Late snow improves base but Treble Cone still to close

Challenging snow conditions have been replaced by what was claimed to be the best snow in the South Island, though Treble Cone will not be extending its closing date past next Sunday.

Queenstown NZSki fields Coronet Peak and The Remarkables are scheduled to close on October 7, as is Cardrona in Wanaka, Mt Dobson near Fairlie and Ohau Snow Fields.

Snow Park is scheduled to close on October 6, and Snow Farm manager Jo Lynch said the area was a "bit different" to others in that it did not have a closing date. "We just stay open as long as there's snow."

Treble Cone general manager Jackie van der Voort said the closing date was set "some time ago and, generally, we will have a snow flurry" at this stage in the season, though visitor numbers did not usually increase accordingly.

The skifield had been struck with a run of poor weather that caused the cancellation of about 50% of scheduled events.

"We have actually run very few of our events ... 50% of our calender has not run.

"There was an easterly flow, which means there's a lot of cloud and poor visibility.

"It was unusual for our business to have so many bad weather days. We had three to four a week for six weeks."

Like many southern skifields, Treble Cone faced challenging snow conditions at the beginning of the season, but she said it had been a "great season" overall.

"The early-season snow was challenging, when we did not have as much as everyone would like, but on-trail conditions were really amazing."

Early August had also been difficult but the skifield had been lucky with the amount of snow in Saddle Basin, and Home Basin had been boosted by the recent snowfalls.

Despite an upper base of 230cm and 130cm on the lower levels, Ms van der Voort said the snow would begin to melt into the valley at the beginning of October and high visitor numbers would be difficult to maintain.

"Today it's a lot quieter and it's a great day."

Round Hill skifield in Canterbury closed last weekend and ski area manager Simon Murrell said, historically, business generally dropped off at this point.

Even though conditions were still good, the skifield hosted a variety of school groups whose ski programmes ceased with the warmer weather.



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