Matthew Stoward (10, right) from Brisbane, Australia, saw
snow for the first time yesterday at Coronet Peak during
the skifield's last day of the season. He is pictured with
family Jordan Stoward (13), Monica San Martin and Jeff
Stoward. Photo by Christina McDonald.
NZSki's Coronet Peak staff said goodbye to what the
skifield's slopes manager Pete Deuart labelled the warmest
winter in 100 years yesterday, on what should have been sister
mountain the Remarkables' closing day rather than Coronet's.
Coronet Peak, Snow Farm and Treble Cone have now closed for
the year, while the Remarkables and Cardrona Alpine Resort
will remain open until this Sunday.
The amount of snow across the five varied dramatically and
last week it was announced Coronet Peak and the Remarkables
would swap closing dates due to better conditions at the
The unwanted record-breaker at Coronet meant it ''was
definitely a year where we have been thankful for the
investment in snow-making'', slopes manager Mr Deuart said
After ''a great start'', there was a seven-week stretch
during which the temperature did not drop low enough to make
snow to base level using the skifield's army of snowguns.
In July of 2012, night skiing at Coronet Peak was put on hold
due to snow conditions, but it was able to continue without
interruption this year.
However, the skifield battled snowless days and nights.
''Because it was really warm, we weren't able to produce the
depth of snow that we would have hoped,'' Mr Deuart said.
''We were able to get all the runs open but it was the base
depth which we are normally able to produce ... [which] was
the biggest difference between [this and] previous years.
The annual Winter Festival was perfectly timed this year,
with fresh snow for the many events held at Coronet Peak. Mr
Deuart said the festival had to be one of the season's
Visitor numbers were similar to last year, he said, with ''by
far'' the biggest market being Australia.
Visitor numbers at the Remarkables had been ''solid'', ski
area manager Ross Lawrence said.
''By all accounts it's probably been one of our better
seasons,'' Mr Lawrence said.
The warm patch during July and August did not do much damage
at the Remarkables and the snow which did fall was great, he
A huge snowfall at the start of the season set Wanaka
skifields up well.
Cardrona Alpine Resort's opening day was the best in memory,
and the weather and snow for the first three weeks were
''nothing short of phenomenal'', sales and marketing manager
Nadia Ellis said.
At Cardrona, 2013 had surpassed 2012 in both snow conditions
and visitor numbers.
Snow Farm had experienced a ''record year'', with revenue up
18% on last year and higher than any previous year, due
partly to much improved snow conditions, Pisa Alpine
Charitable Trust trustee John Hogg said.
''We have had a large increase in season-pass holders and
also over 1100 Otago school children took part in various
educational programmes ... including snow caving, mountain
skills and of course, Nordic skiing.''
International visitor numbers at Snow Farm had been
''relatively flat'', excluding the overseas biathlon teams
and athletes involved in the Winter Games.
''Casual visitors from overseas are just cream to us.''
Treble Cone marketing manager Nick Noble said the skifield -
and particularly its Saddle Basin - had enjoyed ''the
region's deepest snow base, well over 2m deep for a majority
of the season, and the most consistent snowfalls throughout
Increased numbers of beginner skiers and snowboarders had
visited Treble Cone.
However, in August the weather had closed in on Queenstown
and Wanaka for about 10 days, creating challenging conditions
for what was typically one of the busiest times of the
season, Mr Noble said.