Canterbury’s Mt Hutt ski area in the South Island of New Zealand is celebrating its first major snowfall – two months before its official scheduled opening on June 15.
A cold snap over the weekend (April 20/21) has resulted in a good 20cm of snow at the Mt Hutt base building, and snowdrifts of up to 1.5m of the white stuff between the top of the Summit Six chairlift and the summit.
A handful of super-keen skiers and boarders trekked to the summit this morning to mark their ‘first tracks’ of the 2013 winter season, and it also prompted around 1500 Facebook followers to excitedly take to social media, crowing about the snowfall.
The weekend snowstorm was so fierce it has taken snowmaking head Blair James until this morning (Monday April 22) to get up to the top and check out the snow depths.
By midday today conditions were overcast although it was scheduled to clear more by tomorrow. A south-westerly change later in the week could potentially bring more snow.
NZSki CEO James Coddington said the early snow was reason to celebrate.
“It’s always difficult to predict but let’s hope it is an early sign of things to come,” he said. “It’s fantastic to see some ‘white gold’ on our mountains at this early stage and it’s certainly a reminder to all that winter’s on its way.
“Maybe Moon Man Ken Ring has got it right with his predictions of early and heavy snow this season!
“No matter what, for those who’ve managed to get up Mt Hutt and have some fun in the snow today it’s a great ‘taster’ of things to come.”