Police temporarily Coronet Peak’s access road to clear an 8km backlog.
They said via an emailed statement: “Due to extensive snowfall, large numbers of people appear to be heading towards the skifields today.”
It was open 20 minutes later.
About 25cm of new snow fell at Coronet Peak overnight, on top of yesterday’s 15cm.
After frustrations were expressed on social media, Coronet staff explained they’d been working on the mountain all night.
“Unfortunately, the storm has just kept coming at us and with massive amounts of drifting snow all the way down the road and into the carparks. This has meant that our work in clearing the carparks has been slower than usual as it’s had to be repeated a number of times.”
The weather has also cancelled flights to the resort and delayed school start times.
The Remarkables was forced to close for the day after half a metre of new snow fell.
The Queenstown skifield says on social media: “Unfortunately we are unable to get on top of road clearing and avalanche control so we are going to have to close for the day. Clear fine and sunny forecast for tomorrow so see you then!”
Queenstown council’s road update just before 9am says: “The Crown Range is now chain-free for all vehicles. Please make sure you have them on board in case conditions take another turn for the worse. Other roads across the Wakatipu are open and clear.”
At Queenstown Airport, two Jetstar flights from Auckland and a Virgin Australia flight from Christchurch have been delayed.
Air New Zealand flights from Christchurch and Invercargill have been cancelled, Queenstown Airport’s website says. Outbound Air NZ flights to Christchurch and Auckland have also been canned.
Primary school buses were on a three-hour delay, leading all Wakatipu schools to open later, at 11.45am.
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