Quartet sleep out under tables to be first group on chair lift

GRANT BRYANT IN QUEENSTOWN
Last updated 05:00 09/06/2014

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A group of teenagers spent the night at Coronet Peak to bag the first chair honours to mark the start of ski season.

More than 600 people made the effort up the hill on Saturday, enjoying blue sky and sun above the clouds enveloping the Wakatipu basin.

The first chair honours went to a group of Queenstown teenagers, Finn Duffy, Tiarn Collins, Jacob Donoghue-Price and Cooper Neilson, all 14, who camped out under the stars from 11pm on Friday.

They spent the night sleeping under picnic tables at the base building deck to claim their spot first in the queue for the first lift.

"We've never done this before but we thought we'd do it to check out what the competition was like," Duffy said.

"It was great to have the run to ourselves, it was hard and fast."

NZSki Coronet Peak ski area manager Ross Copland said opening day was all about dusting off the gear and having a go on the best early season snow in the southern hemisphere.

"It's great for Queenstown to get the season under way, and looking ahead we're excited about Winter Festival and the re-launch of night skiing with doubling of the terrain."

Coronet Peak opened with an average 30cm base on the main trails. Cardrona Alpine Resort opens on June 20, The Remarkables on June 21 and Treble Cone on June 26.

The Queenstown Winter Festival, in its 40th year, kicks off on June 20.

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- The Southland Times

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