Skifield opens - sort of

There was a lack of snow on the ground around Coronet Peak's new chairlift on Saturday. PHOTOS:...
There was a lack of snow on the ground around Coronet Peak's new chairlift on Saturday. PHOTOS: PAUL TAYLOR
Queenstown's Coronet Peak skifield opened on Saturday - sort of.

After a week of mild weather, there was not enough snow on the mountain for any skiing or snowboarding.

However, with a new $20million six-seater chairlift up and running and some snow in places, the NZSki-operated field opened for sightseeing and sledding.

Skifield manager Nigel Kerr said about 200 locals and tourists went up to the field, which tops out at 1649m.

They were treated to some spectacular views across the cloud-covered valley towards the Remarkables skifield (1943m), which was open for snowsports with a snow base of 28cm-57cm. It opened for the season last Saturday.

A view across the Wakatiu Basin from Coronet Peak towards the Remarkables on Saturday.
A view across the Wakatiu Basin from Coronet Peak towards the Remarkables on Saturday.
"We were pleased with the turnout today," Mr Kerr said.

"Our new Coronet Express had a constant flow of keen sightseers checking out the magic of the mountain. We can't wait for our skiers and snowboarders to test it out when we open for skiing."

The "first on the chair" celebrations have been postponed until it snows or the temperature drops enough to enable snow-making.

Coronet, the country's first commercial skifield, has 214 snow guns. It has added seven new snow-making machines this year.

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