First on the chairlift at Coronet Peak for the 2014 season on Saturday were (from left) Cooper Neilson, Jacob O-Donoghue-Price, Tiarn Collins and Finn Duffy (all 14), of Queenstown. The friends arrived at the ski area at 7pm on Friday and kept warm around an outdoor fire to ensure they got the first run in Australia and New Zealand. Photo by Tracey Roxburgh.
Home-made lasagne and brownies on Friday provided all the
sustenance required for four Queenstown teenagers, who spent
a chilly night at Coronet Peak to ensure they were first on
the chairlift for 2014.
Friends Finn Duffy, Tiarn Collins, Jacob O'Donoghue-Price and
Cooper Neilson arrived at the base building at 7pm on Friday
and spent the night relaxing ''around a fire'' to ensure they
were the first people in Australia and New Zealand on the
Finn told the Otago Daily Times the friends had been
second on the lifts before, but never first in line.
''We just thought we would try it out and see what the
competition was like.''
There was no competition until 5am on Saturday when Tania
Pimm arrived with her children - the family had been first in
line for the past three consecutive years, but had to settle
for second on Saturday.
''I talked to the kids about it,'' Mrs Pimm said.
''It's a life lesson.''
Ski area manager Ross Copland sprayed a bottle of a local
sparkling wine before officially declaring Coronet Peak open
for winter just before 9am, with about 600 people there to
enjoy the first runs of the season.
Mr Copland said yesterday it had been a ''great'' opening
weekend with more people than expected.
''We were thinking about 1100 each day. We had about 1400 on
Saturday and a bit over 1100 [yesterday].
''We've had glorious weather which has been a big help, nice
cold temperatures overnight [on Saturday] which kept the snow
in good condition [and] we've had really good feedback.''
Mr Copland said there was likely to be a ''dusting'' of snow
tonight, which would hopefully enable snowmaking.
A ''big southerly system'', forecast to arrive on Sunday,
would hopefully bring ''a big dump'', he said.