Snow allows smaller skifields to open

TINA LAW
Last updated 14:46 10/08/2014
Mt Cheeseman
LET IT SNOW: Mt Cheeseman, near Castle Hill, opened for the first time this season on Sunday.

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Enough snow has finally fallen, allowing some of Canterbury's smaller skifields to open for the first time this season.

''It's awesome, there's lot of cold, fluffy powder. We're skiing the whole mountain,'' Temple Basin mountain manager Charlotte Berry said today.

The club field, near Arthur's Pass, opened yesterday for the first time this year, with up to 3m of snow in some places.

A lack of snow, warm temperatures and high winds have prevented the field and many others from opening sooner. They would usually open in July.

Berry said Temple Basin was benefiting from being one of the few club fields open, after 246 skiers visited the mountain yesterday. It was the most skiers the field has had on any one day in at least four years.

''A lot of skiers from other club fields have made the trip. We've got lots and lots of first timers.''

Mt Cheeseman, near Castle Hill, opened for the first time this season today.

Mountain manager Cam Lill said the field had about 20cm at the base and about 50cm on the upper runs, which was the minimum it could operate at.

''We're one of the few fields open on purely natural snow,'' he said.

While Temple Basin and Mt Cheeseman received enough snow last week to open, many other fields are still waiting for another snow storm.

Broken River needs just one more snowfall to open, marketing officer Claire Newell said.

She could not remember the last time the club was still closed in early August.

The club had to cancel a week-long ski event for about 40 people this coming week.

Mt Olympus needed another 25cm before it could open, committee member Alister Clinton said.

The club had been forced to cancel five weeks of bookings in its newly upgraded and expanded 52-bed lodge. The lodge had been fully booked for at least three weeks.

Clinton said he hoped the next snowfall would bring enough to enable the field to open later this week.

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- The Press

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