The keenest of all – the seventy-or-so waiting for the Summit 6 and Quad chairlifts to crank into action for the season, including four who had slept overnight at the ski area to gain coveted ‘First On The Lift’ T-shirts – were rewarded when both lifts started up fifteen minutes early at 8.45am.
“They were all so keen to get up there and they were a great bunch of guys so because everything was running like clockwork we thought we’d treat them to that 15 minutes of additional snow time,” said Mt Hutt Ski Area Manager James McKenzie.
“We’re totally stoked to be open for our 40th season. Our guests were just loving the groomed slopes and great snow conditions, even though to be fair the weather wasn’t the best today with sleety snow showers at the top and some rain at base.
“For those who’d made the effort to get up here that really didn’t dampen their enthusiasm, because they were just happy to get in their first few runs.
“The whole ski area was just buzzing with excitement.”
While the Yorston brothers from Christchurch dragged their Dad, Mike Yorston, out of bed bright and early this morning, Tom Fisher, also from Christchurch, proudly told Mt Hutt staff that he and his siblings had braved cold and discomfort to secure their coveted ‘first’ spot by sleeping overnight on Summit 6 chairs at the base area.
Queenstown’s Amisfield Winery supplied bubbles to those queuing up for the first run of the season and mascots Spike and Shred welcomed guests on arrival.
Mr McKenzie said he was “really impressed” with the level of support from local Cantabrians, despite the mixed forecast for the day.
Temperatures are forecast to drop later this week with a ‘good chance’ of snowfall which Mr McKenzie said could mean opening up another chairlift and more terrain by next weekend.
Base building facilities open at Mt Hutt include the retail shop, rentals, Sky High café and licensed bar, Hutt Base which serves coffee and is a licensed bar, and Hubers Hutt restaurant. The Snowsports School and Skiwiland Early Childhood Centre are also open, as is the Mini Terrain Park.
First Tracks will start from Saturday June 22 enabling guests to enjoy empty slopes and fresh cord from 8am on Saturdays and Sundays subject to weather conditions.
For the second year running the hugely popular 10-and-under ‘Kids4Free promotion’ is running at Methven and Mt Hutt, where kids 10 and under receive free lift passes, and Mt Hutt’s re-vamped Early Childhood Centre now caters for littlies from 3 months to five years old.