Other skifields opening this month

Ross Lawrence.
Ross Lawrence.
While Coronet Peak maintained its tradition on Saturday of being first to open in the Southern Lakes ski season, the district's four other skifields are all scheduled to open this month.

The 2014 season gets under way for Cardrona Alpine Resort on June 20 and will be the first season the skifield has had operating under its new owner, Queenstown-based Real Journeys.

Cardrona sales and marketing manager Nadia Ellis and operations manager Gary Husband could not be reached for comment yesterday.

However, Mr Husband recently said the main off-season project for the skifield had been developing an ''intermediate jump line'' in the terrain park.

Cross-country ski facility Snow Farm, on Pisa Range, and the Remarkables ski area are both on track to open on June 21.

''We're still preparing for winter here. Definitely,'' Remarkables manager Ross Lawrence said yesterday.

''We're just signing off commissioning the chairlift. It will be up and running and certified, and we're going through the same process for snowmaking.''

Mr Lawrence expected snow-making would be in ''full swing in the next day or two'' and would carry on until opening day.

NZSki had invested $45 million into the ski area during the off-season.

That included the new high-speed Curvey Basin chairlift, which could carry up to 2400 people per hour on the 63 six-seater chairs, 28 new lance tower snowguns and sealing 4km of the access road, with plans for the entire 13km road to be sealed.

Peter Soundy, a trustee on the Pisa Alpine Charitable Trust which operates Snow Farm, said there was already good snow on the trails, but another decent snowfall in the coming days would be welcomed.

''We had at one stage at the end of May nearly two foot of snow in places, but a lot of that disappeared.

''I think we're pretty confident, as long as we get one more fall before the 21st, that we'll be opening on time.''

In the off-season, maintenance of snow fencing and replacement of some retaining walls had been carried out at Snow Farm.

The biggest news for the coming season was the addition of New Zealand cross-country skier Andy Pohl as ski operations manager, Mr Soundy said.

Treble Cone near Wanaka will be the last skifield in the district to open, on June 26.

Marketing manager Nick Noble said snow-making started at Treble Cone two weeks ago and snow-makers were now ''permanently on standby'' to swing into action whenever the conditions were dry and cold enough.

He was confident there would be sufficient snowfall and snow-making opportunities to stick to the planned opening date.

''Two and a-half weeks at this time of year is a long time so anything could happen,'' Mr Noble said.

The Wanaka skifield's upgrades for the 2014 season include an extension to the High Street intermediate trail and Jazz Kids Fun Trail and two new $450,000 PistenBully 400 grooming machines.