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This Week in the Snow - September 3, 2020
Spring Skiing at Mt Hutt - South Face Sept 2

We ticked the first of September off a couple of days ago, and theoretically the start of spring. It seems however someone forgot to tell Mother Nature, and she delivered some great snow around the country and some cool temps. A perfect start to spring! A bit of good news during the week with some ski area openings, and this week we’re trialing a new approach to visualise the weather ahead for the week, we’re interested in what you think.

The week that was.

Sadly, no snow up North after some good falls last week, but some pretty solid numbers around the south with Mt Hutt topping out at 37cm, on, you guessed it, the first day of Spring! We reported that the new snow last week helped get Craigieburn open, and then somewhat unusually they were planning to close again Sunday. But the good news is that with this week’s snow they have decided to stay open, indefinitely.  The snow also helped get Broken River open on Thursday, first day of the season! And talking of all that snow, it resulted in the “biggest day of the season” with seemingly half the country trying to go skiing and riding. The media was all over it, sadly not so much about the snow, but instead everyone who couldn’t get up due to the large crowds. Of course on top of this were capacity issues due to Level 2. It’s tricky issue, which we’ll touch on later. And talking of Level 2, the government relaxed the rules for distancing on lifts, so now as long as all riders are wearing face coverings that cover their nose and mouth, lifts can be fully loaded. Cafes are still an issue but we’re getting there!

This week NIWA also released a review of the 2020, the warmest on record. Worrying obviously, here’s their press release.  

Opening (and closing) soon

Yep, we’re still got this "opening soon" malarkey, unbelievable! And Cheeseman is opening this Saturday, finally! Great to see some of the clubbies open. Good news this week also was that Treble Cone are delaying their closing by a week to Sunday September 13. Sadly however Temple Basin has advised they are not opening for 2020. And no news currently from Mt Olympus. 

Weather

OK, we’re trialling a new approach this week for weather, as you know, who wants to read a bunch of stuff, pretty pictures are way better! To explain how these are generated, firstly, it’s all manual, and yes, this took some time for the first attempt, we hope it will get easier and faster! Then we look at a number of models and forecasts.  As we’ve said previously, our wind forecasts are terrible (and they will be replaced) so we’re using a range of sources, same with snow and weather. Having said that, this week our snow model is out of whack with most (25cm in Canterbury on Saturday, maybe not?) and we’re averaging weather across the region, so, it is still best to check the individual report for your favourite area! And, this is subjective, especially the “best days”, please do use this information to make your own judgement. So, here we go, tell us what you think!

 Weather Ruapehu 3Sept2020 v2

Weather Canterbury 3 Sept 2020

Weather Mackenzie 3Sept2020

Weather Queenstown 3Sept2020

Industry News

Aside from COVID, and capacity management, one of the big issues (as raised in the media this week) is access to the mountains. Somewhat controversially Mt Ruapehu has implemented a car parking system that seems to be universally loved and hated. Those who want a leisurely morning and a guaranteed park of course love it, but the problem is that getting one of the treasured parks, especially under level 2,  would appear difficult to book for many, with the parks released in 2 waves on Wednesdays and “selling out’ in some cases in seconds.   On the flip side, many other larger areas in the South Island, especially yesterday, had large crowds, traffic jams, and in some cases roads were closed and would-be skiers and riders turned away. As a rule, this happens only on/in:

  • School holidays
  • Big snow days
  • Bluebird days, especially with big snow in the school holidays.

NZSki and Cardrona/Treble Cone are reported as not wanting to adopt a reservation system, but instead keep the first come/first served approach. What do you think, drop a comment on our Facebook page.  

Worthy Cause of the week?

You might have heard that Pete Oswald is skiing for trees, he was on the news last night. Check out his cause, it’s worthy, and support him if you can!