesterday's storm.
Cardrona Alpine Resort field manager Gary Husband said the
new snow would ''freshen up the trails quite nicely'',
although Cardrona had retained great coverage from the first
major snowfall at the start of the season.
''None of the ridges are bare ... we were lucky to have such
a generous coating so early on because there hasn't been a
lot fall since,'' Mr Husband said.
''We haven't been short of snow for any part of the season.''
Treble Cone is scheduled to close on September 29, Cardrona
on October 6, Coronet Peak on October 6 and the Remarkables
on September 29. Snow Farm has no scheduled closing date.