Big snow at Treble Cone in New Zealand as resort officially kicks off 2010 season
With good snowfall conditions in most of the southern hemisphere, the 2010 ski season officially kicked off last weekend with Coronet Peak New Zealand reporting a 50cm (20 inch) base including 15cm (six inches) of new snow. Thousands of Queenslanders hit the piste to celebrate.
Skiers to Mt. Hutt in New Zealand over the next two months will be rewarded with some spectacular skiing action as resort plays host to several Downhill Teams training for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games.
Until September 20th, Mt. Hutt’s International Race Training Arena will be set alight by athletes reaching speeds of up to 120 km/h in the Downhill training course. The teams include those from Switzerland, Sweden, Germany, New Zealand, Australia and Canada’s Crazy Canucks.
We’re going to see some pretty intense training this year in the build up to the Winter Olympics in Vancouver,”
said Paul Marks, Head of Race and Events at Mt. Hutt. “It’s a privilege to host these world class teams on our slopes and we’ll be rewarded with some amazing ski racing. The speeds these athletes reach is unbelievable and incredible to watch.”
The ski area will also be hosting the Australia New Zealand Cup Finals and the National Championship Super G in early September.
Fresh snow has hit Australia, New Zealand, Argentina and Chile in the past week, according to snow reporting agency skiinfo.com. As a result, virtually all of the southern hemisphere’s ski areas, are now open.
In Australia, the Heavenly Valley chair started turning for the first time this season after over half a metre (20 inches) of snow dumped on Hotham ski area over 48 hours. Excited skiers and boarders grabbed first tracks at 7:30am on Hotham’s signature terrain, in what is arguably some of Australia’s best black diamond terrain.
Sunny skies, bubbles and smiles all round were the hallmarks of the opening of the ski season at Mt Hutt in New Zealand after cranking up the lifts for one of its earliest openings in recent history.
More than 2000 Cantabrians and visitors to the region turned out to welcome the snow and celebrate skiing in May at Mt Hutt.
The high country ski area opening was two weeks ahead of schedule as a result of early snow coverage.
Ski Area Manager Dave Wilson says it was the first time the mountain had opened in May for more than a decade.
“We have a one metre snow base which is phenomenal for this time of year. Getting the mountain open early has been a huge challenge for staff but we had a great day today making it well worth the effort.
Feedback and support from the local Methven community has been very much appreciated – everyone is delighted to be open early. It’s a fantastic start.”
First on the chair honours, complete with t-shirts, went to Suzanne Fenwick, Ian Beale, Mike Roberson and Stef Waldon of Christchurch on the Quad while Ashburton’s Michael Borland, Michael Geddes, Benjamin Mort, Lance Cotter, Callum Brooker were first on the Summit Six along with 11-year-old Sophie Sinke of Christchurch.
Lindauer flowed for the early birds and glasses raised to toast the 2009 season just on 9am as the chairs opened.
Mr Wilson said stormy weather bringing more snow was expected to hit the mountain tonight (Saturday) and Sunday with weather clearing again for Monday.
“Today’s weather was really one out of the bag. The forecast wasn’t too flash so we were rapt to wake up to a bluebird day. Definitely life as it ought to be today.”
Mt Hutt is expected to remain open until early October. Coronet Peak in Queenstown is scheduled to open next Saturday, June 6 with The Remarkables following on Saturday June 20.
Yet another 25cm (10 inches) of fresh snow yesterday (Sunday 24th) and temperatures hovering just below zero means that Mt Hutt is on course for it’s first May opening this millennium with the New Zealand resort still reporting mid-winter conditions that have lasted throughout May and a base depth of one metre (40 inches).