Warnings for motorists as winds close skifields

Strong winds forecast for the South have forced two ski fields to close today in Queenstown and Wanaka, despite fresh snow.

MetService has strong wind warnings in place for Otago and Southland, saying west to northwesterly gales could become severe in exposed places at times, with gusts reaching 120kmh.

The forecaster said strong gusts could damage trees, powerlines and unsecured structures. Driving may be hazardous, especially for high-sided vehicles and motorcycles.

The NZ Transport Agency has wind warnings in place for several southern highways, including SH1 from Gore to Palmerston, SH8 Raes Junction to Milton, and SH83 Omarama to Pukeuri.

The winds have also posed problems on some southern ski fields. NZSki announced via social media at 10.30am it would close Coronet Peak for the day.

"Unfortunately the winds have proved too strong and we've made the decision to close for the remainder of the day.

"Thanks for your patience as we tried our best to get you out on the slopes, we'll see you tomorrow for some fresh lines."

Coronet Peak enjoyed another dump of 10-15cm of snow last night, following on from 15cm the night before.

Cardrona Alpine Resort in Wanaka has also been forced to shut its doors, but was expecting to reopen tomorrow.

Coronet Peak. Photo: ODT files
Coronet Peak. Photo: ODT files

Treble Cone Ski Area had received 30cm of snow by Tuesday morning and benefited from another 5cm last night.

The ski area website said there was an "untouched 40cm in Saddle Basin, lining up for an awesome day".

The Remarkables Ski Area in Queenstown is closed Monday to Wednesday this year.


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