Queenstown ski season underway


Strong winds failed to spoil the opening day of the Queenstown 2015 winter season for keen-as-mustard skiers and snowboards.

Hundreds made an opening-day pilgrimage up NZSKi’s Coronet Peak skifield yesterday.

Gusts of 80kmh from a brisk south westerly closed the main arterial chairlift, Coronet Express, for the majority of the day.

But Greengate Express and Meadows Express provided access to the nine of 27 runs open, including M1, Million Dollar, Wall St and beginners’ terrain.

Jonny Walsh, 24, said: “There’s a great atmosphere up here for the opening day – a lot more chilled than the Alps.

“The snow felt a lot nicer after about midday, natural and not so icy.”

Snow conditions were decent for opening day, with a base depth of 20cms to 50cms on the major runs, helped by a dusting overnight and snow-making.

The wind, while relatively strong on parts of the mountain, was not too cold and the sun shone in patches through the clouds.

The skifield was fairly quiet with practically no queues for chairlifts and lots of space on runs – a bonus for those locals and seasonal workers who went up.

Ski tourists, particular from Australia, will begin arriving towards the end of the month.

The ski road to the base building at 1200 metres was clear and accessible to 2WD cars.