South Island ski season begins
Sat, 09 Jun 2012 6:11p.m.
By Jessica Rowe
The massive snow dumps during the week have kicked off South Island's ski season with thousands of skiers and snowboarders hitting the slopes.
Earlier this week, ski fields were lacking their main ingredient, snow. But Wednesday's cold snap has more than made up for that.
Carving it up on the fresh powdery slopes, skiers are making the most of the untouched snow on Mount Hutt.
“It's awesome,” says skier Emma Garnet. “I love it. It's my third time. I haven't had any big falls or anything. It’s great.”
“Thank you Mother Nature!” says skier Stephanie McConnochie.
The official opening of the ski season was marked by celebratory bubbles, and enthusiasts who had been waiting in line since 5am enjoyed a glass or two before heading to the summit.
“I’m pretty tired but it was worth it,” says Chris Roy.
“It’s just a traditional thing we do every year,” says Callum Guthrie. “Get the t-shirt.”
Mount Hutt staff say the big snow on Wednesday came just in time for opening day.
“The situation on Tuesday honestly was not much,” says general manager of operations James Urquhart. “We were a little concerned, but Mother Nature came through. We are in for a really good season.”
There are 60cm to 70cm of fresh dry powder across the entire mountain, making it perfect conditions for the opening of the season.
Queenstown's Coronet Peak was also buzzing with activity, with around 1000 skiers and snowboarders heading up the mountain.
“Here at Coronet Peak, most of it is manmade snow,” says NZ Ski chief executive James Coddington. “We've had top up last night’s and the night before – fantastic conditions here.”
The Remarkables Ski Area in Queenstown will open later this month.
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