Snow Extends New Zealand Ski Season

Unseasonable snowfalls, causing havoc in New Zealand’s central North Island, are ideal for winter sports enthusiasts.

Snow has blanketed the central North Island closing roads, stranding travellers, cutting power and interrupting communications. But while many are counting the cost and bemoaning the inconvenience others are rubbing their hands in glee at the resulting conditions and promise of perfect spring skiing.

Up to eight inches of new snow has been reported on the Whakapapa and Turoa ski areas of Mount Ruapehu in the Central Plateau. Both fields are scheduled to end their season on October 26. While Whakapapa and Turoa skifield operators are waiting for the blizzards to stop and the weather to clear before opening, they say keen skiers and snowboarders can look forward to riding a nice collection of fresh powder.

In the South Island, Mt. Hutt ski area in Canterbury is open again after two inches of new snow fell on Sunday, October 4. The ski area reports an upper mountain base of five feet, with four feet on the lower mountain.

Operators say the longer, sunny days of spring mean that sun-block and glasses are mandatory requirements for any slope action. Mt. Hutt is scheduled to close on October 18. Mt. Hutt was the first ski area to open in Australasia on May 30 and it is expected Mt. Ruapehu will be the last to close on October 26.

Further south The Remarkables ski area, near Queenstown is on track for closing on October 11. The area’s sister skifield, Coronet Peak, has already closed.