Ski slopes extreme-ly inviting

CLEAR DAY: Mt Taranaki after a fresh dump of snow earlier in the week.
CLEAR DAY: Mt Taranaki after a fresh dump of snow earlier in the week.

Pulling a "sickie" is being encouraged by members of the Stratford Mountain Club with "sublime" snow covering Mt Taranaki.

Club spokesman Rob Needs said the "once in a decade conditions" had left club members with huge smiles on their faces.

"We're gobsmacked, it's mind blowing. The only thing we could have asked for was this to happen a week before the holidays not the week after," he said.

Manganui skifield is notoriously fickle and Needs said there were a few who had given up on a season after a warmer than usual June.

But an early snowfall at the start of the month and "extreme weather" in the past week had resulted in amazing snow, he said.

"We've been open since Thursday last week; tomorrow will be seven days in a row and it's looking good for Thursday too," Needs said.

Needs said the Taranaki secondary school ski and snowboard champs would be held today and the primary school champs tomorrow.

More snow was expected on Friday and Needs recommended taking a day either side of the weekend to make the most of it.

"People need to beg, borrow or steal gear and get up there," he said.

The club has even condoned pulling a sickie in order to enjoy the rare conditions.

"Advice: develop a fake cough or illness, tell the boss you are going home, grab your gear and get up here!," a post on their Facebook page reads.

Needs said there was so much packed snow on the mountain the forecast rain would have little effect and the solid base could stick around for up to six weeks.

If that happens the skifield could be in for a record season.

"In the time I've been on the committee, the worst was 2 days and the best was 45," he said.

With the lack of snow at Ruapehu, "snow sliders" should be making the most of what was on offer in their own region, Needs said.

"This way you can sleep in your own bed and hit the top tow which is legendary."

A week of snow has also coincided with a week of waves and there were reports of people completing the rare surf and snow double.

"I had an international guy come in and hire a board on Thursday. He went up the mountain in the morning and then had waves at Back Beach in the afternoon," Needs said.

Taranaki Daily News