By PHILIP CHANDLER
Queenstown’s Coronet Peak received a freak snowfall last Friday.
Three centimetres of snow, almost down to Skippers Saddle, was apparently formed by the
skifield’s snow guns seeding low-lying fog.
Coronet Peak boss Nigel Kerr says he witnessed the snowfall while driving past Skippers Saddle on his way to the field about 6am.
‘‘I noticed that it seemed to be snowing.
‘‘I was like, ‘well, that’s bloody weird, we don’t make snow down here, what the hell’s going on?’’’
It appeared to be confined to Coronet Peak and around to Coronet Forest, and to be coming out of valley cloud or fog.
‘‘It caused a wee bit of chaos on the road, because we weren’t expecting it to snow.
‘‘It freaks me that we seeded the fog with our own guns, and it snowed over quite a large area, so we were quite excited.
‘‘It was a lovely top-up for the morning, but it was a complete surprise and a bit of a mystery to most … but we’re not saying , ‘no thanks’ — we’re taking what we get.’’
He thinks the idea Coronet’s guns triggered the snowfall is the only ‘‘sensible explanation’’.
He says manmade snow is ‘‘quite crystalline —you can put your arm out and catch it, but this was flaky’’.
The ‘natural’ snowfall lasted till about 9 or 10am, he says, ‘‘then it was just manmade after that’’.