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Snow on Mt Hutt & Ski & Snowboard Season Passes
Staff designed and built the covered magic carpet, a type of surface lift installed in ski areas to transport skiers and snowboarders up the hill.
It is also the first in the world to be built out of shipping containers.
More than 1500 skiers are expected during the Mt Hutt Ski Area's opening weekend starting June 12.
The field is the second to open in the South Island after Coronet Peak June 5.
Mt Hutt manager David Wilson said he expected the ski-field to be open despite wind forecast overnight.
Openday day's weather was looking "much better".
"Sunday is traditionally a busier day than Saturday, but being opening day I suspect we'll get a few people up here," he said.
Significant snowfalls in the past three weeks have created "superb" conditions on Mt Hutt.
"Off-trail has come up a little bit hard, but it'll be crisp, dry on-trail skiing."
Snow-making would continue, Wilson said.
More than 22 million litres of water for snow-making was being stored in a 90-metre well on the mountain.
"The more snow you can put on gives you a better foundation, so we're still making as much as we can," he said.
"We'll review that on an ongoing basis, depending on how much more snow we get."
Wilson said it was difficult to predict how the season would pan out, but one or two large snowfalls could make all the difference.
"If you get a good base like we have now, then 10 centimetres is fantastic skiing. If you haven't got a good base, you really need that snow to keep you going," he said.
"From where we're starting now, it's fantastic."
Last season faded quickly after Mt Hutt's best-ever start.
"The second half was certainly average weather, with a lot of claggy days. Still some good skiing, but not as good as the first half, which was amazing," Wilson said.
Huge snow dump at Mt Hutt
After severe weather delivered 230mm of near-freezing rain falling in the base area in just 48 hours, temperatures at Mt Hutt plummeted last night (Wednesday) and rain turned to snow with 20cms of the white stuff falling on the existing 15cm base.
Assistant Ski Area Manager, James McKenzie, said the conditions were as severe as any staff had seen in many years but the resulting snow was very welcome in the lead up to the ski season.
“The base had taken a real hammering from rain but there is a real buzz amongst the Mt Hutt staff because the snow has just transformed the conditions,” he said. “We have yet to venture out past the top of the Exhibition Quad chair due to low visibility and deep snow drifts – there’s a good chance that its been snowing at the top of the mountain over the last few days - we can’t wait to see how things are looking up there.”
Heavy snow is forecast for the Canterbury ski area over the next three days and the mountain staff are looking at their options to ensure that preparations for opening continue to plan.
“We’ve transported our team to the base area on snow cats this morning and made sure they’ve packed their bags for a couple of nights up on the mountain.”
Mt Hutt opens on the 12th June with numerous summer improvements ranging from new mountain signage, a state-of-the-art lift access/pass system, Magic Carpet tunnel in the learners’ area and a café refit.
“It’s a very exciting time for our crew with all of our summer projects nearing completion and the arrival of great snow – the scene is set for another epic start to the winter snowsports season at Mt Hutt.”
Winter is here
A cold snap delivered a dump of 10cm of snow on Canterbury’s favourite ski area, Mt Hutt, during the weekend.
Ski Area Manager, Dave Wilson, says the high country ski area was likely to be on the receiving end of more snow throughout the week.
“It’s great to see a dump of wet snow that should stick around and help create a good base. The cold temperatures mean the team will get started on snowmaking in the next few days to add to the base that has already accumulated."
Mt Hutt is scheduled to open on 12 June.
Meanwhile, Queenstown is also expecting a dump of snow this week, which is perfectly timed for the scheduled start of snowmaking on Saturday 22nd May, and the scheduled opening of Coronet Peak on June 5th.
Mount Hutt is offering a variety of deals on season passes bought by 4 June.
Shoulder (12 March – 4 June)
Adult $879, Youth/Senior $629
NZSki, the company that operates Coronet Peak, Mount Hutt and The Remarkables ski fields, is introducing a smart card called MyPass that can be used to access lifts, hire equipment, book lessons and buy food and drinks at the three resorts.
The chief executive of NZSki, James Coddington, says Aspen and Alta resorts in the US have cards that operate on the same radio frequency technology as MyPass but they are used only for the lifts.
The card came about because Coddington wanted to learn more about who was skiing on the mountains. And while that knowledge will determine future directions for the three resorts, the impact of the new technology will be felt by skiers from the opening day of the season on June 6.
"For instance, from day one we will know which runs have been the busiest and we will be able to send out the snow groomers accordingly,'' Coddington says.
The card, which can be kept indefinitely, will also store details of the boots and skis you wore last time so you don't have to go through the whole fitting process again right from the start.