Skifields welcoming the white stuff

A Treble Cone employee checks the depth of new snow on the field  yesterday . Photo by Rebecca...
A Treble Cone employee checks the depth of new snow on the field yesterday . Photo by Rebecca Trethowen.

As some operators in the Southern Lakes ski industry celebrated up to 40cm of snow on the district's mountains yesterday, the coverage at Wanaka's Cardrona Alpine Resort remained unconfirmed after staff's access to the skifield was blocked ... by snow.

Cardrona's sales and marketing manager Nadia Ellis said the operations team was forced to turn back on its up way to the skifield yesterday morning after discovering the access road blanketed in snow at least 50cm deep.

''There were snowdrifts of 1m to 2m on Speed Straight [section of access road],'' Ms Ellis said.

A grader worked throughout the day to clear the road so staff could travel up the mountain safely this morning.

"It's hard to know exactly what we'll find when we get up the mountain but if the road is any indication then we've had a lot of snow.''

The snow had arrived ''right on schedule'' for Cardrona's June 20 opening, although it was ''quite unusual'' to have snow to such low levels the access road became impassable.

Treble Cone marketing manager Nick Noble reported an average 40cm snow depth from the ''36-hour'' winter storm in Wanaka, with drifts of up to 60cm.

It was the fourth significant pre-season snowfall for 2014 and another positive sign for the winter ahead, Mr Noble said.

''There seems to just be generally great excitement for the New Zealand season this year.''

NZSki's chief executive Paul Anderson said the recent snow was ''fantastic'' and with Coronet Peak scheduled to open next week, he expected the snow to form a base layer at the skifield.

Speaking yesterday at noon, Mr Anderson said at least half a metre had fallen at the Remarkables skifield, while Coronet Peak received 20-30cm of wind-affected snow.

With cold temperatures forecast for last night he expected ''a lot of snow'' to be made at Coronet Peak by the skifield's snow guns.

''We will be making the most of this.''


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