Epic Conditions at New Zealand Ski Resorts

Skiers and snowboarders have been queuing to take advantage of fresh snow and sunshine as the country’s winter season gets into full swing.

The weekend saw snow conditions described as ‘epic’.

Wind-free, cloudless days, combined with school holidays, drew the crowds.

There were tailbacks on roads leading to some ski areas, car parks filled up and there were long queues for ski lifts.

New Zealand has been successful in dealing with coronavirus and has been able to open its ski areas in much the same way as they do each year.

There are no restrictions on large gatherings.

The country’s borders remain closed to most of the outside world, however, so the only ones enjoying the July snow are New Zealanders or those foreigners lucky enough to be in the country before it shut down.

NZ Ski operates two Queenstown resorts – Coronet Peak and The Remarkables – and Mt Hutt in Canterbury.

The NZ Ski Chief Executive, Paul Anderson, said Coronet Peak reached capacity on Friday with more than 4,500 visitors, with large numbers at its other two resorts.

He described it as great for the local economy.

“Eight weeks ago we didn’t even know if we’d be open, so we’re stoked. I put it down to the conditions,” he said.

The Remarkables had another 15cm on Sunday, and said Monday was a ‘Bluebird. Cracking Day.”

Cardrona in Wanaka also reported fabulous conditions with 10cm of fresh snow falling on Sunday.

The resort posted this video shot on Monday by Ned Brannigan:

Another big day up here today. Thanks for coming to enjoy the sunshine and fresh snow with us. You’re all pretty awesome 😉❤️Here’s Hamish McDougall with a few glory turns from the summit today ⛷📹: Ned Brannigan

Posted by Cardrona Alpine Resort, NZ on Sunday, 12 July 2020

GB’s leading male slopestyle skier James ‘Woodsy’ Woods is in Cardrona.

He has been in New Zealand all year recovering from a serious knee injury and got back on the slopes last month.

He seemed to enjoy his day on the snow on Monday after the fresh snowfall:

There’s been heavy snowfall elsewhere in the southern hemisphere.

In Australia, Thredbo in New South Wales reported 30cm overnight Sunday into Monday.

Thredbo is open for skiing, subject to some coronavirus-related restrictions, but Mt Hotham and Falls Creek in the neighbouring Australian state of Victoria have closed their ski lifts until at least 19th August following a spike in Covid-19 cases in Melbourne.

“We are devastated for our local businesses, staff and all our guests, that such action has been necessary to respond to the spread of coronavirus in Victoria,” Falls Creek Resort Management Chief Executive Stuart Smythe said.

“With guests coming to the resort, they will be required via the resort entry portal, to provide their details for contract tracing purposes and for capacity management.”

Falls Creek and Mt Hotham are still open for other on snow activities including some cross country skiing , tobogganing and snowplay, snowshoeing, snowmobile and backcountry tours.

South America has been experiencing one of its snowiest starts to winter in years however none of its resorts is able to open because of the seriousness of the pandemic there.