A southerly blast forced the closure of some Queenstown and
Wanaka skifields yesterday, others were only only partially
open but the snow was welcome.
Both Cardrona Alpine Resort near Wanaka and Queenstown's
Remarkables skifield were closed for the day due to high
winds and poor visibility.
Cardrona sales and marketing manager Nadia Ellis said
''gale-force southerlies and blizzard conditions'' closed the
skifield for the second time this season - the first had been
on the scheduled opening day.
About 10cm of snow fell at Cardrona between midnight and 6am
and it continued to snow steadily throughout the day, ''but
it's difficult to know how much we've got in the midst of the
storm,'' Ms Ellis said.
NZSki sales and marketing general manager Craig Douglas
estimated more than 20cm of snow had fallen at the
Remarkables base area.
Both skifields were expected to reopen today. Coronet Peak
ski area manager Ross Copland estimated about 10cm had fallen
at the mountain's base by 4pm yesterday, but ''a lot more
than that'' had fallen further up.
''It is absolutely beautiful - it's really transformed the
place,'' he said.
Mr Copland said staff had been working on the access road
since 3.30am yesterday but motorists needed to carry chains.
While the lower mountain was open yesterday, both the Coronet
Express and Greengates were closed due to winds.
More snow was forecast, but yesterday's weather meant
temperatures had dropped enough for the ski area to make snow
and further boost its base.
''If we get some good weather, it's going to be amazing,'' Mr
Wind and low visibility closed Treble Cone's Saddle Basin
yesterday with heavy snow falling at times and creating
pockets of fresh snow across the ski area, sales and
marketing manager Nick Noble said.
The skifield's Home Basin was open to visitors.
Snow Farm's operations manager Emma Davies said while there
were snow showers and moderate winds earlier in the day, the
cross-country ski area remained open and the weather had
cleared by mid-afternoon.
Low-level snowfalls in Queenstown yesterday caused multiple
flights to be either cancelled or diverted from Queenstown
An airport spokeswoman confirmed the weather had caused the
delays and diversions.
At least four flights were cancelled and another three were
Hundreds of skiers and snowboarders were trapped at Mt Hutt
skifield in Canterbury yesterday
afternoon after the cold snap brought high winds and low
visibility, closing the alpine access road.
They included 60 staff and 260 pupils from Mt Hutt College in
The pupils were waiting out the storm in the field's
cafeteria last night but staff were told the storm could lift
Mt Hutt stocks enough food and water to cater for up to 4000
people over a weekend, so could hold out for ''days and
days'', manager James McKenzie said.
- Additional reporting APNZ