Slopes offer escape from Wanaka cloud

For many locals, Cardrona's early opening was a good excuse to get above the inversion layer that...
For many locals, Cardrona's early opening was a good excuse to get above the inversion layer that has sat above Wanaka for the last week. Photos: Sean Nugent
Hundreds of keen skiers and snowboarders raced up to Cardrona ski field today to carve their first lines in the snow this season, and escape yet another day of inversion cloud hovering above Wanaka.

Cardrona decided to open its doors this weekend, two weeks prior to the scheduled opening day of June 16, due to early snowfall that had left 90cm of natural snow on the mountain.

Cardrona general manager Bridget Legnavsky said it was "amazing" to have so much snow at this time of year.

Only McDougall's Chondola and the learner slopes were open to the public, which Ms Legnavsky attributed to the lack of staff.

"We have 650 staff for winter and they all start next weekend so what we have is permanent staff running the mountain. Everyone’s on deck and everyone’s doing what they can do to make it happen."

The McDougall's Chondola was busy transporting excited skiers and snowboarders keen to get their...
The McDougall's Chondola was busy transporting excited skiers and snowboarders keen to get their first taste of snow this winter.
She was confident the snow was here to stay as snowmaking had been under way for the past two weeks, and only serious rain would be cause for concern.

Joining the chairlift queues were a number of local snowsports athletes including Nico Porteous and brothers Hank and Finn Bilous.

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