Wintry blast helps Queenstown ski fields

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A wintry blast has provided excellent snow-making conditions for Queenstown ski areas before opening weekend.

Coronet Peak and The Remarkables, run by NZSki, have had snow guns blasting since temperatures plummeted yesterday afternoon (Tuesday).

The snow base is growing by the minute. Coronet Peak recorded 10cm of natural snow overnight, while The Remarkables received eight cm.

Coronet Peak ski area manager Hamish McCrostie says the cold snap was just what was needed.

“It’s hugely encouraging to see the slopes looking white thanks to the overnight snowfall and to know we can pump out more of this ‘white gold’ throughout the remainder of the week,” McCrostie says.

During last night’s snow storm, Coronet Peak had 116 snow guns blazing across the mountain, pumping over 42,000 cubic metres of water.

With temperatures expected to drop further this week, snow making and snow grooming teams are in full swing at both ski areas.

It means they are on track to open as scheduled – Coronet Peak this Saturday and The Remarkables the following weekend.

McCrostie says: “We just can’t wait to welcome our first skiers and snowboarders on Saturday for the start of the 2012 season.

“I know the whole town is as excited about that as we are.”

NZSki will have traditional ‘First On The Chair’ T-shirts for those hardy souls who arrive in the early hours of the morning to queue up at the Coronet Express Quad chair lift. All skiers and boarders who do will be rewarded with a celebratory glass of bubbles.