Skifields relish 'unreal' snow

AL WILLIAMS
Last updated 05:00 29/06/2013

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Conditions look magic for opening weekend on the Mt Dobson and Ohau skifields today.

MetService forecasts mostly fine and frosty conditions with some morning low cloud on Dobson while cloud and westerly winds are predicted at Ohau.

Dobson has a snow base of 1.8 metres with half the field open this morning.

Conditions were perfect yesterday, owner-operator Peter Foote said yesterday. He was digging through two metres of snow and hopes to have everything open next weekend.

At Ohau, about 50 staff were going through a dress rehearsal yesterday. The snow base at the top of the mountain was 1.6 metres.

Owner Mike Neilson described conditions as unreal, "as good as my memory".

Meanwhile, the Fox Peak and Roundhill fields are expected to open next weekend. Staff at Fox Peak are still clearing the access road and should have the job finished by Monday.

President Grant Keeley said two groomers and a grader were working on the road - eight kilometres on the flat and another 8km uphill in a two to three-metre base of snow.

The groomer was dropped in by helicopter during the first effort.

"We're about two thirds of the way up the hill; the worst bit is to come with two days of solid grading," Mr Keeley said.

Roundhill skifield manager Simon Murrell said it had been a fantastic start to the season.

All fields had been groomed and packed, and staff were building a terrain park.

Roundhill had two metres of snow through the storm and now had a base of 1.5 metres.

"This is just fantastic, really; we're going to have a really solid snow park for the holidays," Mr Murrell said.

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- The Timaru Herald

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