Skifields hopeful of great season

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South Canterbury skiers and snowboarders may be in for a “great season” this year, if the past weekend’s conditions are anything to go by, skifield managers say.

Blue skies and plenty of snow greeted those hitting the slopes during the first weekend of the school holidays, as Mt Dobson and Roundhill ski areas opened for the season.

Roundhill ski area manager Simon Murrell said there had been a “good turnout” to opening day last Thursday, and there were “really good” numbers in the car park on Sunday.

With expectations of more snow later this week and already “really impressive” conditions on the slopes near Lake Tekapo, things were setting up for a “great season” ahead, Mr Murrell said.

Mt Dobson director Peter Foote said the sunny days and good amount of snow at the weekend had attracted 500-600 people to the field over the two days.

“[It was] probably one of the best opening weekends we’ve had in years.”

Mr Foote said the area’s lower car park had been full on Friday, and the upper car park was “close to full” on Sunday.

Ohau Snow Fields had already opened the previous weekend. Skifield owner/operator Mike Neilson said more than 320 people were at the field last Sunday and conditions were “looking good” for the rest of the school holidays.

Snowmakers had been making snow “most nights”, meaning the ski runs were in “good shape”, he said.

Fox Peak Club president Alistair Millar said while the skifield did not open at the weekend because of a lack of snow, he hoped it would be fit for skiing this weekend.

The skifield is leased by the club from private owners from June 1 to September 30.