Wakatipu winter road warnings

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Wakatipu residents must have chains if they’re planning to drive, police and Queenstown Lakes District Council warn. 

Council’s latest update (Monday) says chains must be fitted on the: 

– Crown Range Road which runs between Queenstown and Wanaka 

– Fernhill 

– the Coronet Peak ski field access road 

– outlying roads in the Wakatipu basin. 

“Ice is likely to be an issue overnight (Tuesday) throughout the entire district,” council communications boss Meaghan Miller says. 

The Lindis and the Kingston state highways to Queenstown are now open with chains to be carried and fitted where indicated. 

About 25cm of snow sits on the ground in downtown Queenstown and a further 15-20cm of snow is forecast to fall overnight down to 200m. 

Look out for your neigbours 
Queenstown Lakes District Council chief executive Debra Lawson urges residents to look out for one another. 

“With these conditions it is likely that some members of our community will hunker down and stay put for several days. Please consider your neighbours, in particular older neighbours. Check they are warm and have food.” 

Police are warning people only to drive if it’s an emergency – and to ensure they take warm clothes, blankets and food in case they end up facing delays on the road. 

All Wakatipu schools were closed on Monday and will assess conditions overnight, but if snow continues to fall it’s unlikely schools will open on time tomorrow (Tuesday). An update would be posted on school websites and carried on local radio tomorrow morning. 

The Queenstown Airport runway is again closed this morning – a reassessment will be done later today (Tuesday) at 10am. 

Queenstown and Wanaka rubbish and recycling collections had been postponed until further notice but all other council services are as normal. 

“Council operates a 24-hour call centre regardless of conditions. It was business as usual today, and that will be our intention tomorrow,” Lawson says. 

NZSki  gets snow lovers up hills
Queenstown ski field operator NZSki bussed more than 2500 hardy skiers up to and down from Queenstown’s Coronet Peak and The Remarkables ski areas today (Monday).
 
Both fields enjoyed more than 30cm of new powder.

Coronet ski area manager Hamish McCrostie said it had received “beautiful dry powder” which meant skiers and boarders enjoyed an amazing snow day, despite temperatures of minus seven degrees Celsius at the base building.

“Everyone was just loving it,” he says.

Peaking at Treble Cone
Despite the blizzards and winds affecting the rest of the country, Treble Cone’s sheltered Home basin offered fantastic skiing and snowboarding.

About 20cm of fresh snow landed on freshly groomed trails offering some of the best on and off-piste skiing and snowboarding of the season, a spokeswoman says. 

Several hundred skiers and snowboarders braved the conditions and take to the pistes.