Skifield possums at it again?

Queenstown's furry skifield saboteurs may have struck again.

For the second time in a fortnight, the Remarkables ski area was unable to open yesterday because of a power cut possibly caused by possums.

Ski area manager Ross Lawrence said the outage occurred about 6.45am.

''I was doing our reports saying we were opening, then bang, the power went out.''

A helicopter took to the air at dawn and found a power pole, with a dead possum attached, on the mountain's lower slopes about 15 minutes later.

However, power could not be restored immediately, forcing him to close the ski area for the day.

He initially thought the outage was a repeat of one on June 12, when two possums climbed a pole on the mountain and shorted overhead wires, meaning the ski area could not open the next day.

When contacted for an update yesterday afternoon, Mr Lawrence said a possum might not have been the culprit after all, and contractors would work until the evening in the hope of identifying the fault so the ski area could open today.

Regardless, staff were investigating better methods of possum prevention.

''There are sleeves on the poles, but the possums seem to be jumping them.

''Talking to locals, they seem to be out in force at the moment.

''It's a pretty strong mating time, and we've been told there are a lot of them around down there.''

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