Snow bonanza for Mt Hutt

DANIEL GALVIN
Last updated 13:42 30/07/2013
DANIEL GALVIN\ Fairfax NZ

DUMPED ON: Canterbury's premier skifield has more than three metres of snow and is taking a novel approach to the loss of its long triple chairlift to avalanche.

Mt Hutt Hagglunds
HAPPY TRAMPER: Mt Hutt's Hagglunds people mover will ferry skiers around the basin this season.

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Canterbury's leading ski and snowboard area, Mt Hutt, has come out of the busy school holiday season in snow credit.

A 3.5-metre snow base means the mountain is set up for a long spring season on the back of record snowfalls.

From the snowy slopes, the ski area's Georgie Boyd says the huge dump of snow in July's "epic storm" brought its own set of challenges.

During avalanche control after the dump, a massive slide damaged the arterial triple chairlift and took it out for the season, but the ski area has found a novel solution: a double cabin Swedish Hagglunds tracked all terrain snowcat.

The orange dozer and trailer - more often associated with polar exploration - can carry up to 17 people and is painted orange with map-of-NZ camouflage.

It will ferry skiers to spots around the huge mountain basin normally accessed by the triple chairlift.

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