Little snow at Coronet

There will be a "big investment" in snow-making at Coronet Peak this week if the skifield is to meet its scheduled opening of this Saturday.

Although Coronet's slopes were looking relatively bare over the weekend, ski area manager Hamish McCrostie and NZSki chief executive James Coddington remained confident there would be enough snow by the week's end.

Mr Coddington said "from nothing to opening we need three days. We are confident we will get the three days we need this week".

The mountain had healthy snowfalls from mid-to-late May, but photos taken over the weekend show more patches of bare grass than snow.

"We are always positive. However, we are still at the [mercy] of the weather," Mr McCrostie said on Saturday.

They needed more than double the amount of snow-making hours the weather had allowed so far this year.

"We've had 35 snow-making hours and need another 40-odd, and with a bit of luck the weather is going to play ball and we will get a lot of snow.

"We are always positive."

Coronet and Mt Hutt were both scheduled to open on Saturday, followed by the Remarkables on June 16 and Cardrona, which is not affiliated with NZSki, on June 22.

Mr Coddington said the same investment was to be put into at Mt Hutt, as again the snow base was low.

Although the Remarkables was also short, Mr Coddington said for now the focus was on Coronet and Mt Hutt but added "a lot can happen in a week".

"We are very aware that it affects everybody in the community, as well as the message it sends overseas ... "

Last year, Coronet was forced to delay opening by four weeks and hundreds of staff were left without income as, contractually, they are not paid until the skifield has opened.


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