Ski season comes early for Happy Valley video

ROBERT STEVEN/Stuff.co.nz

A new snow-making machine will allow Whakapapa ski field to open early every season.

Thanks to savvy snowmaking systems, the ski fields opened a month earlier than planned over Queens Birthday weekend.

Children try skiing at Happy Valley on Saturday.
Ruapehu Alpine Lifts

Children try skiing at Happy Valley on Saturday.

Despite the recent rain and warm temperatures, on Saturday Whakapapa's Happy Valley welcomed hundreds of skiers and snowboarders.

This season New Zealand's only Techno Alpin SF210 All-Weather Snowmaking System allowed the ski area to make sufficient snow.

And people came from all over once they'd heard it was open for business. 

Saturday welcomed the first snow bunnies as the ski season at Whakapapa's Happy Valley kicked off.
MT RUAPEHU

Saturday welcomed the first snow bunnies as the ski season at Whakapapa's Happy Valley kicked off.

READ MORE:
Happy Valley is spreading the joy to Taupo's lakefront

Veronica Hennig​, partner Tom McCallum and their two boys made the trip up from Wellington. 

The family have season passes and said they would make the most of it with the "not too far" distance to travel.

The Happy Valley skifield at Mt Ruapehu is open earlier than ever.
Ruapehu Alpine Lifts

The Happy Valley skifield at Mt Ruapehu is open earlier than ever.

"It's very exciting. We were looking constantly at the website and following the webcam to see how much snow the mountain was getting," Hennig​ said.

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The family came up on Thursday night and met up with friends from Auckland.

Hennig said her partner was a keen skier and wanted the kids to learn. 

She said the mountain looked busy, but there were no queues. 

"We expected it to be busy with only one part of the snow field open, but it's been okay."

People were treated to a complimentary breakfast pizza slab on Saturday morning from the new and updated Happy Valley Bistro.

Snow was also blasted into the Happy Valley Plaza for guests who weren't skiing or snowboarding.

"There is music, someone playing the guitar, nice atmosphere, and the cafe has a new menu," Hennig​ said.

"This season we've noticed a lot of changes, which is exciting. We can't wait until everything is open."

Mt Ruapehu chief executive Ross Copland said he was proud of the hard work the team had done to transform Happy Valley.

"Visitors now have the unique opportunity to come skiing snowboarding over Queen's Birthday weekend."

The scheduled opening date for both Whakapapa and Turoa ski areas is on July 1.

 - Stuff

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