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This Week In The Snow - August 27 2020
Image: Mt Lyford

It’s been a good week, with snow, then sun, and there’s more good news on the way. Winter, yes, just in time! Before we get into what’s going on, we need to give My Lyford a shout out! We’ve mistakenly said Canterbury has been the Hutt/Porters show, but in fact it’s been the Hutt/Porters/Lyford show and we understand they have been having some great skiing and good numbers of visitors. It’s a great field, super low key and great terrain, give it a go. And yep, this week it’s their photo, looks mint!  

The week that was …

Finally we’ve had some snow, good snow in fact! Not everywhere, but places that need it, such as Ruapehu. Whakapapa reported around 70cm in the last few days, Mt Hutt reported over half a metre (looking good) and many of the Canterbury club fields got decent falls, and we’ll get to that good news soon. It's great also to see Rainbow now open top to bottom! Sadly, not so much down south, but their turn might be coming!  If you’re a news hawk, you might have seen the NIWA press release saying this has been one of the three warmest winters on record. No surprise there!  But, the good news is that snow is on the way!

In other news, it seems even without all the Aucklanders at Ruapehu it’s still been pretty busy, if the parking situation is anything to go by. It seems pretty consistent now that as parking is released online, it’s snapped up in seconds. This is of course due to Level 2 restrictions, and they are scaling the parking situation based on the weather forecast. Fine days will see more parks, and more capacity on the hill, bad weather days, it’s restricted due to the requirements to limit numbers in cafes etc. It must be very frustrating for everyone, visitors, the mountain, and of course all the local businesses who are missing out.

Opening (and closing) soon.

OMG, how can it be late August and we’re still saying this?! But there’s good news, Craigieburn is opening tomorrow, but then closing Sunday for the season. Bugger! Cheeseman and Broken River just one snow fall away, and then maybe Olympus and Temple Basin not too far behind that! Fingers crossed! But then of course the sad news is that Treble Cone is closing early this year, they always were, and that date is Sunday September 6, just over a week away, so now's the time to get it, before it’s too late!

The week ahead.

Well, as we’ve said, the good news is that winter is back, we’ve had good snow falls in many places and there is more coming! So let’s dive in and take a look!

Ruapehu. There’s a bit of divergence in the models, but we’re likely to see Southerlies Friday, turning West to NW on Saturday through until around Tuesday. Expect it to be pretty windy Saturday thru Tuesday. As far as precipitation, there’s snow showers on and off, with possible rain at time for much of the next few days.  All in all, a pretty mixed bag, and likely to change! Best weekend day, probably Sunday as winds should be less and weather clear at times.  Best midweek days, Wednesday or Thursday at this stage.

Canterbury. Fine start on Friday but then the NW picks up with pretty strong winds in the afternoon. Possibly a touch of snow Saturday morning, clearing with moderate to strong NW persisting. Sunday should be generally fine, with the NW weakening.  On Monday the NW kicks in again, strong to gale-force, with snow showers kicking in later the day and continuing thru to Tuesday with the winds easy. Tuesday could bring up to 30cm of snow! Wednesday and Thursday thing settle down with fine conditions.   Best weekend day, probably Sunday. Best midweek days, Wednesday (could be a fine powder day!)

The Mackenzie. Similar to Canterbury with a clear Friday, turning NW with snow showers through until Sunday. Monday brings gale force NW and then Tuesday in comes the snow, possibly 30cm plus.  Best weekend day, probably Sunday. Best midweek days, Wednesday should be mint!

Wanaka and Queenstown. Similar story down south, Moderate NW and snow showers Friday, clearing Saturday but a moderate NW persisting through to Sunday. Monday the NW picks up, gale-force at times and in come the snow Tuesday the wind drops off, but there’s a chance of snow. Wednesday/Thursday things clear up, then income the snow again for the weekend with the possibility of significant snowfalls Friday/Saturday!  Best weekend day, Saturday. Best midweek day, Wednesday.

So, while we’re on weather …

I want to talk about the weather, on our site. We love feedback (!) and we've had a bit recently about how incorrect the data is sometimes, specifically the wind intensity. We know, it’s lousy … We get our data from, the Swedish equivalent of MetService for a couple of reasons. Firstly, it’s free, secondly it's generally pretty good with direction, precipitation and the weather. But not the wind strength, it’s hopeless. And thirdly, MetService won’t actually supply us. We all know in NZ how important wind is, so we ran a trial last season of weather providers to see who was most accurate. We’ve identified who we’ll move to, but there’s a cost to us, and this season our revenues dried up and we couldn’t afford to make the changes. But we’re hoping we’ll get these changes across the line next season, try to bear with us!

Industry news

This was always going to be an unusual season, and clearly it’s been tough for all tourism business and ski areas. So it was interesting to see NZSki turn down an offer of $500K from the government as part of their strategic tourism asset protection programme. Possibly it came with too many strings, or as they say, it wasn’t enough to make a difference. Interestingly, if you look at some of the successful STAPP applicants you’d think many ski areas would qualify, given the pivotal role they have played stimulating local tourism this winter. We’re not aware of any other ski areas that have been part of the programme. 

This week’s Deal

We’ll it seems a popular deal is back very week. It’s good to see Porters (Canterbury) offering two for one Mondays again this season. Buy one pass, and get one free. Take a mate skiing on Mondays, bargain.

That’s it then, time to get out there!

It’s been great to see new snow and it’s super exciting to see some more decent falls forecast! Pretty much all around the country, I’d be planning on taking Wednesday off, and picking up some pow (all going well!).