Awakino first of clubs to open

Awakino beat all other club skifields in the South Island on Saturday with one of the earliest openings in the club's history.

The locally-run club skifield is nestled behind Kurow on the St Mary's Range and has had early-season snowfalls.

Despite the wet weather causing some flood damage to the lower road, quickly rectified by the club bulldozer, the field was open for business at the weekend with a handful of keen skiers and boarders making the most of pristine conditions.

Club members during summer and autumn prepared the field for opening and have spent the past few weekends clearing the snow from the rope tow and access road.

A small team went up on Friday to make sure it was ready to go and prepare for visitors who started to arrive from Friday night.

By Saturday night the lodge was close to full with a group of Alpine Club members from Dunedin holding their mid-winter social function there.

Club stalwart Jack Parkes said it was the earliest opening he had seen since the old days and was delighted with the efforts of club members, students from Dunedin and other volunteers who had helped make it happen this year.

Awakino's average snow depth last weekend was 1m, but in many places exceeded this.

The skifield aims to be open most weekends throughout the season, which often extends into October.

North Otago's commercial skifield, Ohau Snow Fields, opens on Saturday.

A Pirates Party will be held at the Lake Ohau Lodge on Saturday night.

A second fall of snow has produced a further 50cm on the top of the mountain, taking it to an unheard of depth of 125cm.


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