Fresh snow has fallen across both Australian and New Zealand ski fields, building excitement with the season now, hopefully, only weeks away at some of the early openers. In some resorts ‘boarders and skiers couldn’t wait for the lifts and walked up the slopes in order to get a run down on the fresh powder.
The snow came first to Australia, over the weekend, where almost mid-winter conditions hit Mt Hotham, with approximately 15 - 20 centimetres (6-8 inches) falling between 5am and 5pm on Saturday. Temperatures got down to as low as -5 as the early big chill descended.
For the second consecutive weekend snow ploughs were busy clearing the road between Harrietville and Hotham. In just over a week a total of about 40 centimetres (16 inches) has fallen at the resort.
In New Zealand it was a glorious white sight this morning at Whakapapa. The resort received 10cm (4 inches) at the Top of the Bruce by 12pm when it stopped snowing.
Some of New Zealand’s South Island’s keenest headed for Coronet Peak today (Tuesday May 4th) after the cold snap blanketed ski areas with early season snow. It was the same across the valley at The Remarkables, where mountain manager Ed Bezett reported a few cars having an “interesting” time on the road.
“There were definitely a few people coming up to have a good look and start their winter experience early,” he said.
“The temperature would have been around minus 4C at the base area yesterday afternoon when most of the snow fell, so it’s definitely cooling down. Any snow we get this early in May is always a good indication that winter is on its way.”
Three to 5cm of snow fell on the lower slopes of Coronet Peak ski area, and 5 to 7cm on the upper mountain, while at The Remarkables, 8 to 10cm of snow fell on the mountain.
In Canterbury, approximately 6cm of snow fell on Mt Hutt ski area.
Mountain managers and staff at all three ski areas are busy working on major developments in time for the opening of the 2004 season.
Staff at Coronet Peak have been working on the installation of a new snowmaking system on the main M1 trail and in the Rocky Gully area, and setting up a new race training area in Rocky Gully. The new fully-automated snowmaking guns should be being installed from next week, and snowmaking is scheduled to start later this month. Coronet Peak is scheduled to open for the 2004 season on June 5.
At Mt Hutt, work is also well underway on a new 10,000 square metre Cheapskates Terrain Park. Mt Hutt is also scheduled to open for the season on June 5.
At The Remarkables, a 150m long, 22m wide pipe SuperPipe is being built to full FIS standards. The Superpipe is part of a massive development of the Xbox Terrain Park at the top of Sugar Bowl basin. The Remarkables is scheduled to open for the season on June 26.