Skifields ready to open this weekend

NICOLE MATHEWSON
Last updated 10:36 04/07/2013
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EXCITING TIMES: Mt Cheeseman ski field will open this Saturday. Staff have been busy setting up the learners slope, from left,Travis Clark (Forest Lodge Caretaker), Justin King (Instructor), Sebastian Fix (Instructor), Ivan Hefti (Instructor) and Johnny Corcoran (Patrol/Field Ops)

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Three more Canterbury skifields are gearing up for big openings this weekend, with last month's snowstorm setting them up for the winter season.

Mt Cheeseman Ski Area, near Springfield, is set to open for the 2013 season on Saturday, along with Craigeburn and Mt Olympus ski areas.

Mt Cheeseman club captain Ros Service said the mountain received more than one metre of new snow in the recent storm and had spent the week setting the field up and training staff who had come from all over the world.

"The snow safety team waited a few days before they did the necessary control work on the slopes that were laden with snow," she said.

"This timing worked in Cheeseman's favour as the snow had settled and there were no major events."

Marketing manager Ana Haase said the field was expecting a "bumper" opening day with at least 2000 skiers and snowboarders likely to hit the slopes on Saturday.

Hanmer Springs and Mt Lyford ski areas in North Canterbury and Broken River Ski Field, near Castle Hill, have already opened for the new season and Temple Basin Ski Area is expected to open next weekend, on July 12.

However, Porters Ski Area remains closed after a big avalanche, triggered by a controlled explosion, damaged one of its ski lifts last week.

A similar incident happened at Mt Hutt Ski Area on the same day, leaving its triple chair lift out of action, and the mountain was closed earlier this week because of severe winds gusting up to 240kmh on the summit.

It had reopened today though with sunshine and light winds expected all day.

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- The Press

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