'Big white world' arrives out there
The chilly first brush of winter has snow lovers excited in hopes of a good season.
Nelsonians woke up to the coldest morning this year, with a moderate frost. Ground temperatures dropped to zero at Nelson Airport, while the grass temperature was a chilly minus six degrees Celsius.
Temperatures were slightly warmer further south, with -0.5C reached at Kawatiri and 0.5C on Takaka Hill.
Snow fell low on the Arthur Range and on the hills of Golden Bay, and the village of St Arnaud woke up to a "big white world" yesterday.
People reported driving through snowy conditions on the Takaka Hill and waking to a thick layer of snow on Bird's Clearing above Clifton in Golden Bay.
Lake Rotoiti Primary School pupils brought their gloves and gumboots to school yesterday to make the most of the season's first snow.
Teacher Nicky Crawford said the fall happened between midnight and 6am on Monday and was early for the season's first snow.
She said a few centimetres fell and estimated it was about 6cm in some places.
The children loved it, making snowmen and a snow fort to throw snowballs from.
Rainbow Ski Area spokesman Hamish Neill said the cold weather pattern from the west was encouraging.
"We are thinking this could be a good weather pattern for us this year."
Neill said it was good the ground was frozen ahead of snowmaking, due to start at the field next week.
The skifield hopes to open on July 5.
MetService meteorologist Stephen Glassey said the Nelson region could expect fine weather for the next few days, with slightly warmer temperatures, rising from a maximum of 11 today to a maximum of 16 tomorrow. Temperatures would drop again for the weekend, but fine weather at this stage was expected.