All guns blazing

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No ONE’S happier about Queenstown’s Coronet Peak Ski Area opening after a freak month of warm weather than Pete Deuart. 

Deuart, Coronet’s chief snowmaker, finally got his wish for two days of prolonged cold temperatures from about 9pm on Monday – enough to allow the Peak to open at 9am today. 

The skifield’s 211 guns blew sufficient snow to cover the M1 trail from top to bottom, the Big Easy trail and the beginners’ area. 

Even then, there were almost a couple of blips, Deuart reveals. 

“We ran through the day on Tuesday even though the computers told us we shouldn’t,” he says. 

“We tried to do the best we could, really, because it’s coming down to the crunch, we need to get open.” 

Conditions were then hairy on Tuesday night due to a southeast wind change and low cloud cover. 

“All the guns were basically blowing into the bank. 

“The guys had to fight it all night, de-icing guns and trying to keep them going, 

“They were running around in that cloud trying to make sure everything kept going because the guns don’t like the cloud. 

“Then from one to two in the morning, the odds came into our favour.” 

Snow cover is even better than he’d expected, the 14-year Coronet Peak veteran adds.