With hundreds of skiers and snowboarders from far and wide descending on the mountain with unprecedented levels of enthusiasm.
Excitement about the season ahead, married with the sale of sharply-priced earlybird season passes earlier this year, is credited with growing participation in skiing and snowboarding at the ski area.
“Cantabrians and Christchurch families who’re keen to experience the fun of snowsports are all really keen to get back on skis or boards, or ‘give it a go’ for the first time ever,” says ski area manager James McKenzie.
The anticipation levels saw Andy Herron arrive at 7.30pm on Friday night and sleep in his car in the car park until claiming a spot in today’s first Summit Six chair line, while father and son Michael and Harry Fisher from Christchurch arrived at 10.30pm and spent a more comfortable night in their campervan. Mother and daughter Lucy Appleton and 12-year-old Chloe Keijzer claimed another two ‘first-in-line’ spots on the Quad and Summit chairs.
Ski area manager James McKenzie says the dedication of those who camped out overnight was “impressive”.
“As excitement rose in the chairlift lines it was great to see so many familiar faces, as well as new skiers and snowboarders keen to get onto the snow.”
Thanks to Amisfield wines, the season opened with a bang, celebrating with bubbles as lifts cranked into action.
Mt Hutt opened today with main trails operating from the top of the mountain to the base area, accessed by the Summit Six, Quad chair and Magic Carpet for beginners.
The forecast for Sunday is for temperatures to drop and potential snow, and will enable the ski area to fire up its snowmaking guns.
NZSki CEO Paul Anderson said the ski industry was “in good heart” as both Coronet Peak and Canterbury’s Mt Hutt ski areas opened today.“Our local communities in Queenstown, Christchurch and Canterbury are buzzing with new enthusiasm for skiing and snowboarding, and having recently met wholesalers in
East Coast Australia I know we have great pre-season bookings and we’re looking forward to a very strong season.
“For our local and overseas markets it’s key to have opened on time with good snow conditions and more to come.”
Mt Hutt is the largest and highest ski area in the South Island and last year was voted New Zealand’s best ski resort.
Passes, lessons and rentals can all be booked at www.nzski.com which also features detailed daily updates and live webcams showing snow and weather conditions.