Challenging season ends on high note

A flurry of spring snow and Australian visitors to Coronet Peak and the Remarkables has turned around a ski season that has dealt with below-average snowfall and unseasonably warm temperatures.

NZSki chief executive James Coddington said it was ironic snow was forecast to low levels during this, the closing weekend of NZSki's Queenstown skifields.

Along with the spring snow, visitor numbers were also holding and the skifields were attracting more Australian visitors than expected during their school holidays.

"Last week we saw a lot of Australians over the school holidays and this week we are seeing a lot of Kiwis," Mr Coddington said.

The Remarkables Ski Area manager Ross Lawrence had been "surprised" with the "higher-than-expected number of Australian families" who visited the skifield last week.

Mr Coddington was optimistic about the forecast snow, but experience had taught him to see before believing.

"It hasn't always come true, so we'll believe it when we see it on the ground."

He said the season had delivered different results for the skifields, with Coronet Peak suffering due to a lack of snow, while the Remarkables had a "fantastic" season.

"Without the snow-making infrastructure, it would have been a very different season."

With the challenges faced because of the snow cover, Mr Coddington said he was pleased both fields were able to open and close on the advertised dates.

Coronet Peak manager Hamish McCrostie said the season had been "great" to begin with but when August came around, "it just got warm".

He credited the snow's endurance to the snow-making efforts in May and June, when temperatures dropped low enough for the snow guns to pump out the white gold.

The skifield received a top-up of more than 18cm from a snowstorm during the second weekend of September, and the Remarkables also benefited.


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