Skifields firing up the snowguns

Queenstown's Coronet Peak base building this morning. Photo: supplied
Queenstown's Coronet Peak base building this morning. Photo: supplied
Queenstown's skifields are making the most of about 10cm of snowfall overnight by firing up the snowguns.

NZSki Coronet Peak ski area manager Nigel Kerr said the guns were switched on at 5pm last night, Wednesday, May 16, a little earlier than usual.

Coronet is due to open on Saturday, June 16.

"Our normal snowmaking start is around [May] 20th but if we have the opportunity for a pre-season test we will always take it The ground is cold enough now that any snow will start to stay.''

The temperature was as low as -5degC overnight.

Snow fell on all the mountains surrounding the resort, after the weather moved in quickly yesterday afternoon, bringing a notably-hard hail shower.

The MetService is predicting a very chilly fortnight with lots of southerly weather systems heading towards the resort.

Coronet Peak has the biggest snowmaking system in the southern hemisphere.

The Snomax system at Coronet has been installed in all four pumphouses increasing snowmaking capacity by up to 20%.

In addition, five new lances and two new fan guns will improve the mobile snowgun fleet and ensure more terrain is open earlier in the season, Kerr said.

"The investment is paying off, as it really is enabling the ski field to make more snow early on.''

Snow guns fire on Coronet Peak. Photo: supplied
Snow guns fire on Coronet Peak. Photo: supplied
Snow making allows the skifields to supplement natural snow and create a better base for a more reliable season.

The Remarkables ski area manager Ross Lawrence plans to fire up the snowmaking system today.

"Snow started settling on the ground yesterday afternoon, and temperatures will now remain cold and definitely in line with snow making parameters for the next week,'' he said.

"That bodes well for plenty of snow-making hours ahead complimented by regular natural snow falls as we head into ski area operations on the 9th June.''

Snow also fell on the Crown Range. The road is open and has been gritted as a precaution. Chains must be carried.

 

- Staff reporter 

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