Challenging year for region’s skifields

by Al Williams

South Canterbury ski fields have reported a challenging season with low snowfalls and warmer-than-usual conditions.
Fox Peak Ski Club is unable to operate at the moment and will close for the year if there is no snow in the coming fortnight, while Mt Dobson will possibly finish the season this weekend – despite being scheduled to remain open until September 25.
Roundhill Ski Area finished its season on Sunday while Ohau Snow Fields is scheduled to close on October 2.

Roundhill Skifield
Roundhill Skifield

Most ski fields opened in time for the school holidays in June, but weather had proved problematic for some, including a lack of snow on some trails.
MetService meteorologist Ciaran Doolin had been unusually warm in terms of ski fields across South Canterbury and the South Island.
“On the whole it has been an unusually warm winter with … [fewer] outbreaks of southerly weather.

Samuel Nystrom, ski instructor at Roundhill Skifield
Samuel Nystrom, ski instructor at Roundhill Skifield

“We just haven’t had the high frequency of cold air masses moving over the South Island producing snow.”
Fox Peak Ski Club president Alistair Millar as “a season of frustration”.
“We had snow too early, they say snow in June is too soon.

“Warmer weather has taken the snow away and we are not able to operate at the moment. If we don’t get some snow in the next couple of weeks we will close for the year.
“We have had some good days but it’s been a shorter season than normal.”

Isaac Gee,4, Reueben Gee,6, and Rhona Montgomery at Roundhill
Isaac Gee,4, Reueben Gee,6, and Rhona Montgomery at Roundhill

Mt Dobson manager Bruce Foote field would stay open to September 25 but it was possible it might close this weekend.
“We might close this weekend with these warm spring days and warmer temperatures.”

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