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Powder and Lockdowns
Mt Hutt POWder - Aug 17

Wouldn’t you know it, great snowfalls around the country and … a lockdown.  Damn you COVID! Yep, thousands of people around the country had their planks and boards ready for the powder day, and then … 

Bad news ... Lockdown

After 170ish days of no community cases the bad news yesterday was that we had a positive case, since then that has grown to currently 10 cases, with predictions it could rise to 50-120 cases. But of course there’s probably less certainty in this than your average forecast, so right now we’re all locked down sadly (but understandably) until 11.59pm Friday Aug 20, and unfortunately a little longer for Auckland and Coromandel, 11.59 Tuesday Aug 24.

All going well, and assuming there’s no extensions, we’ll hopefully see all areas opening up again on Saturday, most likely at Level 2 with social distancing and masks required.  We’d expect that won’t preclude Ruapehu from opening, maybe this Saturday also, assuming there is no extension and conditions allow. And yep, the Mt Ruapehu weather forecast is looking primo.

This year a new site has been launched to help you understand what you can do in the outdoors, dependant on where you live. Check it out, it’s a useful tool,

The good news ... Fresh Snow!

As forecast, fresh snow fell around the country, blissfully unaware we were about to get locked down (as were we to be fair)! A little less than expected in some places, and maybe more in others, all in all a huge and welcome top up for most areas.

Whakapapa reported around 10cm, but it has been snowing during the day, so hopefully more. We see today they have been cat evacuating people out of the lodges. Good fun for the kids I am sure! pic: Will Geddes/Facebook

As expected, the snow hit hardest again down south, with Mt Hutt picking up around 20cm, but it more exciting to the west as it was a NW system. Porters and most of the clubbies in the Cragieburns were reporting a minimum of 35cm, with Temple Basin expecting a minimum of 50cm on the upper mountain.  To the north, Mt Lyford picked up some further decent snow after last week, and Rainbow at least another 30-40cm. 

But the news gets better for Canterbury. It’s cold for the next few days, and come Saturday (good timing) we’ll see the weather clearing. So, the powder will be waiting for us, and there’s fine weather (assuming the lockdown doesn’t get extended)!

Dobson picked up 40cm and how good does it look! Roundhill reported 25cm, but looking at their webcams it’s already been groomed. The Heritage Express should be worth the wait though!

But Ohau, being further to the west really copped it. Half a metre on the deck, with a metre at the top!

The lodge is closed for the next 3 days, but if you have a booking for Saturday, or can drive there, it could be all time. They have reported 135cm in the last 7 days!

Further to the south Treble Cone, again being further West, picked up 40cm, which is great news for them. It did get skied because they were open yesterday (unlike most areas to the north) but still, it’s looking great now, setting them up nicely for spring.

Treble Cone View

Coronet Peak picked up a bit over 20cm and The Remarkables 31cm, so this is a welcome addition to the pack. Again, they were open so it got skied, but no doubt the conditions will be awesome once they reopen.


In summary then, if you’re frothing for some fresh pow, then Canterbury is the place to go, given most of the areas were closed Tuesday as the storm delivered. With cold temps and then clear weather for Saturday, we’re looking for a great day to shake off those lockdown blues.  Pretty much the further west you go, the more snow there will be. Or, jump in the car and hear to Ohau!

Coming Up?

As we’ve said, good weather for the weekend, so if we’re allowed to, get out there. After that it’s but quiet for a few days, maybe mid to the end of next week before the next appreciable snow. But things change quickly, so let’s keep an eye on the forecast and get out there when you can!