Full blast: Coronet Peak’s snow guns going full-tilt
NZSki boss James Coddington has confirmed Queenstown ski fields will remain open throughout the whole season.
The ski firm will continue to create usable runs at Coronet Peak and The Remarkables through the expensive practice of snow making.
Several weeks without heavy snow and continuing clear blue skies have left the mountains relatively bare.
Coddington says: “There is no thought at all to stopping our commitment to making snow.
Met Service forecasts snow for Queenstown
Met Service meteorologist Daniel Corbett says: “You could see a blast of snow early next week.
“In recent weeks the weather patterns have moved in from the Tasman Sea. The highs have settled over the South Island, keeping you dry and blocking the lows, which instead have been stuck over the North Island, and spun out all their rain.
“Now, next week we have another storm system coming out of the Tasman Sea but this one looks like it will extend a little further south so it could by Monday put you in quite an unsettled spell.
“It will hopefully bring some good news after what has been a dry patch in the ski season.”
During August, a change in the weather could bring extended snow dumps.
“What we’ve had so far is called neutral. It has not been El Nino or La Nina. But there are signs of El Nino forming in the Pacific in the water and if that does happen, we will then start seeing more of the weather patterns rolling in from the Southern Ocean and the South Tasman Sea.
“They would be loaded with moisture and there would be enough cold air in them to provide further dumps of snow everywhere, particularly the east coast.”
“Yes, it’s expensive, but it’s more important to us to provide the very best product and service we can on a daily basis.
“They are set on automatic and whenever the ambient temperature hits -2 degrees, the guns start.”
Met Service meteorologists say snow is expected on Sunday or Monday – and signs of El Nino forming in the Pacific could bring proper winter conditions within weeks.
Until then, the snow guns will blast.
Coddington says: “We’ve invested a significant infrastructure in snow making and we’re committed to have the snow guns blazing whenever the temperatures allow.
“And we are committed to ensuring that all the way to the end of the season.”
Coronet Peak has 116 snow guns, which can pump more than 42,000 cubic metres of water in 12 hours. Scores of guns also service The Remarkables and NZSki-managed Mt Hutt.
Warm temperatures forced NZSki to cancel night skiing last week but the popular sessions will reopen this weekend.
“Without snow making we wouldn’t have had a season this year.
“We’re hopeful the weather gods will smile on us again but we don’t have control over those things. There’s no point in worrying about the things outside our control,” Coddington says.