Snow flurries hit Queenstown

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The first major storm front of winter has coated Queenstown’s mountains and dusted its hills with snow.

New Zealand’s MetService forecasts snow and rain will continue to fall for the next two days – with temperatures expected to reach a numbing -13 degrees overnight tomorrow (Monday).

Roads remain open but New Zealand Transport Agency reports snow chains are essential on Crown Range and Lindis Pass.

Queenstown Lakes District Council contractors worked through the early hours of the morning to clear a slip near halfway lookout on Glenorchy Road. The road has now reopened.

Flights to and from Queenstown Airport have been disrupted. At least one flight from Christchurch, at 8.20am, had to turn back this morning and airport staff are advising people to check the website or contact their airlines.

The airport website appears to be struggling to cope with demand.

Skifields Coronet Peak and The Remarkables, along with Deer Park Heights, Queenstown Hill and Bob’s Peak were all blanketed with snow.

Eager boarders reported making first tracks of the season at Coronet Peak, posting snowy images to Facebook, although the skifield doesn’t officially open until June 7.

Skifield operator NZSki began snow making at Coronet on Friday and has now been given a helping hand by Mother Nature.

A road-conditions tweet from Queenstown Lakes District Council reads: “Crown Range Rd & Wanaka-Cardrona affected by snow. Carry chains. Winter conditions all over, more snow forecast today. Drive with care.”