'Unprecedented' snowfall at Mt Hutt skifield

Mount Hutt skifield is experiencing ''quite unprecedented'' snowfall that could see it break the metre mark very soon.

Snow levels were at 97cm shortly before 1pm, with snow still dumping down on the Canterbury skifield.

Mt Hutt Ski Area Manager James McKenzie said the snow on the mountain had been a ''pretty amazing''.

It was the most snow the field had had in such a short time - within 12 hours.

''It is snowing so hard that we can't keep the access roads safe or the mountain safe through avalanche risk.''

Avalanche controllers were up the mountain setting off rockets to protect the base lodge and clear the roads.

''It's a big storm. The sheer volume, it's quite a lot of work to do.''

Snow began about 5pm last night, and to have this much snow was ''quite unprecedented really'', he said.

At one point, they recorded about 7cm of snow falling in one hour, and wind was picking up this afternoon.

Staff were now ''keeping fingers crossed'' the storm would settle so the field could open for the weekend.

''It means also that the triple chair below the base area will open as well.''

The Press