School holiday snow dumps on S Canterbury skifields

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by Greta Yeoman

It has been a snowy start to the opening fortnight of the 2019 ski season, South Canterbury field managers say.

Mt Dobson’s marketing manager Mike Smith said it had been a “pretty good” start to the season, since opening on July 5.

The first week of the school holidays had been “quite quiet”, as only a few of the runs were open, but the opening of the chairlift and several trails in the second week had prompted a boost in numbers.

“It’s all open now.”

While a large snowfall at the weekend had caused the skifield to close on the final three days of the school holidays, it would set them in good stead for the rest of the season, Mr Smith said.

“[It was] a big snowstorm . . . we’re fully covered.”

While Fox Peak Ski Club members had had their fingers crossed for a school holiday opening, it had not snowed quite low enough for that yet.

Club president Alistair Miller told The Courier earlier this week that while there was a good amount of snow higher up, they were “still struggling” to get decent coverage lower down, where the main field is.

Roundhill had also had a “good turnout” since opening in late June, manager Simon Murcell said.

Staff had been busy making snow before the opening day, to top up the snow that had already fallen, and the “dump of snow” over the weekend would also add to that.

Snow-making had also been beneficial for Ohau Snow Fields, manager Mike Neilson said.

The field, near Twizel, had also opened in late June, to a “great” start.

Mr Neilson said there was “plenty of snow” about, and the weekend’s snowfall had only added to that.